AT&T Putting All Programmatic Digital Ad Spending with Xandr

Putting its money where it’s mouth is AT&T’s Communications division is consolidating its programmatic digital advertising spending with the company’s advertising and analytics unit, Xandr.

The move means that tens of millions of additional dollars the company spends on premium digital video and digital display advertising will flow through the AppNexus programmable platform, which is Xandr’s demand-side platform, giving it additional scale.

AppNexus, acquired by AT&T last year for $1.6 billion and now a division of Xandr, is working on a system for buying TV advertising.

Xandr is looking to build a platform the will be deliver relevant ad placements at a low enough cost that non-AT&T companies will choose to use it. advertising division.

AT&T’s Turner unit is using Xandr’s data to make it own data-driven advertising campaigns more effective.

AT&T had been a number of platforms for digital ad buying including AppNexus. It began working with AppNexus five years ago, before acquiring it.

“As one of the largest advertisers in the U.S., we are excited to scale our spend with AppNexus as Xandr re-imagines the future of advertising and customer engagement,” said Fiona Carter, chief brand officer for AT&T Communications. “Placing our advertising in premium, measurable, targetable and brand safe environments is essential to our brand building and performance marketing efforts. We’re pleased to be working with AppNexus in that mission.”

AT&T uses AppNexus’ multichannel platform to buy from premium digital video publishers, as well as premium display, mobile, and native publishers, including through private marketplace transactions. The consolidation at AppNexus will enable it to be a first-mover on some of Xandr’s new capabilities for engaging consumers across channels in an efficient manner, the company said.

“The fact that AT&T Communications, one of the U.S.’s largest advertisers, has decided to shift and quickly scale their spend on our platform is a testament to AppNexus’ long-term investments in our demand-side technology and the tangible value we create for buyers,” said Michael Rubenstein, president of, AppNexus. “AT&T will now serve as a case study for premium brands seeking intelligent and customized campaigns that resonate with consumers.”

AT&T Communications is comprised of the company’s mobile phone business, as well as its TV services including DirecTV and DirecTV Now.

Xandr, the new name for AT&T’s advertising unit, aims to help advertisers deliver the right message at the right time on almost every device using data.

“Our long-standing relationship with AT&T brings together industry-leading technology, unique data and insights, and breakthrough marketing innovation,” said Rubenstein. “I am excited for the market advancements we are working towards.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.