SANTA BARBARA, CA – When IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg contemplates the rebirth of AT&T’s advertising and media operations in the form of Xandr, he sees a looming competitor to the most powerful digital giants.

“There’s no question that lots of folks in the marketing and media world would like more alternatives to Google and Facebook, and AT&T by bringing a lot of extraordinary assets is the latest to present a credible assembly of important capabilities,” Rothenberg says.

One of the many invitation-only attendees of the Xandr Relevance Conference, The IAB chief was scheduled to moderate a panel discussion titled Consumers’ Choice: The DTC Revolution. It was based in part on the IAB’s “Rise Of The 21st Century Brand Economy” study.

“I think the elite attendance here at The Relevance Conference is an example of the interest, the hunger for an entity that can do what AT&T is promising to do,” Rothenberg says.

That’s based on what he considers to be AT&T’s “world class” assets encompassing entertainment, news, distribution, data, privacy and a “great embedded understanding of data security.”

Add them all together and “you’ve got a company that puts together a lot of remarkable capabilities that can be brought to bear on behalf of both consumers and businesses at the same time.”

Rothenberg has words of praise for AT&T management in the walkup to the Xandr unveil this week. “I think the fact that they’ve spent a good solid year planning and building before coming out with public announcements was incredibly smart.”

He expresses a special affinity for Xandr CEO Brian Lesser and CMO Kirk McDonald, both “colleagues” and in McDonald’s case a former IAB board member.

“I think everybody here wishes them well and expects that they will do extraordinarily well to help build not just a new media entity, but a new media communications and advertising industry in the United States and elsewhere,” Rothenberg says.

This video is part of a series leading up to, and covering the Xandr Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. This Beet.TV program is sponsored by Xandr, a unit of AT&T.