But that’s part of the new AT&T’s sell to customers.
“Consumers don’t want to be bludgeoned to death with performance advertising,”
Lesser said. “What better canvas to fix that than a marketplace that’s only professionally produced content.”
Tough challenges remain, however.
AT&T is planning a three-legged ad platform – built on data, distribution and content. But it still hasn’t secured the content leg.
AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner, which is being challenged by the US Justice Department on antitrust grounds, “is of paramount importance in terms of building the platform,” he said.
But Lesser isn’t waiting on Time Warner’s film and TV assets to make his case to the buy side and sell side.
Google and Facebook have been powerful tech innovators, he said, but they offer “an abstracted view of readers and customers.”
AT&T will anonymize subscriber identities in its first-party data set, the same as all other major platforms, but will return insights to buyers and sellers by connecting their audiences to its TV consumption data and mobile in-app activity and web browsing, he said. “Publishers can actually understand their readers and advertisers leave smarter.”
Lesser, the former CEO of GroupM North America, is well-acquainted with the problems major brands and media agencies have in the data-driven marketplace. For instance, many data and ad tech vendors add to a campaign, he said, but taken as a whole, digital intermediaries are keeping too many media dollars from going to media.
“We think there’s an opportunity to compress that,” he said.