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Xandr unveils updated buy-side platform as AT&T braces for streaming race

AT&T's massive TV footprint, including DirecTV, contributes to its pool of 170m consumer touchpoints

Xandr now has a shiny new buy-side platform for its recently launched ad marketplace.

Today, AT&T’s advertising unit launched Xandr Invest, an updated version of its buying platform that will tap directly into its new video ad marketplace, called Community.

Other than an updated user interface, Invest’s key difference to Xandr’s legacy ad buying platform is that it now allows marketers to automatedly reserve access to supply through its programmatic guaranteed offering.

Xandr’s vice-president of product management Suzanne O’Kelley said Invest and the legacy buy-side service will live side-by-side as customers migrate to the new platform.

O’Kelley came to Xandr from AppNexus after AT&T purchased the company in June, and the telecommunications giant has since been consolidating programmatic ad spend with AppNexus.

O’Kelley said AppNexus’ programmatic technology “lives under the hood” of Invest.

While Invest will include global, omnichannel inventory for mobile, digital video, audio, native and display, Xandr has its sights set TV, be it traditional linear or over-the-top (OTT).

“[OTT] is a huge focus area of ours,” said O’Kelley. “We already support it, and we're continuing to evolve our offering there. Programmatic guaranteed is an important way to execute that today since a lot of TV-type inventory is in high demand, and tends to be sold out, so that's really important. Traditional linear TV has gotten more data-driven, so we're also investing in ways to execute that in a more programmatic-like way."

This all comes as parent company AT&T is reportedly getting set to launch its streaming service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T is readying a streaming service at around $16 or $17 a month that will include content from HBO, Cinemax and Warner Bros, and will likely launch an ad-supported offering in 2020.

Meanwhile, fellow AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia spent its upfront presentation touting its Xandr integration and hinting at plans to launch an ad-supported streaming service come 2020.

To ready against a changing digital advertising ecosystem, O’Kelley said Xandr has “big launches planned pretty much every quarter from here to 2020.”

“I would call this the beginning.”

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