AT&T division WarnerMedia—which houses HBO, Turner and Warner Bros.—is opening a research and development hub focused on making new media experiences out of emerging technologies.
The WarnerMedia Innovation Lab will be based in New York City and headed up by Jesse Redniss, executive vice president of data strategy and product innovation at Turner. One of the new initiative’s first partners will be the NBA.
“The future of consumer experience will be personalized, both participatory and passive at the same time, while also dynamic based on how viewers want to receive and engage within their media content journey,” said Redniss in a statement. “By infusing emerging technology innovations led by AT&T and methodologies with our world class IP, partners like the NBA and story world developers, we expect the Innovation Lab to help redefine the future of the entertainment and sports experience.”
WarnerMedia and the NBA will focus on using AT&T’s IoT infrastructure, connected car partners and connected environments across stadiums, airports and cities to create and deliver localized content and fan experiences.
Beyond the partnerships, the Innovation Lab will be about using WarnerMedia’s existing IP alongside AT&T’s capabilities within IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and augmented reality. Right off the bat, 5G network technology will be a heavy focus. The companies see AR/VR/MR/gaming and real-time interactivity as 5G opportunities. The Innovation Lab will get access to data and insights from AT&T’s more than 300 million direct-to-consumer relationships across wireless, video and broadband services, along with WarnerMedia’s content, to work on creating dynamic content, innovative advertising formats and content delivery using AI and deep learning research.
The Innovation Lab will also be involved with Turner’s recent targeted ad team-up with Xandr, AT&T’s advanced advertising and analytics business. The companies announced earlier this month that Turner’s AudienceNow will now begin incorporating Xandr’s viewership data rounded up from AT&T’s more than 40 million set-top boxes. In addition to better targeting of ads for certain audiences, the integration is promising to provide faster turnaround of campaign posting.
AT&T and WarnerMedia's work on potential 5G applications for media and content delivery is happening congruently with Disney and Verizon partnering on similar research. Disney and Verizon’s 5G exploration will take place within Disney’s StudioLab, which is based on Disney Studios’ lot in Burbank, California. The companies will be testing 5G as a way to provide connectivity for remote production locales. The companies are excited about downlink speeds nearing 300 Mbps that would allow wireless users to download full movies in a matter of seconds.