“Modern Times”, Charlie Chaplin, 1936

Cinema, entertainment and blockchain: An overview of international projects

Federico Bo
Jun 18, 2018 · 7 min read
  • lack of transparency
  • brokerage costs and delays in the chain of payments
  • difficulties in the correct redistribution of profits
  • lack of liquidity (no secondary market)

Token economy

The key point to which all converge is the transformation of the audiovisual product (film, documentary, series) into a digital smart asset through the process of “tokenization”. The mechanism is — in theory — simple: the various platforms create their own tokens, custom cryptocurrencies to be circulated in their own ecosystem. They are like chips that are worth within a theme park or a casino and that can be converted into other currencies, digital or otherwise. In turn, these tokens can generate other types of personalized tokens, linked for example to a single movie project.

  • You can also distribute tokens to the contributors of the work (cast, crew, musicians, screenwriters, etc.).
  • Redistribution of profits. Tokens are used for revenue sharing. They can be thought of as stock options, in which the value created by the work flows through its multi-channel distribution.
  • Tokens may be converted into other cryptocurrencies (eg bitcoins) or into fiat currencies such as dollars or euros.
  • Tokens can be exchanged in a secondary market, such as shares.
  • Content and services within the ecosystem of the platform (which may also be extended outside, for example, partner cinemas) will be paid in tokens.

Not just online

The final goal is to make each distribution channel “hooked” to the automatic mechanism of redistribution of profits allowed by tokens: cinema, television, other VoD platforms, screening to events and shows. It is already expected that views on third-party platforms like YouTube or Vimeo can relatively easily turn into token fractions. Another step is ticket sales through tokens: in this way the revenues of cinemas and any type of event can be distributed and distributed easily and almost in real time. Slate with its SLATIX ™ service (tokenized ticketing application) is an example. Speaking of tickets, having a blockchain an “append only” system for the data associated with them also allows you to build an effective system to combat fraud and “secondary ticketing”.

The distributed content delivery network

Tokens are also useful in another context. Several platforms intend to build their VoD service (in fact, of BVoD, Blockchain Video on Demand) through a peer to peer distributed network which allows to reduce the costs of traditional content delivery services. Users will be able to manage a node in the storage and delivery network, ensuring minimum performance requirements, for example in terms of storage capacity and bandwidth: in return they will earn tokens proportionally to the resources made available. Particular algorithms will calculate these gains according to technical and non-technical parameters, such as CPU usage, the availability to preserve file fragments for a certain period (each content is subdivided into small blocks) or to contribute to the distribution of the most popular contents (and therefore with files most requested by users).

Data available to filmmakers and creators

Another element common to several projects is to provide the creators of audiovisual content, always thanks to the characteristics of blockchain technology, a sophisticated system for analyzing the performance of their audiovisual content (perhaps integrated with machine learning systems) with useful metrics to decide sequels or future projects; usually these systems are only available to the managers of platforms such as Netflix, which is based on these to decide their content to be produced.

Critical issues

Analyzing the projects, what stands out is the desire to create an evolved ecosystem, in which the creation of the works, their production, their distribution and revenues sharing take place through mechanisms that are as automatic and interconnected as much as possible. This makes the system “fully operational” rather complex. The first steps are the most difficult, because the first works must be produced with a simplified mechanism that demonstrates the feasibility of the entire theoretical-technical architecture. Convincing some authors and producers to experiment may not be so difficult. Several jobs have already been produced or are in production. The critical mass of users will be more difficult to reach. Cryptocurrencies are generally increasingly used but they are not yet mainstream and are still surrounded by a halo of skepticism. Furthermore, their use, even within the analyzed platforms, does not have a sufficient level of simplicity for an average user.


Disintermediation, new accounting, financing and profit-sharing processes are the main reasons for the interest that the cinema and audiovisual industry have for blockchain technologies. Do not underestimate the possibility of micropayments, even of the order of thousandths of dollars, which can make the remunerations obtained through streaming services more advantageous for the creators of content.

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Federico Bo

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Computer engineer, techno-humanistic hybrid and blogger, crowdfunding expert. Interested in blockchain technologies.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +477K people. Follow to join our community.