Blockchain technology may play a role in even more traditional industries, such as TV advertising, following an announcement by Comcast that they are developing a new technology solution called the “Blockchain Insights Platform.”
The initiative, spearheaded by Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, aims to match advertisers with TV slot providers without sharing each other’s data by using blockchain technology which does not require a central register, so being decentralized while also providing encryption and enhanced privacy methods.
“The way advertisers use insights to plan, buy and deliver advertising is limited,” said Marcien Jenckes, President, Advertising, Comcast Cable. “This new technological approach would make data-driven video advertising more efficient and consumer data more secure.
We’ll work with the participants in this initiative to improve ad planning, addressable targeting, execution and measurement, to ultimately create even more value for the television advertising industry,” Jenckes stated in a press release.
This inefficiency is caused by media providers being unwilling to hand over their data to provide an answer, Jenckes said, but with blockchain technology you do not need to hand over the data as you do not require “some giant central system of record,” Jenckes continued.
So advertisers could ask media providers what content would provide the greatest return and receive an answer in a trustable manner as with blockchain technology you can trust a transaction “without having to trust the counterparty or the other people involved,” Jenckes stated.
Details, however, are very sparse. We tried to get some answers without much success, not least because the project does not even have a website, with it to apparently be launched sometime next year.
It is not clear what blockchain this is based on, nor how exactly can we trust the data inputs without actually seeing them, nor how the blockchain could provide such complex algorithmic answers as what content would yield greatest return.
Perhaps answers will eventually be made public as the project, not even yet launched, develops further from what currently appears to be a very conceptual, whiteboard, back of the napkin, stage.
That’s because blockchains do not automatically create trustable inputs, unless it is the code itself which would create such input, but then you have to trust the code which would be difficult if you can’t see it.
Disney could link their data to an algorithm and provide a feed, linking the feed to the blockchain, but then you have to trust the feed as that could contain any data whatever.
So, conceptually, the project appears to have some weaknesses based on the very limited information provided so far, but Comcast could surprise us, not least because it does sound interesting.
The lack of a requirement for a central registry does have benefits, but only if supplemented by trusted auditors of the data who can vouch for their veracity, as otherwise, the entered data can be anything.
Because while blockchains can do many things, they do not really like interfacing with humans. That is, where human input is required, blockchains provide no verification of the input itself. A human needs to.
This same problem applies to identity. Blockchain is great at storing it and preventing any modification, but it can say nothing on whether the entered identity is in any way correct. Humans, auditors, are needed there.
However, experimentation, trial and error, brings new insight and new knowledge. So it will be interesting to see how this project develops in the coming months and years.