CANNES – While bigger can imply better when it comes to media scale, it doesn’t shield you from challenges like audience fragmentation and the “murkiness” of the digital advertising ecosystem. So while AT&T recently upped its vertical integration game with the acquisition of Time Warner, it’s as enthusiastic as smaller companies to see various industry stakeholders taking on the challenge of audience measurement.

“We have GRP’s, we have declining linear audiences around 18-34 and we have the unreachables that are on non- ad-supported platforms or non-measured platforms,” says Fiona Carter, Chief Brand Officer, AT&T Communications. “So what are we going to do about that? How are we going to move to an all-screen measurement that works across all of the networks, all of the digital players?”

In this interview with Beet.TV at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Carter applauds the coalescence of competitors joining forces to facilitate not only reach and engagement with audiences but also the ability to measure the ROI of those engagements.

“In the end, although we’re very keen on brand building and we’re very keen on measuring how well our brand engages with our audience, we’re also here to sell at the end of the day,” Carter says. “And so trying to get the ROI out of everything we do so that we can prove we’re an investment and not a cost I think is an ultimate goal for a CMO.”

Among the offerings at Cannes, she identifies artificial intelligence from IBM, Quantcast and others as “one of the most fascinating conversations here at Cannes.” She echoes the desire to harness AI to improve marketing while wondering about its impact on advertising creativity. “Can they coexist? Can machine learning actually inspire greater creativity or will it be the end of creativity as we know it.?”

Asked for her thoughts on blockchain technology, Carter says AT&T is “doing a lot on blockchain” while noting that “everyone understands the murkiness of the digital advertising ecosystem. As a marketer, I feel many of us have been asleep at the wheel in understanding when our budget goes in through our agencies how much comes out to meet the publishers and eventually the consumers.”

She praises “these companies that are trying to help us work out the tradeoff of all of these service taxes and tolls and what the value is ultimately and frankly what the real price of operating in the programmatic supply chain should be.”

This video is part of a series produced by Beet.TV at Cannes Lions 2018 about advertising accountability presented by Mediaocean. Please find more videos from this series here.