Consumer Electronics Show

Here's how AT&T's Xandr and Turner plan to work together in 2019

AT&T is opening its set-top box data to Turner advertisers

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AT&T is making its set-top box viewership data available to advertisers buying audiences across Turner's TV networks and digital properties, its first move in its quest to make TV advertising more efficient and data-driven since it acquired WarnerMedia this summer.

Its Xandr unit and WarnerMedia's Turner sales team are meeting with agencies and clients during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to showcase new data, audience targeting and measurement capabilities, all steps in AT&T's plan to create a one-stop shop marketplace for premium TV and video inventory.

Turner is incorporating AT&T's set-top box data into its existing audience buying product, AudienceNow. This will allow Turner, the networks of which include TNT, TBS and CNN, to provide more precise targeting of audiences across all of its networks, as well as faster turnaround of campaign results, says Donna Speciale, president of ad sales at Turner. "The key is we will now have the data in-house," she says. "This will allow us to get results to clients so they can make decisions more quickly."

This set-top box data will also allow Turner to strike deals with advertisers guaranteeing their commercials drive specific business results, like test driving a car or even making a purchase.

Attribution is expected to be the catchphrase of the TV industry in 2019. Turner, which has done a few tests with attribution in 2018, including with Chipotle, is one of several network groups that are making attribution a priority in 2019.

For Turner's test with Chipotle, Speciale says they had to use a third-party vendor for much of the data, which means it can take 12 to 14 weeks to get results. "I don't know if it would have ever been scalable to do it that way," she says. "Now attribution will become a viable, scalable product."

Turner is working with several advertisers across auto, financial and technology categories that will be running campaigns this quarter through its AudienceNow product utilizing Xandr viewership data.

Xandr is also looking to use its data capabilities to help advertisers get more granular in targeting audiences on Turner's digital properties. Turner has currently executed eight social campaigns across financial, luxury, auto and travel categories using this data.

Turner will also extend the work it has been doing in branded content into Xandr's addressable TV footprint, which includes more than 15 million households. To date, Turner's branded content, which it creates through its Launchpad initiative, was being distributed through its social channels. Now that content will be brought to linear TV. L'Oreal Paris will be the first brand to utilize this capability.

"This is the first step in the inventory coming together," says Mike Welch, senior VP, corporate strategy and development, Xandr. "Over time, we hope to have this available for all different inventory, for all different publishers. We aren't there yet, but that's the vison."

Xandr and Turner will continue to operate as two separate sales forces for the foreseeable future, but Speciale says there are cases where they might go to market together.

Further out, the goal is to create national addressable inventory, but Speciale cautions this is difficult to accomplish due to current measurement constrictions.

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