AT&T's Xandr pitch deck, Refinery29-Vice Media merger, how to make $150 million by fighting Facebook and Google


Randall Stephenson

Hi! Welcome to the Advertising and Media Insider newsletter, where we round up the most interesting stories we covered this past week, ICYMI.

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It’s a more compact than usual newsletter this week as I chase down some stories. As busy as everyone is, I know you’ll appreciate the brevity!

First, as T-Mobile and Sprint move closer to a merger, my colleague Lauren Johnson explored the year-long efforts by their rival AT&T to build an advertising powerhouse.

Here’s what she learned about AT&T’s Xandr unit’s first year:

  • Advertisers say Xandr is ahead in the race to own addressable TV advertising.
  • Xandr has boosted its tools that help advertisers target digital and TV ads and has built a marketplace of premium publishers, and has been taking around a pitch deck to show its offerings.
  • A Xandr VP insisted that it’s “not the next walled garden,” countering some advertisers’ concerns.

Meanwhile, it’s earnings season, and the biggest tech companies we follow seem to be immune to scandal at least so far — but there are headwinds on the horizon. The big takeaways from our coverage:

  • Facebook’s growth is slowing, and while it’s betting on Stories as its next breakout ad format, it’s not pulling in as much revenue as its feed ads are.
  • Amazon, seen by advertisers as the best candidate to challenge Facebook and Google’s dominance, is gaining traction with advertisers, but its ad growth rate has slowed over the past year.
  • Google said that YouTube remains its cash cow, even though reports have suggested that YouTube’s dominance in internet video is eroding.

Elsewhere, the more platforms grow, the more they look the same, as this Snap scoop from Tanya Dua shows:

Snap is secretly testing dynamic product ads that retarget consumers as it races to compete with Facebook and Pinterest for e-commerce dollars
Snap is testing targeted ads that are similar to the ones already sold by Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Meantime, I did some digging into the factors behind reports that Refinery29 and Vice Media may combine.

Refinery29 is in talks to combine with Vice Media. Sources say its finances are so tight it needs to do a deal soon.
One nuance I think often gets lost in the coverage of these richly funded companies that aren’t profitable is that they aren’t failures — they’re just meant to be smaller companies than their investors might have expected or hoped for.

Here are other great stories from media, marketing, and advertising. (You can read most of the articles here by subscribing to BI Prime; use promo code AD2PRIME2018 for a free month.)

How the CEO of buzzy TV-measurement firm Data Plus Math made a fortune from fighting Facebook and Google and sold the company for $150 million

A key exec on Netflix’s brand-partnerships team has quietly exited the company

NBCUniversal raked in nearly $1 billion in ad sales from digitally native brands during its 2019 Upfronts — showing how quickly these brands are turning to TV to scale

How to use Instagram to reach celebrities and other influential people, according to the CEO of a $300 million startup who swears by it and says ‘cold calling is dead’

‘An amalgamation of warring armies’: CVS Health’s CMO says that holding companies must evolve or risk being disrupted

A YouTube star details her wild ride to 1.5 million subscribers within a month of posting her first video about living in a van

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