- Thomson Reuters
- Altice USA is rolling out a new ad-focused division, a4, which promises to help brands deliver targeted ads to specific audiences on TV and the web across the US.
- The company has made a series of ad-tech and data acquisitions over the past few years.
- It’s one of several cable and telecommunications giants trying to make inroads in advertising.
Low-profile cable distributor Altice USA wants to become a bigger player in both TV and digital advertising.
The company, a division of the European telecommunications company Altice, is rolling out a new ad-focused division dubbed a4 that promises to let advertisers use data to target specific consumers, whether they’re watching TV or surfing the web.
The 500-person division is the result of several recent acquisitions by Altice:
- In March last year, it purchased Audience Partners, a digital-data and targeting company.
- Later that month, it snatched up Teads, a web video ad-tech firm for more than $300 million.
- Then late last year, it grabbed Place Media, the “programmatic TV” startup.
- And of course, its parent company acquired Cablevision in 2016.
Now the plan is tie all those pieces together and build a cutting-edge advertising division.
What sets the company apart from the competition is that, thanks to its collection of tech and media pieces, it can anonymously identify people on multiple devices and use that knowledge to execute smarter campaigns, a4 president Paul Haddad said.
Altice has the technology to target specific TV households and web users
- Altice USA
For about the last four years, Altice has been using its Cablevision (now Optimum) set-top cable boxes to help it target ads to specific households. One house in New York might see an ad for a sports car, while the family next door might see an ad for a minivan.
With the Place Media deal, Altice says it can replicate that same sort of “addressable” TV ad targeting across the country. It has deals with 10 of the top 12 US cable systems, including Charter and Cox, as well as cable networks such as Fox Sports, to sell TV ad time that can be targeted to specific audiences, Haddad said.
Beyond TV ads, Altice says it can specifically target consumers on the web with video ads, thanks to its Teads deal. The company’s vision is to let advertisers target specific audiences on a national basis, using whatever mix of TV ad time and web video ad inventory is most effective at a given moment.
To be sure, Altice has a ways to go before it becomes a huge contender in US ad market. And it’s not the only company looking to bridge TV and digital advertising. For example, on Wednesday rival cable distributors Comcast, Cox, and Charter announced a partnership to sell targeted TV ads in multiple US markets.
Other telecommunications companies, including AT&T and Verizon, are also aiming to use their unique consumer data to steal budgets in the ad business. But Haddad believes Altice has already put the puzzle together.
“People have been talking about this for a while, but we’ve actually been building it,” he said.