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AT&T's ad unit Xandr launched an ad-buying tool called Xandr Invest on Monday, per Adweek. The platform launch is AT&T's latest move to enhance its advanced ad buying capabilities across AT&T's properties since WarnerMedia pulled out of the industry's ad consortium OpenAP in April.

US Ad Spend, TV vs Digital
US Ad Spend, TV vs Digital
Business Insider Intelligence

At that time, we noted that leaving OpenAP was AT&T's bid to compete on its own two feet by expanding its data-supported ad offerings.

What it means: Xandr Invest will serve as AT&T's central hub for ad-buying as the company adapts media buying and selling to the digital age.

AT&T is positioning Xandr Invest as a one-stop shop for ad buyers looking to reach consumers on its properties.Xandr Invest will leverage AT&T's wealth of consumer data and recently acquired AppNexus' ad tech in order to power advanced ad buying on WarnerMedia properties, including CNN, TBS, and TNT.

The new tool will integrate audience data from over 170 million AT&T wireless and satellite-TV customers, along with the demand-side platform (DSP) of AppNexus. The offering will enable advertisers to access and purchase ad space across display, video, native, OTT, CTV, and audio inventory through private marketplace or programmatic guaranteed buys.

Xandr Invest will also be the only ad-buying platform serving Community Xandr's premium video marketplace that AT&T launched during upfronts last month which curates content from across WarnerMedia networks, as well as from outside publisher partners like Vice and Tubi.

The platform is meant to move AT&T forward in eliminating the complications that come with media buying and selling in today's fragmented landscape, which have made targeting harder.Michael Rubenstein, president of AppNexus (Xandr's specialist ad-tech arm) said "We've brought a platform to market that doesn't just meet advertisers where they are now, but sets them up to capitalize on the future of advertising as digital and TV begin to converge."

The bigger picture: AT&T has been steadily aggregating pieces that could enable it to become a more meaningful competitor for digital ad dollars.

With AT&T's breadth of data and wealth of owned, premium video content, it may be successful in its goal of dominating targeted ad sales on internet-connected TVs and devices.AT&T has spent the past year completing acquisitions to bolster its ability to drive digital ad growth, buying up ad tech company AppNexusand media companies including WarnerMedia and Otter Media . This consolidation, combined with Xandr Invest, could help AT&T to compete for digital ad dollars that are now flowing to OTT TV, and possibly even the duopoly, as advertisers look for brand safe, premium content environments. The opportunity could be further amplified as rumors have emerged that WarnerMedia might offer an ad-supported version of its forthcoming SVOD service later in 2020. Having the capacity to offer advertisers space across its existing properties, and its streaming service, could serve as a huge boost.

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