Blockchain Entertainment May Transform Consumer Patterns and Social Media

Blockchain, Opinion | July 10, 2018 By:

The entertainment industry has long operated on a simple premise – they created the product, and you, the consumer, paid to view, listen or experience the offering. Any profits derived from that activity accrued to the manufacturers, distributors, creators and a long chain of middlemen.

Sometimes the system worked, at least for some on the food chain. Big entertainment companies could reap enormous profits from their hits ,enough to cover many of the losses. True, the artists who created the content often stood last in line when it came time to receive the remuneration from the product, but the system has largely existed since the early 20th century, and became the way that things were done.

Some believed the Internet would disrupt that paradigm. Unfortunately, while distribution to a worldwide audience was enabled, the Internet never quite solved the marketing and publicity problem that most products need to thrive. Worse, from the perspective of big companies, streaming services soon began to eat into profits, pimping the content creators and paying back pennies on the dollar from previous levels.

Now blockchain has arrived, bringing with it a new solution to entertainment. Instead of content creators taking all the profits, an audience can be paid for its attention span and information, which can, in turn, be leveraged and monetized. It’s a concept that technology has enabled, and whether it will work on a large scale has yet to be determined. But there is no shortage of companies betting that this is the path toward a bright new future.

Block Tribune talked with a few companies about how they see this brave new frontier.

Mat Travizano, founder and CEO of Wibson

1)  What effect will this have on existing social media?

ANSWER:  There’s a heightened sense of awareness around consumer managed data concepts, that is only picking up steam in the wake of recent missteps by the major social media companies. As a result we’re seeing more traffic to Wibson’s website and downloads of our consumer managed data app.

How people view and value their time and personal data is changing. These moves to reward viewers won’t just have an effect on social media, they’ll also impact every digital environment where people spend their time. I don’t see the consumers’ interest in being rewarded for their time dissipating anytime soon.

2)  Will the types of content produced be transformed in some way by this shift?

ANSWER: That’s difficult to predict. I’d imagine the best example of what might happen is similar to how BuzzFeed uses listicles to enhance the veracity of print content consumption. We could see a version of this in video, where the most successful and highly viewed content is less intellectual but more broadly appealing, rather than content that’s more narrowly appealing. That’s not entirely different than what you’re seeing right now on cable, versus network TV, etc.

Another way to look at it is through the lens of population and language. As the 2 of the top 3 languages on earth, English and Spanish content will always have a pretty broad audience. But in this model you may see more influence from a Mandarin speaking audience, with their 1.2 billion native speakers.

3)  How will this affect big studio products like the Avengers films?  Will this exist side-by-side, or will those have to address this in some form?

ANSWER: I’d imagine that the major Hollywood studios would be less impacted than shorter-form content, given the appeal of the wide format / theatre experience that people are already accustomed to paying for. Movies aren’t subsidized in the same way as shorter form content, which will always depends a bit more on sharing profits with the viewer.

4)  How soon will the rise of these platforms begin to eat away at the established Facebook and YouTube?  Will they have to adapt or die?

ANSWER: Those platforms are massive and it is hard to imagine them dying at this point, but I think the momentum towards consumer managed data will continue and these companies will adapt, as they already are starting to with GDPR. But I am confident that in the next couple or years, with projects like Wibson and others growing, we’ll be looking at a vastly different value exchange between people and their data and the platforms they use and how they use them.

Mark Weinstein, CEO of MeWe, a next generation social network.

1)  What affect will this have on existing social media?

ANSWER: “The blockchain revolution will ultimately transform social media – including making the business models of major data-focused companies like Facebook obsolete. This is a slow train coming – it may take a good 3-7 years for decentralization and decoupling people from their data to be in full force.”

2)  Will the types of content produced be transformed in some way by this shift?

ANSWER: “The blockchain paradigm shift will touch all types of content – whether produced by an individual for a social media post – all the way to news, books and movies. The transformation of content may be more in the delivery medium (blockchain) and in the transaction medium (cryptocurrency) than in the actual content itself. People will still want the latest news, still want video and movies, and still want to post conversations about their lives.”

3)  How will this affect big studio products like the Avengers films?  Will this exist side-by-side, or will those have to address this in some form

ANSWER: “The fun part in terms of big studio projects and products is that the story lines will now include the human experience of the blockchain world – so for writers this is a great new world for dramatic and comedic ideas. Most likely production costs will come down – but the risk of piracy leapfrogs with potential untraceable pirated versions distributed through the blockchain. As always, all industries will adapt, and some players who don’t will likely become obsolete.”

4)  How soon will the rise of these platforms begin to eat away at the established Facebook and YouTube?  Will they have to adapt or die?

ANSWER: “The first wave is happening but the new platforms to date like Steemit, Minds, and others are very rough with significant flaws – and appeal to a narrow demographic. There is no current risk to established Goliaths. But therein lies the rub. While the Goliaths sleep – or at best try to understand the movement from their deeply colored lenses, the new companies will continue to iterate. There is likely to be a major shift in the way we share and consume content and media. It is too soon to tell who will adapt the best and who will not. This shift will take several years – and will still require the new companies becoming mainstream both in ease of use and accessibility before any Goliaths will be at serious risk.”

Ben Arnon, co-founder/CEO of Color Farm Media:

1)  What affect will this have on existing social media?

ANSWER: Existing social media currently has very strong network effects so I don’t see existing social media yielding entirely to blockchain-based solutions in the near-term. But, when structured correctly, blockchain has the potential to create inventive mechanisms and network efforts that could ultimately become stronger than existing social media models. With the proper token design, a blockchain-based solution could reward users in a tangible way for their attention and could create a true paradigm shift.

2)  Will the types of content produced be transformed in some way by this shift?

ANSWER:  The types of content produced will follow suit by becoming increasingly focused on audience engagement.

3)  How will this affect big studio products like the Avengers films?  Will this exist side-by-side, or will those have to address this in some form

ANSWER: Big studio content will still exist. I don’t envision the blockchain having any huge tangible effect on the content produced by major movie studios anytime in the near future. The blockchain has the potential to bring greater accountability and transparency to major motion picture accounting methods in the future, though this will only happen when a blockchain-based solution finds a way to align long-term incentives with the major film studios.

4)  How soon will the rise of these platforms begin to eat away at the established Facebook and YouTube?  Will they have to adapt or die?

ANSWER: The network effects of Facebook and YouTube are incredibly strong. It will take some time before we see the blockchain credibly impact the enormous reach of these established platforms.