AT&T has announced that it has hired Brian Lesser to head a newly created advertising and analytics division that has been created by the telecommunications giant ahead of completing its Time Warner acquisition deal. Prior to the development, Lesser was the chief executive officer of GroupM in North America. In his new role Lesser will be reporting directly to the chief executive officer of AT&T, Randall Stephenson.
AT&T’s advertising and analytics business will have the responsibility of leveraging the customer data that the telecoms giant possesses with a view to offering highly targeted advertising. With this form of advertising the margins are higher via-a-vis the traditional advertising.
“Advertising is evolving from broad messages delivered through traditional media channels, to customized, individual content coordinated across all connected devices. AT&T has amazing assets for creating engaging advertising experiences for consumers,” said Lesser in a statement.
Time Warner acquisition
AT&T’s assets could further increase if the U.S. Justice Department gives approval for AT&T’s intended Time Warner acquisition at a price of $85 billion. As a content company some of Time Warner’s properties include Cable News Network, Warner Bros and HBO among others. These new media properties will assist the telecommunications giant in customizing video consumption experiences for consumers especially on mobile devices where AT&T has the capacity to collect data from users which it can then feed to advertisers.
As it prepares for the merger the executive suite at AT&T is being reshuffled. AT&T Entertainment Group’s chief, John Stankey, has been tasked with leading the integration efforts of the two companies. If and once the deal is approved, Stankey will take up the role of heading AT&T’s media company.
John Donovan has been appointed to become the chief executive officer of AT&T Communications. This unit comprises of the Technology & Operations Group, Entertainment Group and AT&T Business Solutions. Lori Lee who has been the global marketing officer and who has also been leading integration prep efforts since last year in December will become the chief of AT&T International. Lee will also continue with her global marketing officer role.
As the proposed merger reaches a critical stage, there has been speculation that some of Timer Warner’s assets such as TMZ, the celebrity gossip site, and CNN might be divested. According to sources the reason for the possible divestitures is to avoid controversies. TMZ might be sold to a PE firm while CBS is said to be interested in CNN.