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AT&T Aims to Focus More on European Markets With New Hires

Supriyo Bose

According to some media reports, AT&T Inc. T is currently focusing more on the European markets with strategic hires as it aims to concentrate on the digital ad market. Per the reports, the AppNexus division, which forms an integral part of its advertising unit Xandr, is hiring about 60 persons across the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy to augment the company’s position within the digital ad realm.

Over the years, AT&T has evolved from a telecom firm to a leading player in the U.S. communications sector with significant media assets. The company now aims to leverage the inherent potential of Xandr and WarnerMedia’s Turner business to offer enriching advertising content and data analysis to customers in 2019.

Xandr is AT&T’s advertising and analytics firm, which provides targeted advertising services leveraging data insights. The company boasts an advanced cross-platform technology, enabling marketers to trade premium inventory in a transparent and automated environment. This new-of-its-kind advertising entity has imbibed four key advantages from its parent firm — data, premium content, advanced advertising technology and distribution network — to more than 170 million direct-to-consumer entities across wireless, video and broadband.  

Meanwhile, WarnerMedia is the new business division of AT&T formed through the acquisition of Time Warner assets in June 2018. AT&T realized that a vertical merger was the perfect way to move forward as neither a core communications firm could rely exclusively on content, nor a media firm could solely depend on wholesale distribution models to sustain in a dynamic environment. With assets like HBO, CNN and TNT, AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner has created new kinds of online videos and opened up avenues for targeted advertisements.

The two business entities have collaborated to improve the relevancy of advertising by pooling a unique set of assets — valuable consumer data and insights, advanced advertising capabilities and engaged passionate fanbases. With such integrated business platforms, AT&T aims to reinvent advertising for the next generation and give a new dimension to its business model.

Europe has been a key market for digital advertisers, and AT&T aims to tap this huge potential to foster growth within the region and boost client support and reach. With wide expansion plans, including programmatic media trading and marketplace tools, AppNexus’ enterprise technology and advertising marketplace will likely help diversified firms better reach consumers and monetize their content.

However, over the past year, the stock has lost 16.2%, while the industry has rallied 3.2%.


 

With a focused roadmap, AT&T appears poised to turn the tables in 2019, which is likely to be a decisive year for the company. Whether this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock can indeed deliver on its set targets and perform to its full potential in the year, remains to be seen.

Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Gogo Inc. GOGO, CenturyLink, Inc. CTL and Telenav, Inc. TNAV, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Gogo beat earnings estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, average being 34.4%.  

CenturyLink has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 5.3%. It topped estimates in each of the preceding four quarters, average positive earnings surprise being 23.4%.

Telenav beat earnings estimates in each of the last four quarters, average being 23.7%.

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