With more 2,200 standalone retail stores nationwide, AT&T has significant access points to consumers at the street level.
With the acquisition of Time Warner and creation of WarnerMedia, AT&T wants to use its retail presence as a marketing tool for Warner Bros. movies, HBO and Turner programming, John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, told an investor group.
Speaking June 5 at the at the Credit Suisse Communications Broker Conference Call in New York, Donovan said the average AT&T customer visits branded stores three times a year, spending upwards of 30 minutes per visit typically focused on wireless issues.
“That retail presence … becomes a great [marketing] outlet for us to do things,” Donovan said.
Specifically, AT&T stores gave away movie tickets to Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and episodic insights to the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Donovan said he was impressed employees at AT&T stores were familiar enough with “Thrones” to share viewing information about the series.
“That drives traffic for us, provides more exposure to the media business, and you start to see these symbiotic relationships,” he said. “They’re getting very familiar with our whole portfolio, and then it just gets to be easier. It doesn’t look like you’re trying to sell or force-fit something.”
While CEO Randall Stephenson’s suggestion that AT&T stores market Warner DVDs might be wishful thinking, Donovan wants to up in-store marketing promotions to increase foot traffic and expand brand awareness.
“Content is a natural draw into the stores,” he said.
Indeed, with much of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight filmed in Chicago, the AT&T Michigan Ave. store has long featured props to Warner superheroes.
Last year, the store featured the Batmobile, which Donovan said contributed to 70,000 “door swings,” up from 40,000 average door swings.
“Do you know what that’s worth to us?” he asked rhetorically. “We’re learning as a company what are these new currencies that you have and how to manage them and execute them. We’re very enthused about what WarnerMedia is going to do for the wireless business, for the TV business and so on.”