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Comcast's New Initiative Taps Blockchain For TV Ad Data Security

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CANNES -- Could the technology behind Bitcoin be used to power digital advertising data, not just a digital currency?

This week at Cannes Lions, the festival of advertising more used to debating and showcasing the creative side of advertising, technology and ad execs alike have been discussing the potential application of blockchain in the ad world.

But "potential" may already be an out-of-date description - because Comcast used Cannes to announce what must be one of the world's first blockchain deployments geared toward improving the distribution of ad targeting data.

Blockchain Insights Platform, as Comcast calls it, will be a new and improved advertising approach developed in collaboration with Comcast's own NBCUniversal, as well as Disney (USA), Channel 4 (UK), Altice (USA), Cox Communications (USA), Mediaset (Italy) and TF1 (France).

Specifically, the platform will help advertisers use aggregated data sets, including their own, to derive insights for ad planning and buying, without having to give away their own precious customer data to traditional data warehouses.

The program comes out of Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, which was introduced this week and includes its Strata, FreeWheel, and Visible World companies, and a full launch is expected in 2018.

"We could use blockchain to create a way for anybody with data to query other pools of data without having to pool it," says Comcast advertising president Marcien Jenckes in this video interview with Beet.TV.

"When things run through some central clearinghouse and you want to have it be more peer-to-peer, blockchain comes in very handy. Data in advertising is a great application for it, too."

The current line-up of broadcast partners is just the start. "Many others, we will be announcing soon," Jenckes adds.

For the uninitiated, a blockchain is a public, distributed, anonymized ledger of transactions that is supremely trackable and traceable. It is the technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin, but, in theory, those “transactions” don’t have to be monetary.

Across several industries, speculation is growing that blockchain technology could be applied to more than just currencies or transactions to bring efficiencies, privacy and security.

This video is from The New TV Ecosystem Forum at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by FreeWheel. For more from the series, please visit this page.

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