Could blockchain technology, with its security and transparency, cure the ills of an often-murky digital media ecosystem? GroupM’s Rob Norman believes the attributes of blockchain will be a focus of the upcoming DMEXCO advertising and media trade show because of “an inevitable demand” from advertisers and agencies for some type of open ledger system for data.

“I’ve never really come across anything in my career that has caused as much disturbance as the concern of advertisers about the money flows and the validity of the traffic they are buying,” GroupM’s Chief Digital Officer says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Blockchain, which is the underlying technology of the digital currency Bitcoin, refers to an open, real-time database or ledger that maintains a continuously growing list of data or transaction records. When a new transaction happens, it is instantly pushed to all participants in the distributed network.

At this year’s Cannes Lions festival, Comcast unveiled its Blockchain Insights Platform, developed in collaboration with NBCUniversal, Disney (USA), Channel 4 (UK), Altice (USA), Cox Communications (USA), Mediaset (Italy) and TF1 (France). The platform is designed to help advertisers use aggregated insights from data sets, including their own, for ad planning and buying, without having to give away their own precious customer data to traditional data warehouses.

Entities as varied as GroupM, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Nasdaq are already experimenting with blockchain systems, as ADWEEK reports.

“I think the word blockchain is going to come up at DMEXCO and it’s not that we’re suddenly going to move to a blockchain trading system,” says Norman. However, it’s clear that “the industry needs to move to some kind of secure, permanent and transparent ledger to record what’s occurred in the processes that we’re involved in.”

This will become “an inevitable demand from advertisers and from agencies and all of the people in the ad tech business are going to have to get their heads around that.”

DMEXCO 2017 will take place on Sept. 13 and 14 in Cologne, Germany.

This video was produced as part of Beet.TV leadership series from DMEXCO, presented by NBCUniversal.  For more videos from the series, please visit this page.