When it comes to movies, high finance doesn’t usually perform as well as the high seas. While the Pirates of the Caribbean flounced around the Bermuda Triangle and made over $4.5bn at the box office, Michael Douglas’ Wall Street made a piddling $43.9M back in 1987 (that’s $97M when adjusted for the inflation). To be fair, the Wolf of Wall Street / Chicken of Crypto made a more substantial $392M – but Jordan Belfort’s share is likely to be seized and redistributed.
Now some new developments in the movie industry might help bring cryptocurrency to the masses, perhaps with the same dramatic impact that Leonardo has brought to his audiences. Token offerings, similar to ICOs, are being touted as a way to provide a viable alternative to centralized movie studios, allowing artists and directors to find backing directly from the public.
Due to the high budget constraints of the movie industry, Hollywood is currently dominated by six major studios—which might explain why cinemas have been invaded by superheroes and endless remakes.
Cryptocurrency could revolutionize movies by putting financing decisions in the hands of the public. While major houses like Sony and Miramax are notionally owned by their stockholders, studio operations are far from transparent. Individual stockholders exercise little knowledge, much less control, over their operations.
Crypto Briefing has previously reported on No Postage Necessary, an indie film paid for and distributed on the Qtum blockchain. But that wasn’t the only movie with a crypto debut; Braid, a psychological horror film, reached to the Tribeca Film Festival with a $1.4 mln token sale—allowing producer Mitzi Peirone to realize her vision without compromising with studio executives. “Thank God we did,” she told CNET.
Although Braid was intended as a one-off, other companies are already developing plans to decentralize the entire industry for the long-term. That seems to be the motivation behind Crowded Cloud, a new company which purports to be under the control of its token hodlers. Much like a DAO, the token-based decentralized studio allows that “everyone from producers to investors to art directors will be able to vote, fund, produce, and profit,” from the studio’s films, according to a profile in BlockTribune.
Other startups are also waving to the cameras. MovieCoin, a Vancouver-based fintech company, announced the beginning of its token sale earlier this week. In a press release, MovieCoin organizers predicted that the company’s security and utility tokens could become the “standard currency” for financing new films.
Although “MovieCoin” might not sound like the bluest chip among initial coin offerings, the number of projects seeking to add token crowdfunding to the movie model may be a sign that change is in the air.
Netflix on the blockchain?
Web TV might be next in line for decentralization, thanks to several blockchain services seeking to disrupt subscription services. These include AlphaNetworks and SingularDTV, a decentralized entertainment platform on the Ethereum blockchain. Using funds from the token sale, Singular DTV will acquire rights to film and TV properties which will be distributed online or through TV Bridge portals. The company is currently producing a TV show and several documentaries.
“The media business is driven by hunches and analog data systems,” AlphaNetworks explains on its website. Earlier this summer, AlphaNetworks announced the launch of an AI powered platform combining cable, and on-demand video services with a blockchain-based incentive system. All programming performance and viewing figures are recorded on a transparent ledger, allowing all participants to verify a fair distribution of resources.
AlphaNetworks recently closed $10 million of funding to develop a blockchain-secured entertainment system.
“It’s fashionable to talk about how much the media business is being disrupted—as if this was something new.” said CEO Seth Shapiro, in a statement. “The truth is the media business has always been disrupted by new technology— from broadcast to cable, and cable to broadband….The next era of media will be defined by forces like blockchain and distributed ledger technology…..”
Decentralized television and movies is still a new story, and likely to include plenty of surprises and twists along the way. But some crypto investors are already eager to see the ending.
The author is invested in Bitcoin and Ethereum.