AT&T's Brian Lesser dials the future. Will anyone answer?

 Brian Lesser, Photography by Jill Greenberg for Ad Age

Brian Lesser, Photography by Jill Greenberg for Ad Age

September 10, 2018 - Jeanine Poggi of AdAge writes: Brian Lesser [pictured] sits in the shadow of Comcast. It's an unusually cool New York City summer morning, and as Lesser, the CEO of AT&T's advertising and analytics unit, details his grandiose plans to upend the TV ad industry from the roof-deck of AT&T's offices in Rockefeller Center, the peacock logo of Comcast's NBC division looms in the background.

It's an apt setting to discuss the need to make the $70 billion TV ad industry more data-driven and automated, a goal that AT&T shares, at least in theory, with many of its rivals, including its feathered neighbor: Media conglomerates that spent decades at each other's throats are now cooperating ever more closely to compete with Google, Facebook and other powers.

The proximity of Comcast in particular is also a reminder, though, of the past decade's numerous failed or incomplete attempts to modernize TV advertising.

Now Lesser, who joined AT&T in October 2017, one year after the company announced its deal to buy Time Warner and its assets, including Turner Broadcasting, has become the new face of the cause. More...