July 03, 2018

Ad Tech Disrupted by AT&T Purchase

AT&T recently announced plans to buy advertising technology platform company AppNexus. The news came on the heels of AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

The AppNexus sell-side software platform automates ad sales. The company has more than 400 software engineers and product managers.

 “Ad tech unites real-time analytics and technology with our premium TV and video content,” said Brian Lesser. “So, we went out and found the strongest player in the space. AppNexus has scale of infrastructure, advanced technology and diverse talent. The combination of AT&T advertising & analytics and AppNexus will help deliver a world-class advertising platform that provides brands and publishers a new and innovative way to reach consumers in the marketplace today.”

AppNexus will become part of AT&T’s advertising and analytics effort. That’s led by Lesser, CEO of AT&T advertising & analytics.

Media Math and The Trade Desk are among the AppNexus competitors. But what AT&T is really aiming to do with the AppNexus acquisition is challenge social media giants such as Facebook and Google.

This sets the stage for an ad tech showdown between Facebook and Google, and AT&T –  a networking giant which is now a content giant as well. At the same time, ad tech itself is being disrupted as artificial intelligence and machine learning move into this space.

Google’s DoubleClick last year around this time added AI to improve upon their automated ad tech solutions. And late last year AppNexus launched a machine learning-enabled ad buying tool.

SpotX earlier this year wrote about how artificial intelligence are machine learning are disrupting ad tech. “On the supply side, publisher CafeMedia is using AI to more efficiently categorize and tag their inventory,” wrote Product Marketing Manager Lexie Pike. “This is traditionally a very manual process for publishers, requiring humans to individually categorize inventory within a content management system.

“In turn at SpotX, we have to again manually enter key value pairs to target against those categories and tags,” she added. “It’s important for buyers to know what type of content is present where their ads are playing. It’s equally as important that publishers know the type of ads serving on their properties, which is why we also leverage a team of inventory classification specialists to review and classify all programmatic ad creatives.” Now with AI and ML, she said, there’s an opportunity to automate this entire process.

TMC recently announced it’s launch of The Future of Work event. This event, Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Fort Lauderdale, will focus on the use of AI and ML in business communications, collaboration, contact cneters and other customer experience efforts, and marketing and sales.

We’re accepting session and speaker suggestions for The Future of Work through July 31. To submit your ideas, please visit this link.

For more information on The Future of Work, visit To learn about exhibit, speaking, sponsorship and branding, and other opportunities at The Future of Work, contact Dave Rodriguez at 203-852-6800 x146 or

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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