CANNES — After transparency, back-handers and disintermediation by platforms, next on the list of challenges facing media agencies is blockchain. Or, is it?

blockchain is a public, distributed, anonymised ledger of transactions that is supremely trackable and traceable. It is the technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin – but, in theory, those “transactions” don’t have to be monetary.

Over the last year, businesses of all kinds have explored the potential it offers to record every action and modification in a distributed ledger. But does blockchain pose a threat or an opportunity to media agencies?

“I think if I was still at an agency I would be thrilled and I would jump all over this,” says Carrie Seifer.

Of course, Seifer would say that. She is a VP and chief revenue officer and IBM, the company which offers one of the leading blockchain solutions.

But Seifer, formerly an SVP of digital at MediaVest, isn’t just self-interested, because she doesn’t work specifically on blockchain – instead, she helps run the content and Internet of Things team within IBM Watson, including, so sees herself as an in-house customer of IBM’s own blockchain solution.

“As Weather, as a publisher, we’re very interested in participating because, when you have a brand safe place for brands and you’re willing to be transparent, this will help the money flow back to the publisher as it should,” she tells Beet.TV.

So what could the benefits be?

“Agencies, just like with the TV up fronts, have an incredible advantage in that they are pooling a lot different brands money,” Seifer adds. “They have so much power – but sometimes they don’t have the tools to do what they could do with that power.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for them to pool what they do best, which is buy media in a collective way just like they do with TV up fronts. This is a great, great tool for them if they lean into it.”

IBM used Cannes Lions to announce, with Mediaocean, what they are calling “a blockchain consortium for the digital media supply chain”, with brands like Unilever, and Kimberly Clark and Kellogg.

This video is part of a series produced at Cannes Lions 2018 on the emergence of blockchain in the media ecosystem. This series is presented by Mediaocean. For more videos from the series, visit this page.