Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Now that AT&T has successfully completed the transaction of Time Warner, it's moving quickly to get its ad business up and running.

Why it matters: AT&T hopes it will bring them a new revenue stream that can help subsidize Pay-TV losses as more people cut the cord. Marketers hope it will give them a new way to more seamlessly target consumers across many screens and devices.

Here's what it will look like. The new AT&T will be separated into four businesses: 1) Media; 2) Advertising and Analytics; 3) Communications (broadband/wireless); and 4) International. Their media business has been renamed "WarnerMedia."

  • The ad business will be led by Brian Lesser, formally of GroupM, who will serve as its CEO reporting directly to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.
  • Lesser has been working on creating a premium TV ad platform since joining the company last summer. He's currently in Cannes, meeting with marketers to talk about the new offering.
  • In the future, Lesser will help lead a strategy into leveraging Time Warner's premium content and ad technology with AT&T's set-top box and wireless data.
  • Stephenson teased the launch of the advertising platform in an interview with CNBC last week and teased smaller acquisitions in the ad tech space in the "coming weeks."

The big picture: Several big regulatory steps over the past two years have allowed AT&T, an internet service provider, to build a data-driven ad business.

  • Congress voted last March to allow internet service providers to share subscriber data with third parties, overturning FCC internet privacy rules.
  • A federal judge was sympathetic to AT&T's reasoning that it needed to add content heft and scale to curb the ad dominance of tech companies, mainly Google and Facebook.
  • Under this administration, de-regulating the telecom industry is generally favored over slapping new regulations on the tech industry.

The caveat: Most experts don't think telecom will be able to put a significant dent in Google's and Facebook's ad dominance any time soon.

One challenge AT&T may face in competing with the likes of Google and Facebook is scale. Addressable (targeted) advertising only works when you have a large numbers of people with which you can create niche targeting categories.

  • AT&T says it reaches 170 million unique direct-to-consumer connections across AT&T-specific wireless, video and broadband. The company has 15 million addressable television households, or houses that can be targeted with with digital ads.
  • While this is considered one of the largest addressable platforms for a telecom company, it's still much smaller in scale than Facebook, with over 2 billion users reachable on mobile.

What's next? To solve the scale problem, sources say AT&T's ad network could eventually bring on other media and technology partners to combine their inventory to sell against. With the acquisition of Turner, they are inheriting a property that is already a part of a joined TV-targeting effort called Open AP.

Go deeper: How AT&T's merger will change how we watch TV by Axios' Kim Hart

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.