IBM iX is partnering with software provider Mediaocean to launch a blockchain platform (blockchain being the financial-tech sector that keeps track of cryptocurrency transactions) to provide media agencies and brands with what the partners assert is a more transparent way to track specific ad spend.
"We are fixing the broken supply chain," Bill Wise, CEO, Mediaocean, claimed at Cannes. "We are taking the private public."
The partnership is using a co-sourcing Blockchain approach that enables specific companies or people to access specific databases with permission.
“Measurement and transparency require new solutions across the programmatic supply chain and blockchain is a technology strategically used to create an environment of trust," says Babs Rangaiah, executive partner, Global Marketing, IBM iX.
She said the sector is creating new ways of doing business across industries, “particularly where greater trust and transparency is required.”
Under IBM iX's platform, ledgers track every dollar spent on ad campaigns across all media channels. It will tackle supply chain opacity, including middleman involvement, which makes it difficult for advertisers and agencies to identify exactly how much spend is going toward "working media."
Mediaocean research cites that a typical $10,000 campaign involves more than 12 different vendors with only 40 cents of each dollar spent going to the end customer or publisher.
“We expect blockchain to be able to provide a single source of truth to any given media buy, eliminating the doubt and uncertainty that is common today,” says Rangaiah.
The two companies claim this platform isn't designed to cut out media buyers, per se, only that it streamlines a system rife with trust issues.
The pilot phase launched with Unilever (Rangaiah previously worked at the conglomerate) built on the foundation of MediaOcean's massive database that processes more than $140 billion worth of transactions. IBM iX first explored developing this system internally before looking into ad tech players and even with a holding company before landing on Mediaocean which works with everyone and has the transactional data to prove it.
The second-larger phase launches in July through the end of the year with brands including Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer and Unilever. "They are all in different categories, so there is no conflict of interest," says Wise, adding Mediaocean and IBM ix are currently reaching out to the top 15 brands across a variety of verticals, with auto and financial brands high on their wish list.