Although Brown didn’t describe VIP as a data management platform, advertiser clients can bring their first-party data segments to the table and match those segments against third-party or other data segments anonymously.
It’s important to note that AT&T is not opening up any new data segments with this launch and it doesn’t support real-time bidding. “We already had data addressable products,” said Maria Mandel Dunsche, AT&T AdWorks’ VP of marketing. “This is automating the planning process further.”
AT&T’s motivation is to create private trading relationships with agencies with much tighter turnarounds on plans (48 hours instead of days or weeks).
AT&T has enabled household addressable buys for three years, so it’s no stranger to data-enabled targeting. But Brown said the launch of VIP will help migrate his sales team into a more consultative role in data-driven linear TV planning.
“They might want to optimize with data to prove out effectiveness across the entire purchasing funnel, prove out effective reach or even track a lift in website visitation for a considered purchase, such as an automobile,” he said.
A big client request, he claimed, is greater transparency in the planning process. While the word “programmatic” is loaded for many traditional networks and cable constituents, Brown said AT&T wants to bring premium inventory to the table, not “remnant leftovers a network didn’t sell.”
AT&T has more than 130 million “customer connections” across mobile and broadband, said Brown, and although it’s beginning the automated planning process with VIP for linear TV, it’s certainly looking to extend that capability across all its platforms.
The most obvious extension would be AT&T/DirecTV’s new streaming video options, which it revealed earlier this week. Offerings such as DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview feature low-cost pricing models or are free/ad-supported.
“John Stankey (CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group) said yesterday we’re taking a different approach,” AT&T spokeswoman Mari Melguizo told AdExchanger. In short, simply offering a skinny bundle isn't the be-all, end-all with consumers.
“We’re saying, ‘Bring your Internet connection, whether that’s AT&T or not,’ while we bring a premium range of content across devices," she added. "We’re already working through new programming deals and looking for ways to account for [multi-viewer household] streams.”