Xandr's efforts to lead convergence, and measurability, of linear TV and digital

Its aim is to deliver addressable cross screen advertising in an increasingly fragmented viewing environment, and it appears committed to delivering

Adtech player, AppNexus, now a part of Xandr, is setting its sights firmly on the future with development of an addressable, measurable, omnichannel digital media ecosystem.

It was a little over a year ago that AppNexus was acquired by AT&T in a deal rumoured to be worth more than US$1.5 billion. In a statement at the time, AT&T said the acquisition would accelerate the growth of its advertising platform, and unite real-time advertising analytics with its premium TV and video content.

In an interview with CMO, AppNexus president, Michael Rubenstein, touched on the transformation of AT&T from a telecommunications company to a media company, AppNexus' position, and how cross-screen measurability is closer than you might expect.

“AppNexus is Xandr, we are one in the same, and we are starting to eliminate the line so Xandr becomes known as our brand in the market,” he explained.

“Creation of this independent business unit inside AT&T is exciting and designed to be the specialist for advanced advertising and analytics. AT&T is committed to providing the investment, focus, and attention it needs to make it the world class, scaled, advertising business and platform.

“For those of us who came from AppNexus, this is an exciting opportunity. We’ve achieved a lot, and you can expect to see a lot more.”

The overarching aim is to deliver addressable cross-screen advertising in an increasingly fragmented viewing environment, and it appears committed to delivering.

Since then, Xandr has announced the launch of Xandr Invest, a strategic buying platform using machine learning that aims to offer simplified access to, and tailored buying of, premium, brand-safe content. The new Xandr Invest programmatic also aims to enable buyers to reserve access to premium supply through the consolidated buying platform, with no manual tags to traffic. So far, advertising spend for video, including OTT, through Xandr’s legacy buy-side platform is experiencing double-digit growth year-over-year, Xandr reports.

Xandr Audience Segments, developed from AT&T’s 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships, means Xandr Invest uses an identity solution built from deterministic data to enable buyers strategically connect with audiences across devices. Its omnichannel inventory will include traditional TV, OTT, mobile, digital video, audio, native and display.

Xandr also recently launched Community, a marketplace of publishers to enable advertisers to reach audiences at scale in a brand-safe environment. As Xandr explained, increasingly, advertisers are looking to connect with hard-to-reach audiences as digital video and TV converge.

To help advertisers reach audiences across screens, Xandr’s integrated its Cross-Screen Addressable solution within Community, allowing advertisers to combine addressable TV with digital. Community also allows advertisers to reach audiences based on intent, interest and lifestyle attributes.

Media brands A+E Networks, AMC Networks and Cheddar were recently added to the inaugural Community partners, including WarnerMedia’s CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Otter Media, and Warner Bros., as well as VICE, Hearst Magazines, Newsy, Philo, Tubi, and Xumo.

Xandr is clearly anticipating, and planning on leading, the convergence of linear TV and digital with these solutions. This includes a bigger presence in the APAC region, with Rubenstein saying AT&T is investing in that global focus. The plan is to take a bespoke approach to extending AT&T business on a region-by-region basis.

This will include extending the partnerships AppNexus has always cultivated with buyers and sellers of advertising who want to see the next phase of the development of the digital media ecosystem.

“In order to position ourselves and partners for success, we need to innovate rapidly and bring to market world class capabilities that operate across a fragmented media ecosystem,” Rubenstein said. “We also need to preserve transparency, quality and privacy in this market to future-proof for where the marketplace is heading. We want to bring measurability and targetability to the media ecosystem, even parts of it that are not new media, like TV. We will bring the best of digital to TV; we have a lot of exciting initiatives and piloting with partners inside AT&T at the moment." 

According to Rubenstein, the future of the DSP will look a lot different to now. "It is no longer about trading remnant impressions on desktop Internet. Xandr Invest is designed for the future to help to make smart purchasing decisions and measurement insights across many different channels, including TV," he said. 

“We’ve brought a platform to market that doesn’t just meet advertisers where they are now, but sets them up to capitalise on the future of advertising as digital and TV begin to converge.

“We will start to see cross-screen measurability become a reality in the next year, so watch this space. As consumer behaviour continues to change and platforms develop, you’ll see more powerful ways to find audiences across this fragmented media." 

By applying contemporary technology in the premium advertising environment, there a real opportunity to unlock advertising opportunities and business models that benefit everyone, including consumers, Rubenstein said.

“We been in a rut as an industry, there has been so much fixation on the low quality inventory and experiences the walled gardens have brought to market," he continued. “Trust and quality have been lacking, as well as transparency, but we are seeing a swing in the pendulum towards those, which is ultimately very healthy.

“The Australian media ecosystem has really been craving some innovation, and has been looking for ways to build real defensibility into the media ecosystem."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

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