Microsoft’s Xandr acquisition signals go to smart TV and esports

It is a booming industry that Microsoft might want to integrate; This year alone, forecasted initial CTV-related spending in the United States doubled to $ 4.5 billion, with CTV’s overall nationwide advertising surpassing $ 19.1 billion in 2022, according to the report. eMarketer.

And Microsoft, with a portfolio that includes LinkedIn, Bing, and Xbox, may have taken a particular interest in Xandr, which can activate its CTV offerings, after AT&T excluded it from the terms of the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger that has was announced earlier this year. And with its own identification capabilities already established, the company may see “an opportunity to distribute it more widely through massive exchange in Xandr,” Gupta said.

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Ready for player 1?

Another big consideration for Microsoft is likely Xbox’s role in the OTT streaming arena, with the company’s consoles now offering access to video-on-demand platforms, including many ad-supported players, in addition to their inherent playing ability.

Microsoft “is not out of the show battle,” said Tal Chalozin, chief technology officer and co-founder of Innovid. “And to have any luck with Xbox, which has a good setup base, they have to have a game or at least a solution with ads,” which Xandr can help facilitate, he said.

However, it’s not just Xbox video-on-demand streaming that should benefit from Microsoft’s purchase of Xandr; its long-standing presence as a video game heavyweight may also give AT & T’s former advertising unit a leg up on other competitors looking to gain a foothold in the esports audience.

“Microsoft is a long-standing player in games and esports,” said Matthew Papa, senior vice president of global partnerships at research intelligence firm Captify. Thanks to its growing popularity with audiences in recent years, many marketers see it as an equally lucrative space that is difficult to navigate, especially given its non-traditional format which is almost entirely live play.

But with the legitimacy that Microsoft ownership gives the Xandr brand, it may give the company “a chance to grow in the gaming ecosystem,” Papa added.

He suggested that “we might actually see a period of transformation in the next 24-36 months” as ad capabilities merge with the tech giant’s data collection and cloud computing infrastructure, giving Microsoft the band passable to compete more directly with esport. centered platforms like Amazon’s Twitch.

“If you ask most advertisers what space they’d like to step into and test more budget for, games and esports are definitely at the top of the list,” he said.

Don’t celebrate right away

While Microsoft’s Xandr deal still hinges on a number of factors, some observers have expressed suspicion of the benefits given Microsoft’s turbulent history with company mergers in the space.

“Microsoft has struggled with every digital media acquisition it has tried to make,” said Mike Woosley, chief operating officer for advertising technology and data management company Lotame. He cited Microsoft’s 2007 purchase of the Atlas Solutions advertising platform for $ 6.3 billion, which it then sold to Facebook for as little as $ 30 million, or about 0.5% of the original price, as an example.

“Maybe now that they own LinkedIn, they’ve had to reconsider digital media and will try everything again,” he added.

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