CANNES—A year ago at the Cannes Lions, AT&T provided a sneak peak of its future with a tease banner outside the Carlton Hotel that would presage the launch of Xandr, formerly AT&T Advertising & Analytics. “It’s been quite a whirlwind year since Cannes 2018,” says Xandr Chief Marketing Officer Kirk McDonald.

What followed was Xandr’s first-ever The Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara, which brought together “the shareholders of attention,” AT&T sharing data with WarnerMedia within six months of its acquisition and the recent launches of Xandr’s Community audience marketplace and the Xandr Invest demand-side platform.

Now Xandr is once again “on the road to Relevance,” which will be repeated in Santa Barbara on Sept. 16, McDonald says in this interview with Beet.TV.

He describes the purpose behind the Community marketplace as “a premium audience marketplace that would not just be our owned and operated inventory but would be this community of like-minded publishers and content producers.” WarnerMedia (including Otter Media), Vice, Hearst Magazine, Newsy, Philo, Tubi, and XUMO are inaugural Community partners, according to a Xandr news release.

Xandr Invest is a re-launch of a demand side platform “really as an audience-buying platform,” says McDonald. It takes into account “the things that really needed to be improved as the industry’s evolved dramatically on the programmatic side around now buying against return on investment, not just a system to manipulate the quick fluctuations of rapid trading.”

Audience buying, while advanced in digital platforms, “really is still nascent in TV. As the leaders in addressable TV we think we understand what are the challenges all the way at the edge and we’re solving those to a large degree for a lot of partners,” he adds.

Last year’s The Relevance Conference “far exceeded our expectations,” McDonald says. It also marked the debut of the Xandr Relevancy Report, whose research “revealed a lot of things that we kind of knew intuitively, but it was great to put hard facts behind the sense that consumers care about advertising, understand its role. They know that it’s part of the content consumption process and part of the package.”

Xander has the launched a second wave of Xandr Relevancy Report research and will share the findings in September in Santa Barbara.

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