Fifteen months after AT&T acquired DIRECTV to become the largest pay-television provider, AT&T’s transformation from a telecom company to an entertainment company is bearing fruit in the addressable advertising space. “Addressable advertising is pinnacle to our advertising offering and certainly core to our growth,” says Maria Mandel Dunsche, VP and Head of Marketing for AT&T AdWorks.
The $49 billion DIRECTV deal has grown AT&Ts addressable household roster to 14 million from 12 million. “Our strategy is to continue to grow our addressable footprint but also grow our addressable offering across platforms,” Dunsche says in an interview with Beet.TV.
AT&T AdWorks has more than doubled the number of advertisers using its addressable TV offering, with thousands of campaigns currently in flight and a 90% repeat purchase rate. “Advertisers get a taste of it and it performs well for them and they want to do more,” adds Dunsche, citing categories that include automotive, consumer packaged-goods, financial services, quick-serve restaurants and retailers.
“At the outset, addressable addressable advertising CPM’s are higher than traditional linear spend, but when you look at the net effective CPM level because there’s zero waste it’s actually a far more efficient and effective spend,” Dunsche says.
On the distribution side, the union of AT&T and DIRECTV means access to more than 150 million screens across TV and mobile, fueling cross-screen ad targeting and results measurement. A main goal is “seamlessly delivering entertainment experiences cross platform,” Dunsche adds.
AT&T took the plunge into political addressable TV campaigns by pairing DIRECTV with DISH Network, forming the joint partnership known as D2 Media Sales. D2 can send targeted political messages to about 22 million addressable households.
“We work with every political presidential candidate that’s been in market,” says Dunsche. “It’s been a great year. Political advertising is definitely up.” One of the main selling points of addressable ads for political campaigns is the fact that “you can keep it within state boundaries” as opposed to traditional DMA-based buys.