Last year we consulted various stakeholders across the media industry on what the future of media currency would look like in 5 years’ time1. You can read our white paper here but to summarise we outlined three possible scenarios for the future:

Technological self-regulation of data, through Blockchain (emphasis on user-ownership of data)
Competitive chaos replacing order, multiple currencies and walled gardens controlled by competing entities (emphasis on proprietary ownership of data)
The rise of the “Super JIC” (Joint Industry Committee) – as centralised guardians of data (emphasis on shared ownership of data through collaboration)

These are not either/or scenarios but rather three inter-related trends that could develop to a greater or lesser extent depending on the conditions within different markets.
One year on, how are these predictions playing out? Are any of them becoming more broadly adopted and are we any clearer in understanding the future of media currency?
1) User ownership (via blockchain)
It’s been hard to escape the industry’s obsession with blockchain over the last 12 months. There has been a lot of talk about using it to simplify the digital supply chain and make ad buying process more transparent and accountable.
There have been quite a few new entrants to the market claiming to do just that, such as TMG’s launch of Truth which provides added-value through its blockchain-based trading desk. On the clientside Unilever partnered with IBM not just to simplify the supply chain, but also tackle the issue of brand safety. And on the platform-side Fenestra was launched earlier this year.
Verdict: Expect many more entrants in the marketplace but we are nowhere near a tipping yet. The industry will need to be convinced of competitive advantage to switch from existing practices and suppliers.
Another potential application of blockchain is enabling consumers to take more control over which advertising they want to be exposed

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