AT&T's acquisition of DIRECTV last year yielded some big benefits, including putting them on the map in home service space. DIRECTV is also being utilized by AT&T to break into the burgeoning mobile video market. To really emphasize their push on multiple fronts, AT&T exec John Stankey went on record as saying that using a "single play" strategy wasn't optimal these days. Given all of that, it logically follows that AT&T plans to do all they can to capitalize on their standing as a multiple threat. To that end, they announced on Friday that they've partnered up with ad technology firm Videology to begin bringing targeted advertising, of the sort you see on the web, to TV.
AT&T will be setting up a special network and self-service ad website that providers can log onto to check analytics and purchase ads on whatever networks and time slots suit them and their audience best. AT&T's data will include the kind of details about users that's normally found on the internet, such as credit information and leasing, through third parties. Thanks to this data, advertisers will be able to target ads more effectively. For example, a user who's signed into the Playstation Network may see ads for new and upcoming Playstation games, while those who have logged into high-end computers through their connections on AT&T may see ads for tech accessories like computer parts or high-end headphones. In an example pointed out last year by AT&T exec Mike Welch, car sellers can target audiences whose luxury car leases are near expiry by getting an idea of what networks luxury car owners normally watch. Even if they're not looking for a new car at the moment, targeted ads could drive purchasing decisions in the future.
AT&T plans to launch a pilot in select markets with only one ad partner for the time being, with no announcement as of yet for when a wider rollout may occur. Additionally, there are plans to bring targeted advertisements to AT&T's mobile business, though details of how that may work were sparse. AT&T essentially plans to create a unified, targeted ad experience for each user, though it will take time to acquire partners and data on a large and detailed enough scale to make that sort of cohesive experience a reality.