In what appears to be a classic co-opetition move, an announced partnership has AT&T and DISH acquiring INVIDI Technologies. Ad agency WPP is also part of the deal, which gives AT&T a controlling interest in the addressable advertising technology firm. Terms were not disclosed.
Addressable advertising is a fast growing line of business and both AT&T and DISH are aggressively pursuing it. AT&T reports $1.5 billion and growing in annual revenue for its AT&T AdWorks division. That unit aggregates 14 million households and 35 million set-top-boxes nationwide, managing ad inventory across national ad-supported cable networks. AT&T claims it’s the largest addressable advertising network in the industry, thanks in large part to its acquisition of DIRECTV.
Similarly, DISH Media Sales serves 100 cable networks to its 8 million households nationwide, having entered the addressable ad market in 2012.
AT&T and DISH Acquiring INVIDI
With INVIDI, AT&T, DISH, and WPP gain access to the technology driving the ability to target households with thousands of demographic and psychographic attributes. Many see these capabilities as the future of advertising, and TV is just the start. The sweet-spot occurs when addressable advertising is leveraged cross-platform, effectively following targeted audiences across devices.
“This is an opportunity to push innovation through the platform and expand the reach of addressable TV advertising, moving the advertising industry forward for brands and consumers,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH executive vice president of Marketing, Programming and Media Sales in a press release announcing the deal.
INVIDI is a major player in addressable advertising and works with the video and entertainment ecosystem internationally, including deep distribution in the U.S. market, as well as an international presence in Europe, South America, and Asia.
The partnership gives AT&T and DISH the opportunity to grow their interest, revenue, and profitability in the huge advertising market. Their partner WPP had billings of $73 billion alone.
AT&T, DISH and WPP plan to operate INVIDI as an independent subsidiary, maintaining their current operations, employees, and locations. INVIDI has offices in Princeton, N.J.; Newtown, Pa.; New York; Denver and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The transaction is subject to pre-merger review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.