AT&T, Time Warner: Advertiser Dreams Coming True
Fragmented customer attention is a challenge for marketers. With all of the channels and all of the options for content consumption and communication that they have, it can sometimes feel hard to reach them. That’s why AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner announced on Sunday may seem like a godsend.
Old-time monopolies, er, mega-mergers tended to consolidate similar entities, often in the same channel. This acquisition is adding another lump of muscle to a far different beast that seems to be uniting different channels and disparate customer experiences in a way that turns AT&T into an advertiser’s dream. Contacting consumers may get even easier through advertising with AT&T, through its telecom and media company mergers.
Verizon, not to be forgotten, is working on becoming an advertising hulk, too — acquiring Yahoo and its 4.5 percent share of the U.S. digital ad market in July. (This still left Facebook with 17 percent and Google with 36 percent of the market, according to Business Insider.)
One thing all of these entities have in common is a huge stake in mobile — which is also where a lot of other channels coexist, if not unite. (Email, social, etc.)
So what, specifically, does this merger do to help marketers?
Here’s the take on Monday from Jeanine Poggi of Ad Age, who wrote “What the AT&T and Time Warner Deal Could Mean for Advertising.”
Targeted TV ads already exist on DirecTV, which AT&T acquired last year, Poggi points out. Those targeted ads will hit a total of 13 million households by the end of the year.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said on a press call on Saturday night that the deal announced Sunday “would allow for ‘more innovation in advertising’ where the ads will become ‘more effective and of interest to you in one house vs. someone else in a different house,’ ” Poggi writes.
“Consolidation of the companies' own agency accounts and media spending” may have the largest ramifications for advertisers, Poggi writes.
This is a bit counterintuitive, as the usual impact of data in acquisitions like this is merging customer data and finding new targeting options, in Target Marketing’s opinion.
Poggi seems to rejoin that hypothesis.
“When it comes to advertising,” she writes, “the thinking is that combining the vast troves of data from a telecommunications giant and the TV programmer behind shows including HBO's ‘Game of Thrones’ and TBS's ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ will allow for greater audience targeting and ad relevance. The combined entity would also include Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter spin-off ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and DC Comics movies such as ‘Suicide Squad.’ ”
Why, yes. That is what Target Marketing thought. That advertisers would know how to target consumers with even more relevant content, because they would know what shows they watch. Yes, we thought that. And we still do. Especially because providing AT&T customers with more streaming video from Time Warner troves will be easier and could lead to better mobile ad targeting.
Poggi’s piece seems to imply that advertisers may already be reaching this audience, but now they’ll know that they are because of the shared data.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.