Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS announce Blockgraph partnership

Friday, May 29th, 2020
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New Joint Venture Focuses on Helping Marketers Use Audience Insights for Advanced TV and Premium Video Advertising

  • Blockgraph platform allows users to provide deidentified insights to advertisers for media planning and measurement, while securely facilitating addressable targeting.

NEW YORK — Today, Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) and ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) announced that they have entered into an agreement to take equal ownership of Blockgraph, an industry initiative and software platform designed to create a more secure way to use aggregated and anonymized data and share information. This joint venture is focused on ushering in a new way of using audience data for advanced TV and premium video advertising. Using Blockgraph technology, media companies can help marketers form insights across their collective platforms without relying exclusively on third parties.

Blockgraph was first launched in 2017 and incubated to date within Comcast Advertising’s technology unit, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company. The vision since its inception was to become a collaborative industry solution, with Charter and ViacomCBS as early supporters.

“When we began to develop Blockgraph several years ago, we knew that the ability to apply data-driven insights to all media, including TV, in a way that protected privacy, was going to be hugely important to the future of our industry. Now, some three years later, that couldn’t be truer, and the alternative that Blockgraph offers could not be more valuable,” said Marcien Jenckes, President, Comcast Advertising. “We are thrilled to partner with ViacomCBS and Charter as we continue to roll out Blockgraph and look forward to working with new partners and customers in the months ahead as platform adoption grows.”

Jason Manningham, previously general manager of Blockgraph under FreeWheel, will now lead the new joint venture as chief executive officer.

Said Manningham: “The value that Blockgraph brings to the industry has never been more important. Together with Comcast, Charter and ViacomCBS, we have the opportunity to reshape data driven advertising in a way that’s better and more sustainable for brands, publishers, content distributors and above all else – audiences.”

He added that Blockgraph’s joint venture comes at an important inflection point for the industry. Marketers today are looking for new ways to maximize advertising investments and measure results across screens. Publishers and distributors, meanwhile, are looking for ways to differentiate their content and media through data. “Data connectivity, control and secure enablement are at the center of it all, and that’s what Blockgraph provides,” he added.

“Bringing better data to television for planning, targeting and measurement represents a huge opportunity for our industry, and above all, for advertisers,” said David Kline, Executive Vice President, Charter and President, Spectrum Reach. “In order to recognize this opportunity, however, we need to continually and fully ensure that we can use data in a way that protects the privacy of users through technologies that facilitate aggregated and anonymized use of our data. This is an ongoing concern to be addressed collaboratively across the industry, which is why we are so supportive of Blockgraph.”

“Data confidentiality is a necessity for addressable advertising to work at scale. Blockgraph is a platform that will make that easy to implement,” said John Halley, Chief Operating Officer, Advertising Revenue, and Executive Vice President, Advanced Marketing Solutions, ViacomCBS. “We are committed to solutions that enable us to better serve our advertising partners. Blockgraph has the right business approach and partnership framework to successfully move the video ecosystem forward.”

Chief among early adopters of the Blockgraph technology has been Comcast’s NBCUniversal, as they have begun efforts to integrate Blockgraph into their AdSmart platform.