Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS will take on equal ownership of Blockgraph, a software platform designed to create a more secure way to use and share aggregated and anonymized viewer data for advanced television and video advertising. Launched in 2017, Blockgraph was part of the Comcast Advertising company Freewheel. Comcast company NBCUniversal has begun integrating the Blockgraph technology into its AdSmart platform, developed by Sky.
The Blockgraph software platform provides marketers, publishers, and distributors the ability to securely match audience segments in order to enable better ad targeting, measurement, reporting, and more without sharing any identifiable information of viewers, and without the need for other vendors, middlemen or brokers.
Back in June 2017, Comcast announced plans for a platform based on blockchain to be developed in collaboration with NBCUniversal, Disney, Altice USA, Channel 4, Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia and TF1 group.
It is unclear to what extent the original partners remain involved, or indeed whether it uses blockchain technology. It is clear that Comcast recognised the need for a solution with wider adoption than within its own group. It will now go ahead with Charter Communications and ViacomCBS as equal partners.
“When we began to develop Blockgraph several years ago, we knew that the ability to apply data-driven insights to all media, including TV, in a way that protected privacy, was going to be hugely important to the future of our industry. Now, some three years later, that couldn’t be truer, and the alternative that Blockgraph offers could not be more valuable,” said Marcien Jenckes, the president of Comcast Advertising.
Jason Manningham, previously general manager of Blockgraph under FreeWheel, will now lead the new joint venture as chief executive officer. “The value that Blockgraph brings to the industry has never been more important,” he said. “Together with Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS, we have the opportunity to reshape data driven advertising in a way that’s better and more sustainable for brands, publishers, content distributors and above all else — audiences.”
“Bringing better data to television for planning, targeting and measurement represents a huge opportunity for our industry, and above all, for advertisers,” said David Kline of Charter and president of Spectrum Reach. “In order to recognize this opportunity, however, we need to continually and fully ensure that we can use data in a way that protects the privacy of users through technologies that facilitate aggregated and anonymized use of our data. This is an ongoing concern to be addressed collaboratively across the industry, which is why we are so supportive of Blockgraph.”
“Data confidentiality is a necessity for addressable advertising to work at scale. Blockgraph is a platform that will make that easy to implement,” said John Halley, of ViacomCBS. “We are committed to solutions that enable us to better serve our advertising partners. Blockgraph has the right business approach and partnership framework to successfully move the video ecosystem forward.”
Comcast and Charter are the two largest cable television companies in the United States and have a total of 35.45 million video subscribers between them.