IBM & MediaOcean’s blockchain pilot to combat ‘ad-tech tax’ for major brands

IBM’s digital agency network IBM iX has coupled up with ad-world software provider MediaOcean to pilot a blockchain network, in efforts to clear up the murky media supply chain and hack away at “ad tech tax”.

The network, which is set to trial with media deals for top-flite brands including Unilever, Kimberly-Clark Corp, Pfizer, Kellogg and IBM Watson, is aimed at improving transparency, combating fraud and getting deals done quicker.

Ultimately, though, and with MediaOcean processing as much as $140 billion (£106 billion) for clients per year, it’s aimed at dramatically reducing what has been estimated at up to 60 cents of every ad dollar spent going to ad tech middlemen.

Built on top of MediaOcean’s end-to-end campaign management platform, the blockchain solution will look to provide visibility into the entire lifecycle of an advertiser’s media dollar, recording all stages - from purchase order, to the execution of media and payment - in a “secure, immutable, standardised” format.

In that sense, every party involved has a clear and confident view of who is getting paid for what, to identify what is driving value.

"For over 50 years, Mediaocean has been the system of record for the advertising industry," said Bill Wise, CEO of Mediaocean; “In recent years, however, the industry has been plagued with unsustainable economics and transparency issues that hinder progress – particularly around intermediary fees and non-working media.

“By partnering with IBM, we're able to launch the first advertising blockchain solution that will improve spend transparency - at scale,” Wise added.  

MediaOcean, IBM iX and its current consortium of brands have plans to launch the pilot in July, however, talking to AdAge, Wise believes that by the end of next year, the blockchain network will be a “fully-functional scalable solution” that will be adopted by the majority of the industry.

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