i3 - January/February 2018 - 100

Business

By Gary Arlen

C S PAC E

Advertisers Discover
Blockchain

 A 

lthough "blockchain" is often lumped into the "financial
technology" (fintech) or cryptocurrency category,
its capabilities are attracting attention from Madison
Avenue and the digital media ecosystem. Advocates see it as
a tool for better accountability and more reliability in ad sales
and program distribution, starting with over-the-top (OTT) and
streaming media systems. From Comcast and Tegna (formerly
Gannett Broadcasting) to innovative start-ups such as MadHive
and Algebraic Data, blockchain projects are ranging from ad
placement and payment tracking to viewer rewards.
In the media sector, blockchain's decentralized technology
can help resolve the contractual challenges of data sharing,
including digital rights management, conditional access and
privacy. A recent Deloitte study found that nearly 50 percent of
media companies are using or examining blockchain technology.
David Clark (1), Comcast executive vice president and
general manager of its Advanced Advertising Group, recently
says his company's new Blockchain Insights Platform, debuting
this spring, helps advertisers, marketers, producers and networks "access the full breadth of data in a safe, encrypted way,
which is really exciting." Comcast's initial focus will be on
increased efficiency of premium video advertising and secure
exchanges of non-personal audience data for addressable ads.
"The TV industry as a whole will benefit from collaborating
on a common repository of data," Clark says.
Other veteran ad executives share his enthusiasm.
Tim Hanlon (2), founder and CEO of The Vertere Group,
believes blockchain "can resolve issues that bedevil the
media and ad industries." He says, "This whole notion
of programmatic buying has not necessarily been smooth.
Blockchain portends improvements in automation," especially its ability to "squeeze out fraud."
Stacy Huggins (3), co-founder and CMO of two-year
old MadHive, has developed a blockchain ecosystem for advertising, which she calls "a trusted pipeline for data exchange and
collaboration across the ad tech value chain."
She says, "Blockchain technology will play a pivotal role in
solving many of the issues the current supply chain grapples

Blockchain technology will
play a pivotal role in solving
many of the issues the current
supply chain grapples with.
-Stacy Huggins, MadHive
100

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

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2

3

4

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with." It enables media companies to
"maintain ownership and control of
valuable data assets by employing cryptographic keys and using the blockchain
for custody of data." Those processes in
turn support "cross-device attribution
reporting and much faster reconciliation
and payments from advertisers."
Premion, the OTT advertising services
division of Tegna, has plunged into the
OTT ad market, using blockchain in its
tool for local and regional ad campaigns.
Premion uses Tegna's local TV sales force
to insert ads on OTT channels, such as
TBS, Discovery GO and Crackle.
Premion President Jim Wilson (4)
calls blockchain "a solution to address the
opaque supply chain, mounting ad tech
fees and many hours spent reconciling
post-campaign reporting for payments."
Wilson says that Premion uses blockchain
"across the advertising ecosystem -
agencies, marketers and publishers -
to track ad impressions without relying
on one single entity's data."
Tegna and MadHive are also founding
members of the new AdLedger Blockchain
Consortium, which includes advertising and
publishing/programming executives seeking to bring transparency and data security
to the ad tech supply chain "by harnessing
a blockchain backed peer-to-peer network."
Algebraix Data, a mathematics
developer, envisions a blockchain-based
advertising market that will allow individuals to store, manage and monetize their
own data. This project also establishes
a permission-based advertising network
that allows consumers to choose which
ads they see and who gets their data. In
return viewers will be paid via cryptocurrency for watching ads.
Barbara Bellafiore (5), principal
consultant at Bell Communications,
which advises media, e-commerce and
technology clients, says, "Blockchain technology has the potential to transform
media as the internet did two decades ago."
Beyond increased accuracy and immediacy
for tallying users, she believes blockchain
offers what marketers and media companies want most: "better tracking of the
conversion of advertising into sales."
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - January/February 2018

Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover1
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover2
i3 - January/February 2018 - Contents
i3 - January/February 2018 - 2
i3 - January/February 2018 - 3
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i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover3
i3 - January/February 2018 - Cover4
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