The Blockchain Insights Platform marks the latest effort to form a blockchain-based
consortium, this time in the world of media and advertising.
Comcast initiated the
partnership, which includes some of the world’s leading media companies,
including NBCUniversal, Disney, Altice USA, Channel 4, Cox Communications,
Mediaset Italia and TFI Group. This partnership is set to develop a blockchain-based
platform for ad buying for broadcast and streaming television.
The main goal of
the platform is to connect the databases of its members, enabling transparent
and efficient access to this data without the necessity of any single
intermediary. Based on their vast range of shared information, members will be
able to better assess where to buy and direct their advertising campaigns.
But building an
industry network around blockchains is no simple or straightforward process. Regardless
of how promising it sounds, Comcast still has a long way to go before it can
actually prove the platform will work seamlessly. After all, blockchain
technology still constitutes a relatively unknown territory for many. There is
also the fact that working openly with a group of partners, many of whom can be
thought of as competitors, can be a challenge for media industry leaders. Tech and
pharma companies have a long tradition of working with open innovation, while financial
organizations typically struggle to do so. Telecom and media players may find
themselves somewhere in the middle.
Insights Platform is not expected to be released until 2018, so there is still time
left to work through complications and assess its progress.
If the Blockchain
Insights Platform partnership is successful, the use of programmatic marketing in
media could become much more widespread, particularly on television. With the data
supplied by the participating media partners, the blockchain platform would
secure safe data exchange and simultaneously reduce the risk of fraud.
However, the use
cases for the platform are yet to be determined. While the consortium will
certainly involve data sharing, it could encompass ad buying as well. One of
the most attractive traits of blockchain technology is its capability to enable
and execute smart contracts without intermediaries. Programmatic media buying
could thus become more transparent and could rid itself of intermediaries. Advertisers
would be able to buy ads based on highly specific consumer data, allowing them
to target audiences easily and with precision.
There is, as
always, a catch. Currently, advertisers purchase ads in real time through
automated processes. Although blockchains offer many advantages over traditional
technologies, their computing power is still largely insufficient to continue
this practice. Because a blockchain is decentralized, it takes time for
transactions to be verified. While not exactly slow, this process is not fast
enough to allow for ad transactions in real time. The media industry should nevertheless
be optimistic that this could change with wider adoption of blockchains and subsequent
increases in computing power.
technology is still in its infancy, particularly in the advertising sector, it
would be unreasonable to expect revolutionary changes anytime soon. But the
technology is on the rise, and the adaptation of it in banking, insurance,
pharma and supply chain management only proves that there will likely be more
of it in the future. It is certainly positive that the advertising sector is advancing
and focusing on innovation. With initiatives like the Blockchain Insights
Platform, media giants may actually discover new revenue streams. Even more
interestingly, they could steer advertising and marketing in entirely new directions.