CANNES — In the rapidly-expanding kingdom of AT&T, Xandr, its unit for facilitating advanced TV ad buying, is playing a stronger role.

Almost exactly a year after AT&T acquired ad-tech platform AppNexus, it has just rebadged AppNexus’ demand-side platform (DSP) as “Xandr Invest”, and allowed ad buyers to to target viewers using AT&T’s first-party data and its new Community premium video network.

That is all part the wider convergence, which is seeing AT&T mobile, Turner, WarnerMedia, CNN, DirecTV and other assets come together in a kind of cross-screen super-play, helping to target viewers across devices and content.

But that doesn’t mean traditional methods of TV ad sales are done. In this video interview with MTM’s Jon Watts for Beet.TV, says Christina Beaumier, Xandr VP product for TV platform, says the traditional upfront method – through which ad buyers put down money for advance slot bookings – will prevail alongside programmatic-, exchange-based transactions.

“We need automation. Automation is coming,” Beaumier says. “Automation does not mean that we are going to move towards a fully real-time auction-based exchange trade and marketplace.

“The TV marketplace is here to stay, meaning upfront, scarce reserve inventory and the business rules that surround that marketplace will continue to be grounded in an upfront reserved model. Why? Because marketers need to be able to guarantee an audience at specific times within the year, and they’re not going to want to pay at the pump for advertising.”

AT&T’s WarnerMedia is known to be planning to join the subscription video-on-demand wars in 2020 and, according to Business Insider, “rumors have emerged that WarnerMedia might offer an ad-supported version”.

AT&T is putting together the pieces of infrastructure required to make digital, targeted advertising work across a vast trove of media properties and devices.

“Real-time exchange marketplaces are great for filling out additional impressions and additional reach,” Xandr’s Beaumier adds. “But, just because we have the technology that will enable it, does not mean that the full media plan should then convert to a realtime market.

“That’s what we’re focused on is really the holistic view across the reserved upfront marketplace, and surrounding that with the realtime marketplace.”

You are watching Beet.TV’s coverage of Cannes Lions 2019. For all of our Cannes coverage, please visit this page. Thank you to the sponsors of our festival coverage, which are Amobee, Innovid, Nielsen, RTL AdConnect and Teads. Special thanks to Hearts & Science for hosting Beet.TV for the Festival.