White Rabbit: A Responsible Rebel is Going to Change Digital Streaming
I am happy to officially announce the launch of our next venture: White Rabbit. Yet, it´s not just another a start-up. It´s not only a handful of colleagues I am proud to work alongside. It´s even more than friends and partners who believe in us. Why? It´s because they believe the same as we do: White Rabbit is no less than a revolution in the digital distribution of films and series.
A revolution requires rebels. And rebels we are. But we will be responsible rebels. There are lives on the line here; families, jobs, art, entertainment, love, passion, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. And a whole lot of fun to be had. However, ripping up the blueprint requires a thorough plan. White Rabbit places the people behind art and entertainment front and center, alongside their fans. With White Rabbit, I believe we can take care of everyone.
Current state of affairs
I´ll get into White Rabbit in a moment, let´s first talk about the status quo of streaming. Netflix, HBO, and Amazon have completely changed the way we consume content. Netflix especially has been groundbreaking in spreading digital streaming globally, along with Pirate Bay and Popcorn Time. Unfortunately, the last two did not compensate the artists, the entertainers and all those who invested time and money in creating content.
Netflix used to only distribute content. Once upon a time by mail, then by streaming. Later, Netflix, like HBO, produced some of the finest series to ever grace the screen. With that in hand and 100 million subscribers, Netflix shifted its corporate strategy. They have drastically reduced buying of content to prioritize producing their own. Why? Because they have not shown a profit in ten years. They never would be profitable with the subscription business model they fronted for so long — not now with 100m users, not ever. With a bucket load of debt, Netflix realized is that´s it´s more prudent to produce a handful of series for 100m users than offer consumers freedom of choice.
“The Goal is to become HBO faster, than HBO can become us”
– Ted Sarandos, Netflix CEO
From more than 11,000 titles in 2012, Netflix now barely has 3,000 and is shrinking fast. Netflix is no longer a distributor but a modern day studio. A studio with a global digital reach and little competition. Disney ended their content deal, more will follow. For Netflix however, that´s OK. Their stated goal is: 50% own content, 50% others. Don´t be mad, it´s the only way they can turn a profit! Sadly, the losers are all of us. The fans who get less choice and pay the same, month after month. The filmmakers who are not part of their studio system. I respect their accomplishments and understand the decision. White Rabbit, however, cannot accept or respect leaving fans and filmmakers in the dust.
White Rabbit: Jump in!
White Rabbit is an ecosystem for film and series, where fans and filmmakers can finally interact. Through our browser plug-in you can stream films and series from whatever open streaming service you desire. We recognize the content, and when you pay, you pay the artists and risk takers direct. White Rabbit offers one log-in, one payment channel, allowing total freedom for fans. Yet, it´s a business model for filmmakers that makes sense for both them and us. Everybody receives their fair share, everyone is happy. We´re removing unnecessary intermediaries and allow every filmmaker a fair chance at global distribution. We´re offering the users to not be deemed pirates because they don´t have a subscription or can´t find the film anywhere else. With White Rabbit you can always be a fan.
Content is, and should be, available around the world. That´s just how the internet works. It doesn’t mean everyone is a pirate, it means every fan expects to be able to see what they want to see, when they want to see it, wherever they choose. Who are we to deny those terms? That´s how all the other industries work, so let´s stop pretending that we “control” the market. The market controls us and their message is clear. 50% of Americans pirate, as well as 67% Europeans. Not because they want to pirate, but because they are forced to break the law to see what they love. In two studies from Finland and Australia, 60% of those so-called pirates have said — “we´re willing to pay, just give us the content”.
So, since you can´t control distribution, let´s control payment.
Blockchain technology enables transfer of data and payments in a distributed ledger of records that no one can tamper with. Once a record makes it to the blockchain, it cannot be deleted or altered in any way. Blockchain has seen extensive usage in such areas as international remittances, data security, logistics, social media and more.
In our case, blockchain and smart contracts will ensure that user payments go directly to the rights holders — without delay. This allows filmmakers to enjoy immediate reward for their efforts, while removing middlemen means the reward is more affordable for the fans. That is the beginning of our true mission: bring the fans and filmmakers closer together… it´s in a place we call the rabbit hole…. but more on that later!
White Rabbit restores the balance in the entire content distribution industry; it tackles the issue of video piracy and content availability and accountability; simplifies user experience; removes intermediaries and cash-flow crunch for filmmakers; and, most importantly, establishes a truly competitive environment for streaming services.
What´s more, our smart contracts pays all the rights holders of the film their agreed fair share of the films revenue directly, each time someone streams the film. Less work, more play and more pay for everyone!
Who is White Rabbit?
We are filmmakers. We are film lovers. We are you, the fan. We are you the producer, the director, the scriptwriter. We have distributed film, financed film and watch film all the time. We understand the frustrations, that´s why we´re doing this! We also love software — because as with film, anything is possible!
Before I became a film producer, I worked with my father Alan sr. Together with White Rabbit´s CTO, we created MCIS (Milbros Chemical Information System) — ensuring safer transport of chemicals at sea. Today, MCIS is the industry standard in a market worth over $2 trillion. Now we aim to become another industry standard, ensuring fair distribution and transparent payment in the digital streaming market — estimated at $65 billion by 2021.
Our team consists of seasoned software entrepreneurs, developers, film producers and sales agents. We know both businesses inside out — we know the people inside out — because we are the people, we are the fans and we stand with the creatives.
CEO and founder of White Rabbit, Alan R. Milligan, is an award-winning film producer whose films have been lauded at Cannes, Venice and Goteborg film festivals. His most recent film, Valley of Shadows, was praised by critics at the Toronto International Film Festival. Prior to joining the filmmaking industry, Alan was a successful software entrepreneur creating industry standards in the chemical tanker industry.
Hengameh Panahi is possibly the worlds foremost sales agent whose accolades include Oscars, Golden and Silver Palme, Bear, and Lion prizes. In 2015, she consecutively won the Golden Bear, the Palme d’Or in Cannes and the Golden Lion in Venice. The first and only time ever in film history. A visionary extraordinaire she was streaming films before Netflix, as a former partner of Mubi.com. Hengameh is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science (Oscar´s).
Alexander Yarushin, CTO and partner, is a seasoned programmer who has been a principal developer and architect on various projects including production automation system for submarines, billing for mobile telecommunications, pharmaceutical distribution systems and healthcare automation.
We look forward to sharing this journey with you — all you have to do is Jump In!
Alan R. Milligan, CEO and founder of White Rabbit