Hollywood has taken a battering in the news recently, with allegations of impropriety making the headlines, but the entertainment industry has seen difficult times in the last few years. Could blockchain be the answer to their prayers?
The ubiquity of streaming services, ease of piracy and big studio unwillingness to gamble on risky projects has seen the monotony of sequels roll endlessly in front of our eyeballs in a hope that we will continue to buy tickets. This reluctance to take a risk on something new has spurned the industry into a crisis of creativity, where the makers of entertainment struggle to make a worthy living and an impact on the studio execs.
Amorette Jones, founder and CEO of Pivotal Entertainment has seen the sharp rise and inevitable fall in the entertainment industries ability to adapt to change to the ever-moving technology industry.
Jones was a large part of the success seen by indie-horror flick, Blair Witch Project, the driving force behind the restricted marketing budget of $160,000 which spawned the beginnings of viral marketing.
Using the money to set up a website and print a few flyers, Jones and her team created an entire history and false aura to the film, manufacturing a ‘real-life’ documentary feel to the hand-held-shaky-cam movie. Pre-internet, the power of word-of-mouth whipped up a frenzy over the terror that the film centres on, scaring audiences across the globe through the simple idea that this psuedo-documentary might be real.
A far depart from the low-tech techniques of 1999, Jones expects the power of blockchain to significantly impact the way movies are made, marketed and distributed in 2017.
Jones says, “The movie industry is slow and stale. Studio execs are less willing to take risks on new films, which explains why we have seen so many sequels and remakes over the last decade. This is putting a squeeze on creatives who are not already established as the entry price is way higher than they can afford.”
While nostalgia appears to be in vogue for many content creators, Jones explains that this resistance to change from Hollywood makes it harder and harder for creators to put their stories out there as they are seen as simply too risky.
The vanishing creator
To put it into context, the US minimum wage currently sits at $1,160, the wage of a full time fast-food worker.
Say, a musician creates a few new tracks they really like and they think it could sell.
Just to make the US national minimum wage, that artist must:
Sell 143 hard-copy CDs
Collect 1,229 individual downloads on iTunes
Sell 3,871 retail albums
Accrue 12,399 track downloads on iTunes
Or secure 4,053,110 Spotify plays per month.
Creators are locked out of distributing content because the effort expended simply outweighs the potential returns. Part of this is down to what Amorette calls The Frightful Five: Windows, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Matej Michalko, founder and president of DECENT, sees blockchain as a disruptor to the status quo.
Michalko says, “Many potential content creators are not aware of the middle man. If you are an e-book writer, you write something unique and special and look to sell it through Amazon. You go through the process of being approved to finally get on their site. The price may be set at £10 and happily, you are successful and sell 1000 books in a week. The pitfall is, Amazon will take 40-60 per cent of your revenue just for the distribution.
“We think we can cut this cost and, with the efficiency and direct communication that blockchain offers, we can deliver faster and better results to the creator and connect them with their customer.”
Jones adds, “Hollywood is an ageing and unfair system that garners dependency. What blockchain offers is non-dependency’. The transparent communication is the best way to give the studio execs more security, less risk and ultimately a fairer and more satisfying platform for creators to innovate and create.
“Encouraging fans to create a community and engage with the creators and studios on a more personal level can help revitalise this industry. Fans can be an active part of the creation process, enhancing customer experience and ultimately replacing the ‘pre-sales’ model we are working on. This allows more projects to get off the ground and studios will become the new masters of crowdfunding as they can tailor their projects based on the feedback of these fan communities. It really is a win-win situation for us marketers!”