AT&T’s Ad Unit Named “Xandr” Pays Homage to the Founder of Telephone

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The Dallas-based telecommunications company, AT&T® has named its new advertising and analytics division “Xandr”. It pays homage to Alexander Graham Bell, whose Bell Telephone Company was the parent company of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. AT&T® also said its new unit has entered deals with Frontier Communications® and Altice USA to aggregate as well as sell their addressable television inventory. These deals mark the start of the vision of the Telco giant for its new division to offer content from other media owners enriched with its data.

The fastest internet provider hopes its division can revolutionize the advertising business, by making ads relevant to customers, lucrative for media companies, and efficient and accountable for advertisers. “The modern media company [has] everything to do with the combination of content, distribution, data and technology,” the CEO of Xandr, Brian Lesser, said. “AT&T® alone has the components to solve this problem.”

The division of the best internet provider will aggregate data on millions of its subscribers across broadband, mobile and OTT with the content library of WarnerMedia to deliver targeted advertisements to the subs. Lesser believes that aggregation will enrich the data of the company gradually and position it to deliver its core telecommunications product to customers in a better way. However, the real vision of Xandr is to launch a programmatic marketplace where advertisers can bring in their data, enhance it with the data of AT&T® and run measurement models and attribution models based upon their standards.

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“We want to give data back to our clients so they don’t have to trust us that it works. They can ingest the data, model it themselves and make sure it works on their standards,” Lesser said. “Once an advertiser understands the audience, they can reach them in all of these channels with precision and performance, but also have the ability to measure the effects.”

AT&T’s AppNexus will be central to the ambition of Xandr. Besides continuing to build Xandr’s core marketplace, the advertising company owned by AT&T® will build in future a platform that will make linear TV purchasing more data-driven and automated, while taking the Telco’s addressable business entirely programmatic.

Besides, the AT&T® unit will re-imagine television advertisement so that it is less interruptive for customers and more quantifiable for advertisers. Lesser also said that instead of stopping content in order to insert a short sport, for instance, there may be an on-screen brand icon where audiences can click to receive more info on their phones.

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