AT&T Plans Nationwide Debut Of IoT Network By Mid-2017

What Happened
AT&T is planning to roll out LTE-M, an IoT network aimed at linking sensors and other small connected devices online without saddling them with full-scale cellular radios, nationwide by the middle of this year. This debut set to bring widespread IoT connectivity into reality, unleashing a host of opportunities for marketers seeking to tap into the marketing potential of connected IoT devices. Verizon is reportedly also working to launch its own LTE-M network.

What Brands Need To Do
As we witnessed at CES this year, a number of connected home devices are already integrated with Alexa and other voice-based virtual assistant to interact with users. With a highly connected IoT network becoming an immediate reality thanks to AT&T’s plan, more sensors and devices will come online and become able to adopt voice assistant services as their conversational interfaces. This means that brand marketers need to develop a conversational marketing strategy and figure out the right brand voice and tactics to deliver relevant messages and interactive experiences through consumers’ connected devices.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building Alexa Skills and chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces. So much so that we’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue. The “Miller Time” Alexa Skill we developed with Drizly for Miller Lite is a good example of how Dialogue can help brands build a conversational customer experience, supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related client opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: GeoMarketing

AT&T Plans Personalized Dynamic Ads For DirecTV Now

What Happened
On Monday afternoon, AT&T announced the official launch date and pricing for its over-the-top live TV service. DirecTV Now is set to launch on November 30th and offers three different plans that range from $35 per month to $70. It will carry live programming from most major U.S. TV networks except for those owned by CBS and Showtime. By all accounts, the competitive price and rather comprehensive content offering should make it a strong contender in the growing OTT streaming market and challenge the pay-TV providers.

At launch, the same ads on networks’ normal live feeds will also appear on DirecTV Now, and AT&T will start selling VOD ad inventory for 64 channels. Down the line, however, AT&T has bigger ambitions. DirecTV Now plans to introduce data-driven personalized ads by mid-2017, which will be dynamically inserted into live programming for the two minutes of commercial time per hour that AT&T can sell. The commercials that networks sell nationally will mostly remain the same.

What Brands Should Do
According to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, the percentage of U.S. households that have cut the cord on both TV and wired broadband in favor of wireless Internet access has doubled from 10% in 2013 to 20% in 2015. With viewers increasingly choosing on-demand viewing over linear TV, brands wishing to reach consumers at scale should start exploring the advertising opportunities on the ad-supported streaming services preemptively. In that regard, DirecTV Now’s ambition in adding personalized dynamic ads to live programming coupled with AT&T’s massive consumer data should prove to be valuable for brand advertisers.

To read more on how brands can deal with TV’s shift toward streaming platforms, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Ad Age

Header image courtesy of DirecTV Now

AT&T To Give Free Apple TV To DirecTV Now Subscribers

What Happened
AT&T is reportedly planning to give away streaming devices for free to incentivize customers to sign up for its upcoming OTT live TV streaming service DirecTV Now. Subscribers who agree to pay for three months of the service will receive a fourth-gen Apple TV, whereas those who pay for one month will get an Amazon Fire TV stick. The service is set to release before the end of the month.  

Why Brands Should Care
While this not exactly a new tactic for enticing sign-ups (Sling TV had a similar giveaway of Fire TV and Roku devices last year), the potential scale and cost of AT&T’s plan far exceeds its precedents. Gradually, we are seeing some ISPs jumping on the cord-cutting bandwagon to court customers either by launching their own streaming services like AT&T and Verizon, or integrating popular streaming services into their own set-top devices, such as the case with Comcast and Netflix. Such a trend will no doubt propel more customers to cut the cord and switch to OTT services.

As more and more consumers choose time-shifted streaming over linear TV, brands should follow the viewers and start to explore new TV ad formats on connected TV devices to engage with the audience in their living rooms. To read more on how brands can reach viewers on OTT platforms with ads and branded content, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Apple Insider

AT&T Preps Three OTT Streaming Services To Court Cord-Cutters

What Happened
Following the footsteps of Comcast and Verizon, AT&T has announced their plan to launch three OTT streaming services later this year to appeal to cord-cutters and cord-nevers. The three streaming options will be DirecTV Now, which will offer a full range of live channels and on-demand shows targeted at cord-cutters; DirecTV Mobile, a  package of premium and digital videos aimed at smartphone users; and DirecTV Preview, a free, ad-supported service with a content selection that caters to the interests of teens and Millennials.

What Brands Need To Do
The ad-supported DirecTV Preview can offer brands looking to reach a younger audience a channel to reach their target audience with video ads that are usually not buyable on subscription-based streaming services. Besides, AT&T can leverage the user data they have to offer brands better targeting and customization for their ads, similar to what Verizon is doing with Go90. While it remains to be seen whether those three services can draw sizable audiences, brands should stay conscious of the ongoing changes in the digital video space and adjust their ad buying strategy accordingly.

To find out more on how brands can reach viewers on OTT platforms with ads or branded content, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdAge

AT&T Vying For Youth Attention By Sponsoring Social Influencers

What Happened
Last week, AT&T launched Hello Lab in a bid to win over young audiences. Working with media company Fullscreen, Hello Lab is a year-long project where the telecom company will sponsor ten social influencers with established followings to create a variety of content to reach young audiences on digital platforms such as YouTube and Snapchat. The content, which AT&T described as “cross-platform programming and live experiences,” will include videos, social challenges, podcasts, and live meet-ups to be distributed across social platforms. Their goal is to create a range of branded content marketing that associates AT&T with this kind of youth-oriented content.

What Brands Need To Do
For marketers, partnering with social influencers to develop branded content that can reach their massive audiences of teens and young adults that are harder to reach via traditional forms of advertising, such as linear TV ads. As media consumption continues to shift from traditional media to digital outlets, especially in the younger demographics, brands will need to follow the audience and reach them on their preferred platforms via branded content or sponsorships.

For more information on how brands can reach viewers on digital platforms with branded content, check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Marketing Land

AT&T Brings Voice Control To Smart Home

What Happened
AT&T has been offering its customers smart home solutions under its Digital Life service for over two years now. And earlier this week, the telecom giant announced that it has started working on a voice-activated digital assistant service to help you control your smart home devices on AT&T platform simply by talking. Dubbed “Digital Life Voice Assistant”, the new service, set for launch later this year aims to help users control their security alarm, connected lights, and more.

What Brands Need To Do
For brands seeking to enter the smart home space and get their message across via these connected home devices, now would be the time to start experimenting with this type of conversation-based user interfaces and developing their own brand voice. Moreover, as the smart home market begins to take off, a variety of platforms, including Apple’s HomeKit, Comcast’s XFINITY Home, and Samsung SmartThings, are now competing to become the central hub for all connected home devices. And in this war of hubs, brands need to choose their partner wisely so as to find the optimal platform for their brand messages.


Source: Engadget

AT&T Plans To Launch A Mobile Content App

What Happened
Following Verizon’s Go90, AT&T wants to become the next telecom carrier to launch a mobile app with ad-supported entertainment content, according to chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. Moreover, AT&T is also looking to create more original content for DirecTV and mobile.

Market Impact
Just as Verizon looks to leverage its vast amount of customer data to sell ads in Go90, with some help from AOL’s ad networks, AT&T’s entry into the content market will also provide brands with a new video channel to reach a millennial mobile audience that are usually not buyable on subscription-based streaming services, targeting them with video ads based on demographic and behavioral consumer data.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

AT&T Courts Outdoor Advertisers With Dynamic Data

What Happened
In a bid to provide out-of-home (OOH) advertisers with better data and targeting options, AT&T has teamed up with Clear Channel to provide outdoor advertisers with more dynamic data aggregated from its mobile users. The program is titled AT&T Data Patterns, which promises OOH advertisers the ability to learn the number of people who pass by a Clear Channel-owned billboard or outdoor display, as well as detailed demographic stats about that group of people using AT&T’s wireless service, such as gender, age range, ethnicity, and income range.

What Agencies Need To Do
With AT&T Data Patterns, marketers using Clear Channel’s OOH network will be able to better plan their campaigns and place more relevant ads with the enhanced audience data that AT&T now provides. Of course, not every pedestrian is using AT&T’s service, but given the telecom giant’s customer base of over 126 million wireless users, it should provide a sample size big enough for marketers and agencies to mine some actionable insights from.


Source: AdAge

Hulu Teams Up With AT&T To Push For More Subscribers

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Right after inking a similar deal with Cablevision, Hulu is attempting to acquire more subscribers by teaming up with another telecom company: soon, AT&T customers will be able to access Hulu content through either the AT&T mobile app or through the AT&T website, and, if they like what they see, sign up for Hulu subscriptions through AT&T as well.

The reasoning behind such a strategy for Hulu here is about getting its subscription in front of as many potential customers as possible. For AT&T, it is about adding more content for viewers who are already paying for cable TV, while also adding the sheen of popular OTT services on its less-than-favorable reputation among customers.

In related news, Hulu announced that it has resurrected former Fox comedy The Mindy Project for 26 more episodes, which we anticipated and explained in detail here when we reported on the show’s cancellation last week.

AT&T To Bring The Smart Home Into The Car

Read original story on: CNET

At the Mobile World Congress last week, AT&T announced that its Digital Life and Drive platforms are joining forces to allow drivers to check on home security and set up smart home automation straight from the user’s connected car. With this new partnership, Digital Life subscribers will be able to access the app on their vehicle’s control panel or via voice control without checking their phone.