Entertainment is broken, can Blockchain save it ?

May 11, 2018 · 22 min read


The TL:DR = Entertainment is broken. Silicon Valley is taking over Hollywood but this has not necessarily resulted in better deals for film and tv producers. With fixed fees, lack of viewing data, and limited merchandising, creators are planning their next shows in the dark with no upside if a title is successful. Enter Blockchain, a decentralized ecosystem that is emerging as an alternative to the streaming oligarchs.

Film and TV is a $240 billion that is shifting from offline and linear modes of consumption to online streaming services and on-demand services. The films and TV we watch are increasingly controlled by the platforms streaming the content, the so-called FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google).

With Silicon Valley moving in, Hollywood has consolidated. Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox combined with BamTech. AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, Comcast with NBC-Universal, everybody is bulking up for a mighty streaming battle.

The key to this battle is exclusive content. In the fight for your eyeballs and subscriptions, each platform is developing original content exclusive to its platform. Deals for producers typically involve fixed fees (as has been widely reported) and notoriously no sharing of viewing data. In a world dominated by exclusive streaming, the question for creators is which platform do you choose? Then depending on your choice, can you still build a big global franchise? Would an independent Lucasfilm have emerged with the next Star Wars in this new world?

In the short term, as long as producers get their project financed and have the creative freedom to realise their vision, betting all their chips on one platform may not matter. However, over the medium to long-term the warning signs are clear: creators of original content may become over-dependent on the new oligarchs of media.

When all our consumption is streaming, the creative freedom that is touted by today’s platforms will cease to be a differentiator, it will be a given. Creative freedom assured, the upside potential of a deal becomes even more important. How do producers enjoy the upside when a title is a hit? How do producers make the most of merchandising? How do producers leverage viewing data to plan their next shows? In short, where do producers pin their hopes and dreams? Many creators are looking to the next wave of technology for answers.

2. Blockchain as an alternative

Blockchain will bring about a paradigm shift in how economics are shared and negotiated in media. The concept of a global peer-to-peer database that cannot be hacked is a fundamental game-changer.

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That moment in Good Will Hunting when Satoshi Nakamoto comes out of nowhere to solve the decades old Byzantines General maths problem and give rise to Blockchain.

While the obvious application of Blockchain is a virtual currency where individuals can transact without a central bank in the middle, the implications are much wider. Any industry where centralised platforms are acting as gatekeepers for data, imposing onerous terms or reducing efficiencies is a candidate for a decentralized system.

We can’t expect this evolution to happen overnight. The UX/UI experience is poor today like the early days of the Internet. The scalability is still not optimal. The building blocks of this new ecosystem are still being developed. However, like the early adopters of the Internet, those filmmakers who educate themselves and embrace the change will be strongly positioned for the future.

3. The impact of Blockchain on Film and TV

In a world dominated by a small number of centralized platforms, Blockchain will give filmmakers more control over their destiny:

(i) Flexible Financing: Filmmakers can finance their projects by selling crypto-tokens to investors and fans in return for a share of net profits. This will reduce the need to lean on money from platforms to greenlight, giving producers better negotiating leverage and a cost-efficient alternative to equity.

(ii) Clear Ownership Records: Producers can make an immutable record on the Blockchain of who collaborated and contributed to a project. Based on their contributions, payments can be structured to be fair, instant and transparent. This will lead to less litigation disputes over time.

(iii) New Revenue Streams: To further monetize and market their project, filmmakers can issue collectible CryptoArt. CryptoArt are unique digital artworks recorded on the blockchain that can be sold and traded by fans like physical goods. Each artwork is stamped with a digital signature of the artist and the owner. Filmmakers can bundle CryptoArt with tickets and downloads or sell individually as a new revenue source.

(iv) Direct Streaming: Filmmakers can stream their content directly to consumers and set up their own channel without any approval required. Thanks to Blockchain cryptography we can ensure there is adequate copy protection. Furthermore, there are opportunities to incentivize viewership in creative ways. For instance, we can compensate fans who share files on the network with a percentage of sales. The more fans stream, the more both fans and creators can earn.

(v) Stronger Community: Perhaps the most powerful opportunity is the chance to redefine the relationship between fans and creators. Programme an economic space that rewards reputation, contribution and expertise. In other words, the most influential fans can have a direct connection with creators like never before and be rewarded.

Much capital is being invested to create this new Blockchain media world. Some have ahem very specific verticals, like porn for Spankchain. Some like Lino and DTube focus on ad-driven Youtube models. Some like Theta, LivePeer and VideoCoin are putting in place the streaming infrastructure.

Here at my company BlockPunk, we are building a new ecosystem for financing, streaming and merchandising. With our 12+ years of collective experience in Japanese media and streaming, we are starting with Anime. Anime fans are global, passionate and technology early adopters. Fans have a burning desire to consume the latest creations and are very receptive to decentralization. In our first project we created the world’s first anime Crypto collectibles to help solve the issue of global merchandise availability at CryptoAnime.net.

4. Conclusion

Our film and tv consumption will soon be controlled by a small number of huge centralized platforms. Blockchain will be a viable alternative for independent producers to finance and monetize their projects. Like the Internet in 1995, this will not happen overnight but the signs are clear. It’s a perfect time for filmmakers and creators to dive into the ecosystem.

Like Will in Good Will Hunting, it’s time to leave the cocoon of South Boston and go explore.

Julian Lai-Hung is a fellow at Entrepreneur First and the Co-founder CEO of BlockPunk — a Blockchain entertainment studio. Julian was global head of anime and director of content for Japan at Netflix. Before that he worked at Warner Bros as VP of International Digital Distribution based in Los Angeles.

This is part 1 of a series of posts on Blockchain and Entertainment:
Part 2: Film and TV Crypto Collectibles.
Part 3. Film Financing and Crypto-Securities.
Part 4. P2P Streaming in the Blockchain world.


  1. Entertainment is broken. エンタテインメントが壊れている

映画・テレビ業は約25兆円の市場規模となっており、従来のテレビ放送やオフライン方法からストリーミング配信への移行により、映画やテレビシリーズの視聴はコンテンツ配信のプラットフォーム、いわゆるFANG企業(Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Googleの略)に益々依存しています。





2. Blockchain as an alternative ブロックチェーンの新しい仕組み


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3. The impact of Blockchain on Film and TV ブロックチェーンの映画やテレビ業界への影響


(1)Flexible Financing 柔軟な資金調達:映画製作会社は、純利益の一部を共有する代わりに仮想通貨を発行することによって、全世界の投資家やファンから必要な資金を集めることが出来ます。これにより、現在の株式市場に比べて効率よく資金調達が出来、より強い交渉力と費用対効果の高い選択肢が得られるでしょう。

(2) Clear Ownership Records 明白な所有権記録:ブロックチェーンのデータベースはインターネットが存在する限り永遠に存在する特別なデータベースです。取引内容、所有権の記録、取引相手の記録も無くなりません。その機能を活かし、映画やテレビ制作に関与する各メンバーの貢献度合に基づき、支払額は公正かつ明白に記録することが出来ます。これにより、著作権の訴訟問題を避ける効果もあります。

(3) New Revenue Streams 新しい収入源:プロジェクトをさらに収益化し市場に出すために、ブロックチェーンによるクリプトアートと言う新しいカテゴリーが生まれました。クリプトアートはブロックチェーンに記録される希少なデジタル作品で、制作者や所有者のデジタル署名が印字されています。物理的なグッズと同じ様に買売が可能です。映画やテレビ・コンテンツの場合、キャラクターデザイン、場面写、3Dモデルなどの様々なコンテンツをアートとして販売出来ます。また、映画製作会社は、新たな収益源として、クリプトアートとチケットやダウンロードのバンダル販売が可能になります。

(4) Direct Streaming ストリーミングの直接配信という新しい形:映画製作会社は、承認の必要なく独自のチャンネルを設定し、コンテンツを視聴者に直接ストリーミングすることが可能です。ブロックチェーンのおかげでコピー防止が保証され、さらに、視聴者にインセンティブを与える機会もあります。例えば、ネットワーク上のファイルを共有するファンに、売上の一部を補償することが出来る等です。ファンがよりデータをストリーミングすればするほど、ファンと制作側の両方が利益を得ることができる画期的な方法です。

(4) Stronger Community: クリエイターとファンの間より強い関係:合わせてもっとも魅力的な予想はクリエイターとファンの間の関係性を強化することです。従来の経済関係を再構築して、コミュニティー内の評判、貢献度、特異性によって新しいインセンティブ作りです。もっとも貢献している人物に直接リワードを与える仕組み。




4. Conclusion 結論



ジュリアンはEntrepreneur FirstのFellowであり、映画製作会社やファンのためのブロックチェーンエコシステムを提供するブロックパンクの共同設立者です。ジュリアンは、Netflix日本にてコンテンツのディレクター及びアニメのグローバル責任者を務めました。その前は、ロサンゼルスに拠点を置くInternational Digital Distribution にてワーナー・ブラザーズのバイス・プレジデントとして勤務しました。


Originally published at medium.com on May 11, 2018.

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