AT&T Looks To Offload Xandr; Comcast And ViacomCBS Talk Partnership

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Née AppNexus

AT&T is reportedly in a rush to offload Xandr because the company is “losing tens of millions” of dollars per year, Axios reports. Xandr, formerly AppNexus, has been “grossly mismanaged” by AT&T, and InMobi is in talks to pick up the company at a potential fire sale rate (less than $1 billion), according to the report. Microsoft, Mediaocean and Roku reportedly checked out Xandr and passed. AT&T originally acquired AppNexus as the third pillar of what then-CEO Randall Stephenson described as the “Modern Media Company” (media, telecommunications, advertising). But AT&T dispensed with the AppNexus brand, and earlier this year Xandr was subsumed by Warner Media. Xandr has been up for sale since last year, so a handful of active acquirers in the space considering the business doesn’t mean a sale is imminent. Axios suggests talks with InMobi, an Indian mobile advertising company, are closest to a deal.

​​In Talks

Speaking of potential blockbuster deals, Comcast and ViacomCBS are reportedly eyeing a partnership to bolster their respective streaming services overseas, The Wall Street Journal reports. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and ViacomCBS Chairman Shari Redstone recently talked about NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’s Paramount Plus packaging globally. “[A]s Peacock gained scale in the US, we see compelling ways we can expand internationally,” Roberts said during Comcast’s Q1 earnings call in April. Talk of a partnership comes at a time of large media M&A deals, including WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery and Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM Studios. Viacom and CBS were bandied about for years as potential acquisition targets, and though Comcast is looking at such deals where it can find them, it’s not planning to merge with ViacomCBS, according to the journal. 

A Primed Engine

If you’re looking for an example of advertising and content ownership going hand in hand, Amazon’s release of the Prime Video movie The Tomorrow War is a case study. Chris Pratt, the lead actor, posted on Instagram over July 4th that the movie was the most popular in the world and had broken opening-weekend streaming records – as measured by Amazon. On July 2, the movie did a Twitch takeover with the popular streamer DrLupo, who led a Watch Party (Twitch’s group viewing service, so people on the platform can watch movies and shows together) for the release. Plus, there was the IMDb homepage takeover. An Amazon Studios movie was marketed using Amazon Prime packaging for the first time; Boxes shipped in the US, Canada, Brazil and Australia featured Pratt and the movie’s apocalyptic cityscape. Amazon Studios also had its first Prime Day marketing tie-in, with the movie displayed in Prime Day ads, even on web receipts, and Pratt doing live appearances. Alexa also had a role, with Pratt’s voice programmed for questions related to the movie – “Alexa, what is a White Spike (the baddies from the movie)?” “What is the news in 2051?” 

But Wait, There’s More!  

Google is piloting a “three strikes” policy for ad violations. [blog post]

NBCUniversal and Roku teamed up on a streaming initiative that makes accessing Olympic coverage easier on Roku devices. [release]

Aniview launched an advertising operations service to help direct publishers boost video ad revenue. [release]

TikTok launched a native ad format called Spark Ads. [The Drum]

​​Comcast Technology Solutions and The Team Companies have integrated their respective ad management and rights management platforms to help marketers manage campaign workflow. [release]

YouTube is adding labels to health videos to curb the spread of misinformation. [CNBC]

The California Department of Justice’s crowdsourcing effort to put potential California Consumer Privacy Act violators on notice is creating a “gray area” for companies. [Digiday]

Discovery wrapped its strongest upfront to date. [Adweek]

Optable teamed with Sharethrough to help publishers launch first-party data strategies. [release]

You’re Hired

Smart hired Teiffyon Parry as EVP, global demand. [release]

IRIS.TV hired Garrett MacDonald as chief commercial officer. [Bakersfield.com]

Dentsu tapped Fred Levron as global chief creative officer. [CampaignUS]

Talkwalker appointed Tod Nielsen as global CEO. [release]

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