AT&T’s Xandr Officially Combines Its TV Ad Biz With The AppNexus Digital Ad Platform

AT&T’s ad tech unit Xandr has big hopes for TV advertising, but the company said Thursday during an analyst call that it’s also going to be heavily involved in powering online ads.

“You will continue to see Xandr media business outpace the television market in 2019,” Xandr CEO Brian Lesser told investors. “And now what we're marrying to that is a digital platform business.”

That’s not the biggest surprise, considering it bought ad tech mainstay AppNexus back in June. Still, it shows that AppNexus might not be used solely as a video platform.

“Going into 2019 we really have two businesses within Xandr that are very complementary of each other,” Lesser said during a presentation to analysts. The first is its TV platform, which grew 22% YoY in Q3, based on its addressable TV products and data-driven ad products.

The second aspect of Xandr’s business is its digital platform, which AT&T inherited through AppNexus.

Those two lines of business are now formally connected, Lesser said.

“We're marrying a very strong media sales company with the strongest digital advertising platform,” Lesser said. “Our media sales business complements our technology platform business in the sense that all of the publishers that we already work with can now have a conduit to even more demand, to marry that high-quality inventory with great content to receive excellent results.”

Lesser added that the AppNexus digital ad platform lets Xandr be more efficient when it comes to finding audiences, running campaigns, and innovating around ad formats and measurement.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had noted the telco’s WarnerMedia subsidiary has 370 million customer connections across its TV, broadband, mobile and digital businesses.

“All of those customer connections provide us a tremendous amount of data that is first-party, that is identifiable to consumers, that we can then model and have a much better sense of what consumers want to watch and how they want to be engaged with advertising,” Lesser said.

Also during the analyst call, AT&T executives officially announced a yet-to-be named streaming service the company expects to launch in Q4 2019, which will compete against giants like Netflix and Hulu, as well as Disney’s Disney+ service, also set to launch in late 2019.

 

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