Weeks after unveiling its newly branded sell-side wares, AT&T’s Xandr has kicked off its annual Relevance conference by announcing it’s brought in Bloomberg and Vudu as participants in its premium video marketplace, Community.
AT&T’s ad-tech ambitions were laid bare when it splashed $1.6 billion on AppNexus, the then-leading voice in the “independent ad-tech movement,” in a move that complemented its blockbuster purchase of Time Warner, now WarnerMedia.
The telco’s programmatic advertising offering has since been housed within its Xandr unit, which it trumpeted at its inaugural Relevance conference in 2018. In the year since, the company has iteratively rolled out different offerings combining the AppNexus platform with the media giant’s network.
This included using Xandr data to power the advertising offering of Turner (part of WarnerMedia), buy- and sell-side programmatic tools called Xandr Invest and Monetize in addition to Xandr Community, which it launched to coincide with this year’s Upfronts.
Xandr is pitching Community as a “cross-screen addressable solution” that features the scale of traditional television enhanced by the precision of digital targeting, with Bloomberg and Vudu the latest additions to a smorgasbord of premium video partners.
In the first days after the AppNexus purchase, AT&T notably pressed pause on AppNexus’ active participation in the Advertising ID Consortium, instead channeling efforts to offer media buyers first-party data insights based on the telco’s relationships with 170 million consumers.
Speaking at last year’s event, Xandr CEO Brian Lesser differentiated its offering from that of the walled gardens, saying it would pass back information to advertisers that they can use to measure campaign performance. This promise to advertisers included the potential for better third-party verification compared with that of Facebook and Google. Lesser dubbed the offering a “community garden.”
This attribution offering gives advertisers audience segments based on intent, interest and lifestyle. It also claimed to help marketers gauge brand health plus manage frequency capping, with Lesser highlighting Xandr’s premium partnerships as a key USP.
“Together with our Community partners, we are helping advertisers reach interested consumers on whatever device they watch their favorite show,” he added.
The AT&T unit kicked off this year’s conference highlighting insights gleaned from a study with Kantar Research, which stated that 51% of consumers want to see ads more relevant to their interests with a large proportion of survey participants claiming they want to see a reduced ad load among their online content consumption.
All this comes a week after former AppNexus president Michael Rubenstein, who oversaw AT&T’s integration of the ad-tech company, announced his departure.
Per AdExchanger, Rubenstein wrote “with the integration meaningfully complete, I feel it’s the right time for me to leave the company in your capable hands and begin my next journey” in a note to Xandr employees.
News of Rubenstein’s departure also came the same week that former AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley, who was widely dubbed “the godfather of ad tech,” unveiled his next venture CMDTY, a startup that is a world away from programmatic advertising.
Xandr Community partners include WarnerMedia’s CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Otter Media and Warner Bros., as well as A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Cheddar, VICE, Hearst Magazines, Newsy, Philo, Tubi and Xumo.