AT&T Is Moving Its Entertainment Group Leadership From Atlanta to Los Angeles

Move signals shift toward distribution of streaming content

Staffers from Omnicom partner agencies BBDO and Hearts & Science will follow the client. - Credit by Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

America’s second largest advertiser, AT&T, has started moving the core of its entertainment division from Atlanta to El Segundo, Calif., and its national headquarters in Dallas.

“Our Entertainment Group will be moving a few hundred managerial jobs from Atlanta to Los Angeles and Dallas,” a company spokesman confirmed today.

Leaders at AT&T’s agency partners BBDO and Hearts & Science will follow, with parent company Omnicom opening a shared office in Los Angeles dedicated to the AT&T account.

“BBDO and Hearts & Science will be setting up an operation in Los Angeles to help service the AT&T Entertainment Group business,” wrote an agency spokesperson, adding, “We expect it to be fully up and running by the end of the year.”

The move almost certainly signals a larger shift toward the distribution of streaming television and related content (as well as the sale of ads to run alongside that content) following the telecom giant’s 2015 acquisition of DirecTV and its proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner. The latter deal is currently under review by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since consolidating the $2 billion-plus U.S. creative and media business for its entertainment group, business solutions and corporate brand work with Omnicom last year, AT&T has started more aggressively promoting the subscription streaming package created by the DirecTV merger, which was formerly known as “TV Everywhere.” Today, the company debuted a new campaign by BBDO New York in which Mark Wahlberg finds creative new ways to pitch the service.

The vast majority of employees at AT&T’s Atlanta offices will remain there as managers transition to the West Coast in order to be closer to the heart of the tech and entertainment industries. DirecTV was headquartered in El Segundo before the merger took place. The same will apply to BBDO and Hearts & Science’s Atlanta offices, which focused primarily on the wireless portion of the AT&T portfolio.

A BBDO spokesperson told Adweek that the new shared space in Los Angeles will be staffed by current leaders on the account who have expressed a willingness to relocate, along with new hires.

AT&T has been BBDO Atlanta’s largest single account, but the office’s client roster also includes Toys”R”Us, Norwegian Cruise Line, the Georgia Lottery and Bayer, among others.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.