AT&T Eyes Retail Stores for Movie, TV Show Marketing

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.

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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.”



Amazon Looking to Dramatically Up Retail Presence

Amazon may have a legacy antithetical to brick-and-mortar business, but its recent strategies appear to be embracing old-school retail.

The e-commerce behemoth, which currently operates about 20 branded retail bookstores, last year acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. It has reduced its list of cities for a second headquarter down to 20.

Earlier this month, it placed an order for 20,000 Sprinter vans manufactured by Mercedes Benz. The order overnight made Amazon the largest global Benz client for Sprinter vans.

Scuttlebutt suggests Amazon will use the vans to help deliver medium-to-small-size packages – in effect becoming one of the largest package delivery services rivaling UPS, Fed-Ex and the U.S. Postal Service.

The vans will be built in large part in a new $500 million manufacturing facility Benz just opened in South Carolina.

Then today (Sept. 19), citing sources familiar with the project, Bloombergreported Amazon is looking to open 3,000 cashier-less convenience stores across the country by 2021 – becoming in the process one of the nation’s largest retailers.

The stores would be part of AmazonGo, a cashier-free store concept first launched in Seattle and Chicago in 2016. The stores would sell to-go food, sandwiches and small grocery items.

With Amazon reportedly spending $1 million to launch the Go store in Seattle, location – more than technology – will become key to the stores’ success, according to Jeff Leonard, VP of National Association of Convenience Stores.

“AmazonGo already has no lines,” Lenard told Bloomberg. “The key to success will be convenient locations. If it’s a quarter mile from where people are walking and biking, the novelty of the technology won’t matter. It’s too far away.”