In addition to unveiling new and returning series, WarnerMedia used its UpFront presentation today to share case studies showing linear television’s impact on business outcomes and discuss its upcoming SVOD and AVOD services. “What I’m thrilled about is that we’re going to be showing a lot of results,” WarnerMedia President of Ad Sales Donna Speciale said earlier this week in a Beet.TV interview at Madison Square Garden during the company’s UpFronts rehearsal.
WarnerMedia planned to show how its union with AT&T’s Xandr helped to a produce a first-quarter, double-digit lift in in-store visits for McDonald’s and a 6.5% increase in dealership visits for Volkswagen during the same period.
Besides the retirement of the Turner name, “We have not changed anything for the past four or five years, but now with AT&T powering us we’re going to be that much smarter, that much stronger,” Speciale said. In the walkup to its UpFront presentation, WarnerMedia has been “talking to individual holding companies and their clients who want to partner with both of us with their addressable product.”
While AT&T offers addressable advertising, WarnerMedia has been building out its audience-targeting solutions. Underlying both is AT&T data insights from its 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships. “Now buyers are going to get much more broader reach and expanded reach with both of our products,” Speciale adds.
Xandr, which is AT&T’s advanced advertising and analytics company, used the occasion of the UpFront period to announce the formation of Community. It’s described in a news release as “a curated marketplace of publishers that enables advertisers to reach their audiences at scale in a brand-safe, privacy-protected, premium video environment.” Xandr describes the Community marketplace as “the first-step towards the future convergence of linear TV and digital.”
Discussing WarnerMedia’s plans for a direct-to-consumer streaming offering, Speciale said the new SVOD service would be in beta test at the end of 2019, with a full product set to debut in 2020.
“There is a goal a year from now that there will be an AVOD service. I am working very closely with the team in LA to talk about what that AVOD service looks like,” she said.
Right now, the AVOD offering is “a clean slate” as WarnerMedia continues to research the desires of consumers and advertisers. Possible ad loads are completely open to consideration. “It’s not a one size fits all. I don’t want it to be pre-dispositioned.”
According to Speciale, advertisers have been waiting for linear TV to be more accountable for business outcomes along the lines of digital media, but lack of data has been a problem.
“Now with AT&T data, we can make that happen. We’re optimizing a lot quicker. We’re going to be guaranteeing on business outcomes. That’s what you’re going to see at this UpFront. We’re going to have proof points that television actually now works and can drive business outcomes.”