Backed by ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, AT&T Inc. T has evolved over the years 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 its advertising unit 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.
On the other hand, WarnerMedia is the new business division of AT&T formed through the acquisition of Time Warner assets in June 2018. AT&T realized that 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 now 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.
Turner’s data-powered solution AudienceNOW, which enables customers to accurately target advertising messages to fans on its premium content networks, has currently incorporated Xandr’s viewership insights from more than 40 million set-top-boxes. This has led to a faster turnaround of advertising campaigns, enabling marketers to access and understand the efficacy of these messages in weeks instead of months.
Turner’s digital properties such as CNN and Bleacher Report have long been the toast of advertisers with a combined reach of more than 135 million unique users a month. Advertisers now have the opportunity to gain key first-party consumer insights by accessing Xandr Audience Segments through Turner’s digital content properties. This would help marketers to deliver relevant advertising campaigns to interested audiences for actionable results.
AT&T has been able to successfully attribute the impact of ad exposures on Turner’s networks and digital properties to performance metrics by utilizing analytics and data-powered capabilities. Effective fourth-quarter 2018, advertisers of branded content on Turner network would have the advantage of extending their campaign across Xandr’s addressable TV advertising footprint, spanning 15 million households, to gain additional mileage. With such integrated business platforms, AT&T aims to reinvent advertising for the next generation and give a new dimension to its business model.
Over the past year, the stock has lost 14.6% while the industry has rallied 0.3%.
With a focused roadmap, AT&T appears poised to turn the tables in 2019, which is likely to be a decisive year for it. 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. Better-ranked stocks in the industry include ATN International, Inc. ATNI, Gogo Inc. GOGO and Sprint Corporation S, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank(Strong Buy)stocks here.
ATN International has delivered average positive earnings surprise of 138.1% in the trailing four quarters, beating estimates thrice.
Gogo delivered average positive earnings surprise of 25.9% in the trailing four quarters, beating estimates thrice.
Sprint has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 19.6%. It delivered average positive earnings surprise of 320.8% in the trailing four quarters, beating estimates in each.
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