AT&T is exploring the idea of a sale of Xandr, its advanced advertising business, according to a report -- just days after another story surfaced that AT&T is looking to sell its DirecTV pay TV satellite platform.
The report came from The Wall Street Journal. An AT&T representative declined to comment to Media Daily News.
The situation with Xandr comes on the heels of a restructuring of AT&T's overall advertising business -- one that supports its WarnerMedia advertising-supported TV networks such as TNT, CNN, and TBS, among others, as well as its digital platforms.
In May, AT&T’s WarnerMedia launched its advertising-free subscription service HBO Max. At the same time, executives considered the idea of an advertising-supported option for HBO Max, although no timetable has been disclosed.
In addition to offering advanced advertising efforts for the WarnerMedia ad-supported TV networks, Xandr was also building out a business as a supply-side platform, adding third-party inventory to be bought by advertisers under its Xandr's Community media marketplace.
In addition to WarnerMedia's CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Otter Media, and Warner Bros., Xandr had inventory from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Cheddar, Vice, Hearst Magazines, Newsy, Philo, Tubi, and Xumo.
Reports suggested Xandr has recently had trouble signing on more third-party advertising inventory partners.
“Xandr will be a tough sell outside of AT&T,” Mike Woosley, chief operating officer of Lotame, told Media Daily News.
“Without continued access to AT&T's data, or the WarnerMedia trove, Xandr becomes just another digital advertising agency without command of any proprietary technology.”
AT&T touted that Xandr was backed by crucial first-party data -- 170 million total consumer interactions from all AT&T's consumer businesses.
Woosley also was concerned that Xandr may have lost its way after Brian Lesser, its chief executive, abruptly departed in March after three years at the company.
AT&T closed a deal to acquire AppNexus for $1.6 billion in August 2018. It rebranded the business as Xandr -- riffing off the name of AT&T's founder, Alexander Graham Bell.