Retailers Are Entering The Ad Tech Mix; The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is Bad For Publishers

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Ecommerce As Media

Retailers are rushing headlong into ad tech. The fresh acquisitions of HookLogic by Criteo and Triad Media by Xaxis underscore this point, but other ecommerce inventory is hitting the market as well. Index Exchange CEO Andrew Casale says six retail/ecommerce clients use the company’s header bidding product, and dozens are in talks or mid-integration. There’s also a surge of retailers using Ghostery to evaluate site latency and ad tech tags as publishers do, according to Ghostery CEO Scott Meyer. “But are retailers overlooking the lessons that publishers learned doing the same thing?” asks George Slefo. More at Ad Age.


AT&T and Time Warner’s merger is bad news for publishers. Both companies are among the top 10 ad spenders in the US, but will consolidate (i.e., cut) up to $1 billion in ad spend within three years, Alexandra Bruell reports for The Wall Street Journal. AT&T already learned a thing or two about shaving ad spend from its DirecTV acquisition. “We can mine savings out of combining two companies’ advertising and corporate communications because we’ve been very successful at that,” said AT&T financial chief John Stephens. Speaking of DirecTV, the company finally slapped a $35-per-month price tag on its DirecTV Now “skinny bundle,” which provides access to more than 100 channels, including those owned by – you guessed it – Time Warner.   

Good For The Goose

Speaking of AT&T-Time Warner, rival wireless providers are all smiles. “Our strategic value to many has significantly grown,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in an investor call Tuesday. The supply chain is compressing, as the Comcast-NBCUniversal and AT&T-Time Warner deals indicate, and there aren’t many wireless providers to tack onto media empires. Wireless industry upstart T-Mobile is well-placed for a big media payout. “Content of all kind is rapidly landing on the internet and the internet itself is rapidly transforming toward mobile,” T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert tells Reuters, adding the company is “very interested” in exploring strategic opportunities. More.

Rising In The East

When it comes to advertising opportunities in China, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. As a Magna programmatic report last week showed, Chinese companies are driving up ad revenue forecasts as wider pools of inventory and media open up to ad tech. But China doesn’t have the self-correcting mechanisms other powerhouse markets have in place, a particular vulnerability in the easily gamed digital ad space. As a result, a large – even majority – share of Chinese traffic is bogus. That’s a conundrum for US ad tech firms that want Chinese money but have concerns about the Chinese market’s legitimacy.

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