How Decentralization Can Revolutionize the Entertainment Industry

artist: danny howe

Imagine a world in which piracy is not only a thing of the past but in which content creators get their due, audiences no longer need to pay through their teeth to view what they want nor risk private data theft to do so, studios and distributors have indisputable rights distribution, and even advertisers are happy.

The entertainment industry involves hundreds of billions of dollars, where a colossal chunk is generated just on at-home media consumption. Thus, it seems rather intuitive that entertainment should be, essentially, something that is by the people, for the people. Unfortunately, the very structure of the entertainment industry is rife with bias, nepotism, and corporate monopolies; it is very much a centralized entity.

Let’s look at some of its issues.

We start off with the content creator. A singer, perhaps. Shall we call her Natasha?

Now, Natasha has a sensational voice that can move mountains, but her original songs in the form of online videos don’t gain traction because platforms continuously change their discovery algorithms. She doesn’t get paid because her videos aren’t getting sufficient views. The views she does get are because of freebooting, when a stranger posts a video of hers on Facebook without linking back to her. She also doesn’t know anyone in the industry who can get her an “in”. Finally, a slightly more prominent singer comes along and steals Natasha’s songs, becoming a star. Natasha’s whole situation pretty much sucks, and the world may have missed out on its next Aretha Franklin.

Let’s move on to content viewers. The viewers — the driving force of the industry — want to see amazing, high quality content that matches their own interests, but much of this content is driven by advertisers. Decisions about what can be viewed are made by big corporate entities whether online through different platforms, or offline, in cinema halls. These decisions are driven by these entities caring more about their shareholders than the viewers. The cherry on top is that viewers are additionally faced with trust issues when it comes to their private data online.

Backers also face issues due to these big corporate decisions. There’s no way of truly knowing whether the money they provide is going to the correct people, due to a glaring lack of transparency. They may also be prevented from discovering content they’d otherwise support due to biased discovery algorithms.

Let’s look at advertisers. One of the biggest issues advertisers face today is fake views. Content creators are sometimes forced to take desperate measures to earn, and thus turn to methods of generating fake views. This messes up the statistics for advertisers, forcing them to do things like buy private user data without the consent of users — which shouldn’t be happening.

Moving on to studios and distributors. It is no secret that they suffer greatly due to piracy, but did you know that complete concurrent distribution is nearly impossible? This means they miss out on potential viewers. Smaller studios in particular face a glaring lack of reach, and are unable to generate the income they deserve. As a result, independent film-making is often negatively viewed as a low-return investment.

Anyone in this industry knows that each project is basically a very scary collection of papers of various rights that are largely controlled by the big players. Contract changes are made opaquely behind closed doors, leaving the little players in the lurch despite what contributions they may have made to the project. Distributors often face lawsuits for fine-lined copyright breaches. It’s basically a paperwork nightmare.

So the question is, what can we do to fix these problems? My answer: decentralization.

I envision decentralized technologies bringing the future of secure, equal opportunity entertainment to our doorstep. Rather than decisions being made by large, central entities, a decentralized system would bring the power back to the people, by distributing information and decisions, and validating transactions.

I envision a completely transparent, tamper-proof, and incentivized entertainment ecosystem. A single platform that can raise project funds, stream content, connect with fans, and collect revenue. I hypothetically call it REELITY. Like reality, but with a reel. (Get it?)

Our singer friend, Natasha, would thrive in this ecosystem. She’d rely on the use of a reputation management system in which she’d gain reputation points not because of who she knows, but because of her talent. It would be a more sophisticated system than, say, ‘likes’ on Facebook. Every REELITY user’s reputation would be linked to the reputation of any person they endorse, and every endorsement would be incentivized. This genuine points system would guide an intuitive recommender system, rendering Natasha discoverable to viewers and record companies alike. She could successfully surpass the middle man and reach out to fans directly.

Users on this decentralized ecosystem would be validated, because it is extremely hard to program bots on, say, the blockchain. In return for genuine views, advertisers would directly pay the original content creators — a win-win!

All transactions on REELITY among content creators, crowd investors, and audiences would be governed by smart contracts. A film’s Chain of Titles could be constructed transparently so that rights disputes would become obsolete. A backer would know exactly where their money goes, and viewers would be able to purchase a ‘right to view’.

A right to view could work something like this: blockchain content could be tokenized in much the same way as companies have IPO’s. Viewers could purchase tokens for, say, an Avengers film. Once the view is completed, the tokens would be burned. Thus each film could have its own tokenized economy, giving creators complete control over their intellectual property rights and revenue.

Moreover, with REELITY, simultaneous global release of films would be possible, because what would matter are tokens, not country borders.

These solutions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how decentralization may revolutionize the entertainment industry. Given how influential entertainment is, I have no doubt that this has the potential to be the next big thing that will change the world.