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Comcast unveils blockchain TV audience platform Blockgraph


Comcast Cable Advertising, a division of the world’s second-largest telecommunications company, Comcast, has announced it is now joining with industry partners to “jumpstart” the use of its blockchain platform Blockgraph.

Blockgraph is a peer-to-peer platform that will protect individual’s data while increasing opportunities for media companies and marketers. According to the press release: “Adoption by media companies will create a secure, privacy-optimized “identity layer” for TV audiences on par with the depth and scale of digital media.”

Previously it described Blockgraph as an advertising technology platfrom for planning, targeting and reporting especially for multiple media such as digital, broadcast and streaming.

Comcast will now work with a number of industry partners including Viacom and Spectrum Reach, a division of Charter Communications, and plans to announce additional participants soon.

In 2017, the telecoms giant first revealed its plans for a “Blockchain Insights Platform” which it proposed to develop in collaboration with the likes of NBCUniversal, Disney and other key names in the industry. Blockgraph appears to be the result of this initiative, though Comcast does not confirm if all the previously announced collaborators are still involved.

Blockgraph, says the announcement, through its “identity layer” will provide “a platform on which media companies and publishers can offer marketers best-in-class data capabilities without disclosing identifiable user data to third parties – adding additional protections to user privacy.”

The platform will allow the exchange of “privacy-compliant” audience insights for advertisers and Comcast is looking to extend the reach of the platform across the industry: “Comcast has invested in building the Blockgraph technology, but we do not want this to remain solely a Comcast-led initiative. We are inviting the entire TV industry to participate in Blockgraph so that it becomes a true industry undertaking,” said Marcien Jenckes, President, Comcast Cable Advertising.

“When scaled, non-personably identifiable data becomes available to all, the focus shifts to what a provider is able to do with that data and how it can be used to drive outcomes. We believe that when advanced data capabilities are paired with TV and premium video’s awareness and engagement advantages, results will be difficult to beat.”

The platform has been incubated within Comcast’s FreeWheel group which allows TV and media companies to work with data “at-scale.” The end-goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of data-driven TV-based marketing.

As privacy becomes a growing consumer concern, Comcast says the platform will keep Blockgraph user data within its own systems: “Data is a valuable and sensitive asset for media companies and consumers so understandably, it must be protected,” said Jason Manningham, General Manager, Blockgraph.

“At the same time, data is now the fuel powering media and advertising. The TV community needs to ensure that we can compete with the data capabilities of digital-first companies. We understand that providing a safe way to protect data while benefitting from collective insights is the path forward. And we believe Blockgraph offers that path.”

Using Blockgraph, Comcast will negate the need for centralized third-party data sharing. The new platform will allow participants to share data more directly with each other, data which is secured via encryption and blockchain protocols.

NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, is currently in the testing phase with plans to incorporate Blockgraph into its services in early 2019. Viacom, another early collaborator, looks likely to be a future roll-out for the platform.

Kern Schireson, Executive Vice President and Chief Data Officer for Viacom, confirms its involvement in order to “facilitate the valuable exchange of data insights as a necessary catalyst to scale our collective capabilities.”

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