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Q&A: Fenestra, bringing financial transparency to programmatic advertising using blockchain technology

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Fenestra was launched in early 2018 and has emerged as the UK leader in cross-platform programmatic supply-chain verification, and resultant supply-path optimisation, using blockchain. The company also recently made news by partnering with the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) to deliver financial transparency in the sell side supply-chain. WNIP caught up with Ashley Mackenzie, Fenestra’s Founder & CEO, to find out more…

Can you give us further background about Fenestra?

Fenestra’s mission is to build trust and, therefore, better performance for all in the media buying industry. Headquartered in London, the company is supported by a global group of industry advisors, whilst the business has been founded by entrepreneurial alumni from WPP, The Wireless Group Plc, Carat, MPG, Infectious Media, Telemetry, Base79, Ad.com and Adloox.

What business problem is your company addressing?

Quality publishers take principal risk in our industry by building quality audiences in advance of receiving the revenue they generate. This substantial risk is compounded by friction in the supply-chain – between themselves and their advertisers – that can easily eat 70 cents + of every $1 revenue before it reaches the publisher. By increasing transparency (in fees, discrepancies and intermediating participants) and delivering cross-platform supply-path analysis built on these insights, quality publishers can increase Working Media conversions by 35-75%.

How did we get here? First, the challenge for publishers is that most have solely focused on one number – net revenue delivered to them at the end of the month – rather than the most optimal path to receive their revenue. As programmatic is set to grow exponentially, this issue will penetrate 90% of their core revenue streams. Further, the move to First Price auction mechanics means publishers cannot rely on the exchange itself to normalise their yield and consequently must place an increasing emphasis on yield and price management.

What is your core product addressing this problem?

Fenestra for Publishers (FFP) is our platform and accompanying dashboard, built on HyperLedger Fabric, married with data connectors to leading programmatic suppliers, that provides publishers with the ability to contemporaneously verify and optimise financial transactions within their programmatic supply-chain. Marrying these insights with Fenestra for Advertisers (FFA) data provides a granular, full-chain view from advertiser to publisher in near real-time. Early studies are revealing a 35-75% increase in Working Media conversion using FFP optimisation tool-set.

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

FFA launched in Q1’19 and is regularly revealing 25-50% increases in performance for advertisers and their agencies in Europe, Asia and Africa. We are rolling out FFP now, in partnership with AOP in the UK, and leading publishers like Future, Immediate Media, 1XL and more. The initial phase of FFP’s deployment will be published in partnership with the AOP later this year.

Pricing?

Fenestra partners with clients in a number of commercial structures, however, our philosophical guides are alignment of interests and our price must be proportionate to value-add.

What are other people doing in the space and why?

There’s a lot of exciting start-up activity around the application of blockchain technology to media-buying. There are broadly 2 philosophical schools of thought in blockchain (i) Public blockchains (e.g. Ethereum) vs. (ii) Private, Permissioned blockchain technologies. The former benefits from broad distribution but is, by definition, tokenised. The latter can initially be more centralised and, therefore, can deliver performance advantages in speed, security and configurability.

Fenestra’s selected blockchain technology, HyperLedger Fabric (a Private/Permissioned technology), is almost universally recognised as the most appropriate current technology to solve complex supply-chain challenges for enterprises. Championed by IBM, it is also being using by MediaOcean, and is the first blockchain to be supported out-of-the-box by AWS.

How do you view the future?

The old Russian proverb, ironically appropriated by Ronald Reagan during US:Russian de-nuclearisation talks, sums it up well – “trust, but verify”. Fenestra’s partners have greater trust in each other and enjoy substantial performance increases as a consequence. The emergence of omni-channel programmatic trading is inevitable as all inventory units become addressable. Fenestra will be the guide for our partners to deliver trust and resultant cross-platform performance optimisation on any programmatically traded platform, globally.

Thanks.

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