Mindshare, the global media agency, recently signed an important partnership agreement with Zilliqa, the Singapore-based Blockchain technology company, to begin testing Blockchain solutions for fake news, data security and a potential industry-wide token system for validation.
Mindshare is a massive company with 7,000 employees and $31 bln in revenue, and their involvement with Blockchain technology will make huge waves in the coming months and years. Cointelegraph sat down for an exclusive interview with Gowthaman Ragothaman, the Chief Strategy Officer of FAST at Mindshare to understand more about their growing Blockchain interest.
Cointelegraph: Tell us a little bit about the direction Mindshare is moving in relation to technology adoption?
Mindshare: Within the Advertising Industry, media planning and buying, as a function/discipline has always remained heavily invested in the technology. From the beginning, we needed software programming to optimise media vehicles to using sophisticated analytics tools to link ad sales to business results through statistical modelling.
And Mindshare has always remained in the forefront of this [for] two decades. The rising share of digital investments ... on the back of rising programmatic distribution of content to consumers is a big tipping point for technology adoption. Over the past 2-3 years, AdTech and MarTech as an ecosystem has exploded with various sub-industries from DMPs, DSPs, Verification, Visualisation to Saas and now Paas.
CT: How do you see technology changing the media and marketing landscape?
MS: At this point of time, we believe there are too many layers and specialisms that are driving confusion rather than clarity and ease of operations for the media and the marketing landscape. However, in the long term, we equally strongly believe that this industry cannot organise itself better, without technology. And at the heart of it is data. We believe technology should help the ecosystem see more value out of data; more sense out of data and critically, to cut the cacophony to orchestrate it well.
CT: What specific applications do you see Blockchain technology having for Mindshare?
MS: While the media and the marketing industry is still grappling as to how to get data and use it well, we believe this is where Blockchain can help resolve some of the existing tensions in the ecosystem. First of all, there is lack of trust within the ecosystem as the stakeholders are zealously guarding their own information (for all the right reasons) of what we call 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data sets.
While we are still living with this nomenclature, what is 1st party data to one member is 3rd party to somebody else and so on and so forth. We believe Blockchain technology can neutralise this nomenclature and assemble all the data sets into one common “ledger” which can be protected for privacy and anonymity through a “distribution” and with a “hash” that can be used as a chain to connect all of them.
This will help the industry immensely in two ways. One is to provide better context in which advertising is appearing online and another is to help understand the consumer in his journey to the actual sale. It is important to note that today Google and Facebook, which constitute nearly 80% of digital ad spends, do not share their data beyond their own universe (we call this a “walled garden”).
We hope Blockchain can help in getting the data out of their garden without compromising anything, because, in our business, what we really want to know and understand is the “online behaviour” and NOT ‘individual identities.”
CT: What are your thoughts on the future of cryptocurrencies generally?
MS: We believe there is immense potential in the construct of a distributed ledger which is maintained by an open sourced community with a native token. This is what excites us and believe that society in general requires such a construct. At a very philosophical level, this is the representation of true democracy.
However the success or the failure of cryptocurrency is very largely dependent on the governance of the same. In an attempt to provide scale and speed we are now moving towards federated nodes which then helps expand to unlimited number of auditing nodes. This essentially means that we are making some choices in between and these choices can either build trust on this currency or make people lose faith in it. The Blockchain industry needs to come forward to demystify some of the existing beliefs and help create more awareness for this.