Xandr: Preparing for a More Converged World

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Cover image for  article: Xandr:  Preparing for a More Converged World

One of the major trends in television today is programmatic.  Once more of a digital and then a local TV buy, programmatic is fast expanding into other television formats, from OTT to VOD to even traditional.  And media buyers and sellers are transitioning and adapting to this new, opportunistic norm.  "Where advertising can benefit in the future is limitless," noted Matt Van Houten, Vice President, Advertising Product Development Media Sales, Xandr, who, along with Lindsay Van Kirk, Vice President of Product Management, spoke about their company's initiatives at the recent Programmatic TV Summit held in New York.

An Expanded Business for a Changing World

While Xandr has been at the forefront of programmatic TV, they are not resting on their laurels, according to Van Houten and Van Kirk.  On the heels of recent media acquisitions, AT&T restructured its communications business, Van Houten explained, creating an entertainment division under WarnerMedia and an advertising division under Xandr, as well as their global business.  The company has the capability to sell nationally, locally and programmatically and is making inroads into linear programmatic, he said.

The long view, Van Kirk noted, "is to get into 100% of the buying/selling workflow" by "driving the targetability of audiences, whether they browse websites or are subscribers."  She sees that "consumers are becoming more fluid across platforms," so the focus for the company has to include how to better analyze the audience to help advertisers' extend reach.  "We are moving more to a converged world," she said.

Convergence and Integration

To facilitate that convergence for sales purposes, Xandr relies on impression delivery, which enables a seamless way to analyze audience delivery across platforms and through their AppNexus interface.  In addition, there is the capability to "have real-time dynamic targeting by segment," Van Houten said, adding that future steps include "a more dynamic integration into traffic systems to make it less manual than it is today.  We are looking to get to fully integrated systems."

Along with the technical and data aspects of the business, there are also the human and creative elements.  "We are talking to more buyers," Van Kirk said.  "They want more control with their relationships with suppliers and want access to greater insights and information."  To that end, she explained, "We want to start expanding from a narrower programmatic lens to more unique formats for a more converged world."

To accomplish this, the company is offering "a brand-new user interface with a suite of products to expand creative formats and a powerful optimization engine with a new UI that can activate on these different formats," essentially taking any dollar and transacting on it programmatically.  Van Kirk is focused on "how to bring people along on the journey" and promised that "any way you want to work with us, you can."

The Future Looks Bright

"We are bullish on the industry," Van Houten declared, especially with "5G rolling out nationwide."  He explained that new opportunities crop up every day, including "driverless buying," where passengers in driverless cars suddenly might have hours of free time as they travel and where "data is coming off everything, creating interesting opportunities for advertisers," such as smart collars that can indicate when to walk or feed the dog.   "Sixteen [ad] minutes per hour has been under stress for a while," he warned, so it is important for the industry to pose the question, "How can we interrupt less and monetize across other experiences?"

That is a long-term approach.  In the short term, however, the big win for Van Houten a year from now would be "unified targeting and unified measurement across platforms."  For Van Kirk it would be "a buyer being able to access any piece of inventory they want."

Photo credit: Sergio Souza / Unsplash

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