When AT&T debuted its advertising division Xandr in 2018, it had the bold remit to reinvent advertising, starting with television.
But instead, television, with all of its competitive interests, old tech and legacy business models, reinvented Xandr. Its leader, Brian Lesser, resigned unexpectedly and, one week ago, the unit – which debuted as a significant pillar in AT&T’s monetization strategy – was absorbed by WarnerMedia.
This week on The Big Story, the gang will look at how and why Xandr’s ambitions have since become more modest – and why that might ultimately be a good thing for the ad tech unit. We’ll look into how the power of TV’s traditional structures undermined Xandr’s grander ambitions, as well as the technical challenges it faced. For instance, AppNexus – the ad tech company it acquired to power its exchange – originated to service digital display, not TV or video.
Also in this episode, we’ll dig into BOPIS. While the concept of buying online and picking up in store isn’t new, the growth of grocery-related ecommerce during the pandemic has popularized it. But while some brick-and-mortars such as Walmart are ramping up their existing BOPIS capabilities, others, including Target, are putting it on pause.
We’ll also look at how smaller, more regional and local chains might take to the growth of BOPIS and ecom.