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Q&A: Addressable advertising and audience expectations

In this interview, Altice executive Paul Haddad talks about what he thinks the future of addressable advertising has in store and where a4 fits in.

5 min read


Addressable advertising and audience expectations


This post is sponsored by Altice a4.

In 2012, Paul Haddad was on the brink of his journey into addressable consumer data – one that started in his role as senior vice president and general manager of advanced data analytics at Cablevision and one that continues today as president at Altice, whose a4 division simplifies data collection and analysis for better audience targeting.

SmartBrief sat down with Haddad to talk about what he has learned in the six years since embarking on this journey, which has evolved to focus on advertising that engages consumers wherever they are and making it easier for brands to engage based on pinpointed data. These are his thoughts on the future of addressable advertising and how a4 will lead the charge:

Why was a4 created – what was the thought process behind it and why was it necessary to develop the technology that a4 provides?


Our goal at a4 was to bring data, automation and simplicity to the market to make the media business a more pleasant and effective one.

What does “a4” stand for?

The “a” stands for audience and the number “4” stands for the four dimensions of that audience – the who, the what, the where and the when.

Brands need to find the “who” of the audience and then understand that audience’s mix of media consumption. It’s also vital to know where they consume (are they in or out of home) and when they consume it – is it during a morning commute or when relaxing at night? Do they consume at work or at home?

If you have all this info, you can effectively target the right ads to the right audience. These specifics also help to eliminate the risk of annoying your target. You don’t want to serve an ad for dentures to a millennial.

What industry gaps does a4 fill?

We are making advertising a two-way street instead of a runway. We are serving relevant ads based on data. The right message to the right target means you are more likely to intelligently and accurately engage customers.

We are also bringing automation and simplicity to a business that has been bogged down in complexities. We accept and welcome automation and technology into other facets of our life but the media planning process remains a very traditional, analogue one. We’re changing that.

What is on the horizon of consumer expectations for advertising? Why is it important to keep ahead of the trends and forge a unique path?

When I define consumers, I define them as advertisers. Advertising has grown way outside the traditional boundaries of TV, radio and print. There are now so many flavors, from linear to addressable to optimized and digital, and even mobile. There are so many varieties of advertising and both advertisers and consumers are expecting simplicity and intelligence. When advertisers spend a dollar, they want to know what it’s doing. They need to see results and want to know the return on investment. They want speed. They cannot afford to wait a week to get results or to get to market.

Advertisers need what travelers needed when they moved on from travel agents. Now, anyone can go online and buy an airline ticket or book a hotel. Advertising should not be more complicated than booking a trip when we have so much technology available to us.

Access can now happen within minutes, so why can’t advertising be just as simple and effective? The same people who are buying homes, cars and stocks online are still building ad plans in the same old way. You must leverage all the available technology to thrive. At a4, we plan to keep building excellent products so we can put the power back in the hands of the advertisers.

Sum a4 up in one word.


Paul Haddad founded a4 and he is the visionary and leading strategist behind its multiscreen advertising business unit. He led the spree of acquisitions including Audience Partners, Teads and Placemedia, as well as the merger with AMS Local Advertising unit to form today’s a4.

Paul joined Altice in 2016 as the global chief data officer for the group where he led the creation and monetization of a world-class data analytics practice across all of Altice Telecom and Media subsidiaries.

Previously, Paul was senior vice president and general manager of advanced data analytics for Cablevision Media Sales. He founded and led the company’s cutting-edge data business, which leverages Cablevision’s census-level audience data comprised of de-identified set-top box data from millions of households in the New York DMA.

Prior to joining Cablevision, Paul served as senior vice president and general manager of Concurrent’s global “Media Data and Advertising Solutions” business. He also held an expanded responsibility as General Manager of Concurrent’s combined video and data businesses in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of Solusia Technologies, a leading information management software provider focused on the wireless industry. Before this, he spent nine years at Nortel in various leadership roles ranging from optical networks systems engineering, product management and general management of the bandwidth trading and wireless backhaul divisions.

Paul holds patents in advanced data and information management systems, as well as bandwidth exchange technologies. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Concordia University (Montreal) and is fluent in five languages.