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How Comcast Will Use Blockchain Tech for Targeted Ads

Jeff Baumgartner

Personification vs. personalization
Blockchain technologies are starting to surface in advertising and across the broader media ecosystem as programmers and ad agencies seek out ways to improve data transparency while still keeping data secure, Tim Hanlon, CEO of Vertere Group, a media and advertising consultancy firm, said.

"There's no doubt that programmers and distributors could benefit from increased efficiencies and more automation... for verification of things like transactions and viewer qualification," he said.

Blockgraph, Hanlon added, signals a jointly-recognized effort to get a grip on key issues around consumer data and privacy, essentially establishing a "proactive protective layer" that enables ad targeting and addressability and improving the broader TV experience, but in a data-protected way.

That layer of protection, he adds, will give those partners a way to "personify" their advertising efforts by using enough identification information to provide insight about the audience that doesn't cross the line and breach personal data, rather than implementing a deeper layer of "personalization" that relies on more granulized data that's tied to an individual person. Personalization, Hanlon warns, is "fraught with peril" if data is not fully protected or if there's a perception that it is not being protected.

"Consumers get leery about sharing data with the proposed benefits of personalization," Hanlon said. "Personalization has crept into the world of creepy."

Blockchain technologies, he says, has the potential to establish the right balance for enhanced advertising and achieve some of the important benefits of targeted advertising without going down the slippery slope of using (and possibly exposing) a consumer's personal data.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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