Xandr adds A+E Networks and Crown Media to its audience targeting platform
AT&T’s Xandr is adding two TV networks—A+E Networks and Crown Media Family Networks—to its audience-targeting efforts. The cable programmers will join its Xandr Invest, an ad platform that helps advertisers consistently target more specific audiences across TV networks.
The addition of channels like Hallmark and Lifetime means the platform now boasts linear ad inventory from 52 networks and expands its reach to 90% of the country, according to the company. In March, Xandr signed AMC Networks, Disney and Xandr sibling, WarnerMedia, as partners.
This comes as Xandr faces plenty of headwinds, including chatter around AT&T considering a sale of the ad division, as well as mass layoffs at WarnerMedia last week.
“We’ve been quiet through the change," says Mike Welch, head of Xandr, adding that the industry has pretty much deemed Xandr dead. “We’re very much thriving," he says.
A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the possible sale.
Xandr first made the Invest platform available to the marketplace during this year's upfront ad haggle. While the company would not reveal how much money has been spent thus far on the platform, Welch says it's in the "mid-nine digits."
For A+E Networks, Xandr Invest represents an opportunity to make it easier for clients to transact and can even help bring previously unseen demand to the surface, says Santosh Mathai, VP of precision & performance platform partnerships at A+E Networks. “It makes television a viable alternative to a lot more folks who may not have been looking at TV."
“We know our audience and we’ve been offering that audience through Nielsen,” says Ed Georger, exec VP, advertising sales and digital media at Crown Media. “At the same time, what we hear from some advertisers is they want to find a more defined audience.” For Georger, Xandr provides more a more detailed audience breakdown in addition to Nielsen.
Georger says Crown Media will not deploy Xandr Invest during the current holiday season, but is currently integrating the platform for use starting in 2021.
Currently missing from Xandr's platform is inventory from NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, Fox and Univision, which are partners of rival OpenAP. The consortium introduced its marketplace a year ago.
Xandr is differentiating the Invest platform from OpenAP's offering by incorporating AT&T data, along with marketers' own first party data, and viewership data from Nielsen and Xandr's audience segments, to optimize linear schedules. It also utilizes clypd, the sell-side platform acquired by Xandr last year.
Both A+E Networks and Crown Media are open to partnering with other platforms. “We don’t say no to anyone, as long as they value our audiences,” says Mathai. “Automation is real, and we’re not exclusive to anyone.”
“There’s room in the platform to work with a variety of options,” says Georger. “We will continue to explore those—but this is the beginning of testing and learning.”