From crowdfunding to crowd-investing, or How the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of the movie “Empire V” is changing the film industry
Film industry is not only a sweet heaven with red carpets, but also a harsh business world which is shared by major producer studios. They decide what to launch into production and what will millions of people watch. It is to be changed very soon.
No one is interested in money itself anymore. As the character Wee Vova from Victor Pelevin’s book “Generation P” used to say: “There is no dough behind the dough, right? Coz then it’s simply bullshit that a part of it is on top, yet the rest is down”.
There has to be an idea behind the money. The investors want to be a part of something bigger and more significant. Some of them see venture capital, which distributes money among carefully selected start-ups, as such kind of projects. Others invest into shares of large established companies that are new on the stock market. This is what is called Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Growing by leaps and bounds the cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology market made it possible to use a new model of investment: Initial Coin Offering (ICO). It functions the same way as IPO, but in a more democratic environment of the cryptocurrency market, and takes its specifics into account. There are digital signs, tokens, placed instead of shares, and later they get bought and sold at cryptocurrency markets, just like a company shares.
Thereby tokens are both a currency that can be exchanged and shares of the company, with their value based on its projects or products.
ICO opens up new opportunities for diverse markets, however it is particularly interesting for the film industry, which has painted itself into the corner of producing authoritarianism.
Until now, in order to shoot a blockbuster, producers needed huge fundings to start filming, and the thought of financial risks made their hearts sank. It explains why so many movies often came out super mainstream, targeting the most unified and unassuming viewers. Moreover, the existing model of film production is financially not transparent enough, and there is no opportunity for retail investors to invest into films, whereas the stock market doesn’t have this problem.
With ICO, the entry threshold for people who want to determine the future of the film industry and are willing to invest into it is much lower. At the same time, according to the most conservative estimates the profit can reach up to 40%. This figure is specified by the creators of “Empire V” movie directed by Victor Ginzburg, for whom it is the second time working on an adaptation of a novel by the most prominent contemporary russian writer Victor Pelevin novel.
The ICO campaign on the Bablos.com has reached Soft Cap (2,000 ETH) at the launch stage, meaning that over 100,000 Bablos has been sold. Total of 2,000,000 has been released, with 1,700,000 of it being available for public purchase.
Ginzburg plans to shoot more adaptations of novels by Pelevin, which he wants to finance by Bablos as well. The rights are already bought for S.N.U.F.F., iPhuck 10, Batman Apollo, the team is also developing a script of an international historical series.
The film producers say that the Bablos ICO aims not only to raise additional funds for the final stage of the shooting and post-production, but also to be among the first to try out the new public investment model in the film industry:
— People with little or relatively little money, who want to try themselves in the field of film production, can get a convenient set of tools for that.
— Film projects become free from the producer dictatorship and all the shortcomings that are inherent to the traditional model of film production.
— Projects get financed not just by those who want to make money, but by like-minded people who are willing to see the film done. If there is a stir and clear interest at the stage of collecting investments, this may serve as an indirect sign that the movie can become successful in the future.
— Pre-marketing, early-bird ticket sales (you pay half of the cost with tokens), is a tangible advantage at the beginning of distribution.
Money to support independent cinema is usually raised through crowdfunding. Indeed, this tool has lots in common with ICO, because in both cases people invest in what they believe in. By the way, last year Empire V conducted a successful fundraising campaign on Planeta.ru collecting the record amount of 7 million rubles, which gave a nice boost to launch the project.
However, if in crowdfunding people in fact just chip in for something good giving away whatever they can spare, with ICO it’s quite a pragmatic investment, which delivers both the desired movie and the dividends.