DMS ’09: Krantz Reiterates Media Bundling as a Survival Imperative

David Krantz, AT&T Interactive president and CEO, closed off Day 2 of DMS with a look at how he’s developing the technology backbone to monetize the company’s range of media assets. This includes AT&T advertising & publishing, AT&T Mobile, and triple-play telecom services.

These represent 1.8 billion online searches, 20 million monthly uniques at Yellowpages.com and 250 percent year-over-year mobile search growth in ’09. This is the usage on which AT&T hopes to deliver leads to the 27 million SMBs that Krantz characterizes as AT&T’s addressable market.

This all requires the move to a leads-based sales model that has been a common theme at this conference (and a rally cry for the YP industry for some time). What’s different today is that mobile joins online in this discussion — or at least to a much greater degree than it has in the past.

First step, as it often is, is to build mobile traffic. This has required a large investment in mobile products across lots of devices, platforms and operating systems. It is also partnering with distribution points in its growing mobile ad network such as Bing, uLocate’s WHERE and V-Enable.

Mobile monetizaiton will tie into the leads-based model where advertisers are charged based on the calls they receive — regardless of platform. In this case, the value mobile brings is simply more leads. This is underscored by much of the discussion on the previous mobile session supporting the concept that mobile searches are happening by incremental users and search categories (or existing users in incremental places and times).

Monetization mostly includes pay-per-call ads in mobile online and print. The company is also experimenting with geographically targeted mobile display ads to see how well they work for SMBs. This includes experimenting with distribution across its network as well as the third parties mentioned above, whose metrics and conclusions are still TBD.

Krantz’s bottom line is that bundling will be vital to create a one-stop shop, given the fragmented base of local media and dizzying array of sales channels that are bombarding small businesses. This underscored the familiar theme at this conference, that local media sales organizations have to evolve into media “consultants.”

“Local advertising is sold, not bought,” he said. “You gotta sell the bundle and gotta be that local consultant.”

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