- Comcast Cable Advertising, a Comcast Corp. division, is ramping up Blockgraph, a platform designed to offer a secure and efficient way for TV and media companies to leverage and share user data, according to a news release.
- With the blockchain-enabled software, each TV or media company's data stays in its own systems and the participant continues to manage the privacy of its users. Blockgraph functions as a peer-to-peer platform that enables participants to do blind matches directly with one another so they can offer marketers targeted audiences at scale without disclosing indentifiable user data to third parties.
- Comcast is working with NBCUniversal, also a division of Comcast Corp., to test Blockgraph and plans to incorporate it into its addressable offerings this year. The company is also talking with Viacom and Charter Communications' advertising sales division Spectrum Reach to help refine the initiative and offer audience insights for addressable ads.
As marketing continues to be fueled by data, marketers are looking for solutions to help them use the data to offer more personalization at scale. At the same time, as privacy concerns grow — with third-party data crunchers one area of concern — the advertising ecosystem has hit on blockchain technology as a way to potentially introduce more security.
TV networks are focused on competing with digital platforms in their data capabilities, and Comcast is positioning Blockgraph as a solution for helping media companies activate their user data. Typically, advertisers and media companies send data to a third-party to conduct a match. The third-party sends back "non-identifiable data segments" for targeting or measurement, according to the press release. Blockgraph would allow both advertisers and media companies to perform matches with one another using secure encryption technology, non-identifiable data and blockchain.
The news highlights how marketers and media companies are showing more interest in blockchain as a way to offer more transparency, reduce fraud, boost efficiency in their ad buys, and better compete with the digital duopoly of Facebook and Google. Major ad holding companies are also directing more attention to blockchain in an effort to clean up the digital ad ecosystem. Dentsu Aegis Network's iProspect, along with S4M, Futurs.io, Smart and Monadori MediaConnect recently launched the Adschain Consortium to apply blockchain to address ad fraud in programmatic buying. IPG, Publicis Groupe, Omnicom and GroupM are also partnering on a blockchain working group with AdLedger.
Comcast's push into data-based marketing services comes as ad spend on over-the-top (OTT) TV is expected to jump 40% to $2 billion in 2018, per Magna's U.S. ad forecasts for 2018. Addressable TV spend will reach $800 million, as more than 80% of U.S. households were predicted to be reachable via OTT in 2018.