Despite all the competition in the news cycle this week, the annual, four-day ad confab Advertising Week New York still appeared poised to set a new attendance record.
“We don’t have final numbers yet, but this will be our biggest year yet,” said Matthew Scheckner, global chief executive of Advertising Week. “We are expecting to top 100,000” attendees, he said.
On Friday, organizers confirmed that attendance was up 10% from 98,000 last year to 108,000 attendees this year.
That comes despite trimming back the number of panels to just under 325 — down slightly from a year earlier, when the show first moved from a multi-venue format around Times Square to one location in a former multiplex theater in the Lincoln Center area.
One of the seminars Thursday at AMC Lincoln Square seemed to play right into the hands of the explosive whistleblower and impeachment hearings in Washington, DC.
Fox news anchors Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum participated in a panel titled “Politics as Pop Culture: How the News Has Become the New Must-See TV and What to Know Heading into 2020.”
Baier said working in news today means you’re always “one tweet away from having your entire day changed.”
Wallace said the Trump presidency is a reality show: “It’s the Trump Show, and you can love him or hate him,” Wallace said. “But it’s the most compelling, riveting reality show that we’ve ever seen. It just takes unforeseen twists and turns and to a certain degree we’re spectators trying to stay on top of it, trying to understand it, trying to analyze it to present both sides of what’s going on.”
And there was a little more on tennis ace Serena Williams, who on Tuesday told the conference that her venture arm has invested in at least 30 companies in five years.
On Thursday, Noom Inc. revealed it’s the latest to receive funding from Serena Ventures. The 12-year-old company sells healthy lifestyle training programs to people interested in losing weight.
“We don’t sell drugs or powders, we’re a software company,” said co-founder Seaju Jeong Noon.
His program costs $129 for a four-month program that pairs users with personal lifestyle coaches. He declined to say how much Williams invested, but said he has 1,450 employees and has raised over $120 million from investors over a dozen years. Six years ago, he still had only 20 employees.
“She’s a minor investor,” he said of Williams, but he said the investment helped him hire 200 new employees since May.