- Procter & Gamble will serve as presenting sponsor and Bank of America is among the lead sponsors of the first "NowThis Next," an event franchise created by Group Nine Media's NowThis mobile news brand. The virtual event starts at 12 p.m. ET on Oct. 18 on NowThis' website and social channels, and focuses on women's equality, per a press release.
- The three-hour event will feature appearances by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, among others, and is hosted by "Late Night" star Seth Meyers and Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John. Vital Voices Global Partnership, a nonprofit that invests in women's leadership programs, partnered with NowThis on the event.
- With NowThis Next, the news publisher is investing in virtual events as the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit in-person gatherings that can be sponsored by major brands. P&G brands Olay, Dawn, Swiffer, Pantene, My Black Is Beautiful, Aussie and Hair Biology also serve as lead sponsors for the event.
Group Nine Media's launch of "NowThis Next" comes as many live events have been canceled or delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the health crisis hasn't diminished enthusiasm for virtual events that can reach a much broader audience outside the confines of an exhibit hall or convention center. With its launch of an events business, NowThis will be positioned to continue hosting events in a virtual format or to sell tickets to in-person gatherings when the pandemic subsides.
For companies like Procter & Gamble and Bank of America, sponsoring the "NowThis Next" event demonstrates their commitment to social causes like women's equality. Bank of America has pledged to match as much as $250,000 in donations to the Vital Voices Global Partnership. P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard is on the board of Vital Voices, and has been vocal about supporting diversity and inclusion at the company and in the campaigns for its brands, many of which have signed on as lead sponsors.
"This year has shown us that it’s critical we put women’s voices at the center when building a future that works for everyone. That's what our work with Vital Voices is focused on: advancing women leaders who are solving many of the greatest challenges in our world," Pritchard said in a statement.
In a previous effort, NowThis teamed with the Paramount Network on a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to spotlight gender imbalance on the site. The publisher has also partnered with Campbell Soup and Cheerios on content, the latter of which sponsored a kid-focused news brand.
NowThis Next follows moves by other media brands to pivot from live to virtual events. The Atlantic and The New Yorker magazines reformatted their live events to engage readers in discussions with newsmakers about current events. The Atlantic aimed to sell 1 million tickets to the virtual version of its biggest yearly event, while The New Yorker saw record sales for its revamped event this month, Digiday reported. The virtual gatherings can help to sustain their events businesses that had become more significant sources of revenue amid declines in advertising sales.