When AT&T officially closed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, it spun up advertising as one of four core pillars of its newly expanded business. Over the next few years, that business could grow into a beast tough enough to fight off the digital ad giants of the world.
Though linear television is experiencing some secular decline, it’s still a massive advertising magnet. According to eMarketer, TV ads will slip 0.5% in 2018, and as a result, TV’s share of total U.S. spending will fall from 33.9% in 2017 to 31.6% this year. Despite the fall, TV ad spending in the U.S. this year will still total $69.87 billion.
Before the merger, AT&T had access to a modest amount of ad inventory through its DirecTV platform. By adding Turner—home of channels including Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS and TNT—AT&T is effectively tripling the amount of ad inventory it can sell to ad buyers and marketers.
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