The blockchain initiative set up by Comcast’s FreeWheel to help advertisers go around third-party tech platforms to develop insights is ready for prime-time.

Blockgraph, which already included Comcast, ViacomCBS and Charter’s Spectrum Reach as partners, is now reconstituting as a joint venture, in which the three groups will take equal ownership. Jason Manningham, who was GM of the project, will become CEO.

Comcast’s announcement of the move also revealed that the group’s NBCUniversal has begun integrating Blockgraph into AdSmart, the pioneering addressable TV platform it got when Comcast acquired Sky.

In forming as a JV, Blockgraph is another example of the collaborative approach that has taken hold in the TV industry over the last year and a half, as broadcasters have realized they need to come together to achieve scale.

Transparency drive

The initiative was launched in 2017. It uses peer-to-peer technology to let marketers, publishers and distributors match audience segments without sharing consumers’ identifiable information and without any technology intermediaries.

The idea of applying blockchain technology to advertising industry problems has been circulating for a few years.

Exponents believe blockchain’s use of an “immutable ledger”, a record of every transaction and event, stored in unison by every node in the network, can give ad buyers deeper insight and more certainty into where parts of their spend are actually going.


At Beet Retreat San Juan 2020, Jason Manningham said: “It is designed to become the “identity layer” for the TV industry, providing a platform on which media companies and publishers can offer marketers data capabilities without disclosing identifiable user data to third parties.

“Today, everyone who wants to match data is required to send that to the trusted third party. That can be very manual and it requires using these third parties who are putting an extra tax on the ecosystem. Blockgraph is a platform approach, so it allows near realtime matching off of data without exposing the underlying raw data sets. ”

“We’ve been quietly amassing a group of distributors across a large footprint of TV viewing homes, as well as inventory partners.”

More on the news reported by the Wall Street Journal.