- “NFTs bring a strong value proposition as an alternative source of revenue and digital-native audience engagement to the table.”
- “All major production companies are looking into NFTs.”
- NFTs could grant the right to vote on how the next season of a TV show goes, or access to special content that can only be seen by NFT owners.
Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) have already begun to take over the music industry, and now they are turning to the film and television sector. A typical example: the animated series “Stoner Cats” collected USD 8.4M at a sale of NFTs (which give the owners the exclusive right to watch episodes) at the end of July and sold out in just 35 minutes.
This is just the beginning, as industry players who speak with say that a growing number of film and television studios are starting to get involved with NFTs. In fact, global production company Enderby Entertainment teamed up with CurrencyWorks in June to create VUELE, the first NFT platform for full-length feature films.
And for many in the crypto and TV movie industries, NFTs could not only be a new, lucrative source of goods, but could also help shape this industry in new ways. This includes allowing funding to smaller indie production companies and possibly using NFTs to let viewers vote on plot developments, among other things.
“A strong value proposition’
” As in any creative sector, be it film, photography or music, NFTs bring a strong value proposition to the table as an alternative source of revenue and digital-native audience engagement,” said Alex Salnikov, co-founder and Head of Product at .
While acknowledging that the NFT space is still in its infancy, Salnikov confirms that more and more users from traditional industries — including film and television – are experimenting with NFTs, validating them as a business component.
He recalls that just this year the first Oscar-nominated film was released as NFT, while media giants such as Fox began to explore investment and construction opportunities within the space.
“All these actions have a domino effect: they influence other major players in the industry to try out NFTs, while inspiring budding artists and creators even more to explore this new exciting medium,” he told.
Salnivok also notes that Rarible itself hosted an NFT sale by award-winning director Michael Beets to raise funds for the world’s first documentary to be filmed live by refugees around the world. These may be only modest first steps, but according to some figures within the NFT space, they signal an imminent widespread shift within the television and film world.
“EVery major production company reviews the use of NFTs to drive fan engagement and find new sources of revenue. The licensing agreements for movies are complex, so it took some time to find the right implementation paths, but we expect that once this is resolved, NFTs will become a big part of the fan experience for movies,” said Wes Levitt, head of strategy at Theta Labs, the company behind Theta Network (THETA), a blockchain-based video streaming network.
Mintable CEO and founder Zach Burks confirms this picture of growing interest in NFTs in the film and television industry, suggesting that most will get involved in one way or another.
“I think we’ve already seen TV studios and production companies dive headlong into NFTs. From CNN to Fox to indie studios, there’s already a lot of activity in the room,” he told. Burks takes Stoner Cats as an example of how popular NFT-based or-associated shows could become since they had such a successful release. Indeed, the show – which stars Ashton Kutcher, Chris Rock and Jane Fonda – has already released its first episode, with more to come.
More control and closer contact
As mentioned above, potential viewers will need to purchase Stoner Cat NFTs to gain access to episodes, with each NFT costing ETH 0.35 (Over USD1,000 at the time of writing). Such a high price suggests that NFTs could become very lucrative for TV and film companies.
“The first and simplest use case is the one most people see: digital collectibles like iconic movie scenes, NFTs depicting famous characters or items from movies, and other passive examples,” said Wes Levitt.
Beyond this obvious use case, most figures within crypto and the NFT subsector expect that more interesting purposes will emerge over time. For Cameron Chell, the executive chairman of CurrencyWorks and co-head of VUELE, NFTs will give production companies more control over how their work is funded while bringing them into closer contact with their audience.
“Our platform allows a production company to promote itself. You can decide how many NFTs of your movie you want to distribute and whether you want to package it with exclusive content like artwork or behind-the-scenes footage,” he told .
Chell also shows that with VUELE, filmmakers can also have full control over the price and timing of NFT drops. In addition, they are likely to become a useful marketing tool that allows production companies to “keep abreast of the wishes of their target audience.”
However, some observers suspect that NFTs will lead to new emerging formats and experiences in the television and film industry beyond the provision of new revenue and funding streams.
“The really exciting use cases are still in their infancy; think of NFTs having the right to vote on how the next season of a TV show goes, or access to special content that can only be seen by NFT owners. This next level of fan engagement is when you really see demand for NFTs skyrocket and change how fans interact with their favorite IP,” said Wes Levitt.
Likewise, Alex Salnikov expects the use of NFTs in Hollywood to evolve over time.
“In the near future, I expect more TV shows and movies to use NFTs to distribute unique digital content – related to each particular movie and show – and experiment with add-ons such as experiences, physical goods, and exclusive content. Further down the line we could see things like TV screenings in metaverses, NFTs that change with the evolution of the series, on-chain voting for the future of the characters,” he said.
For Zack Burks, NFTs will be more than just an add-on or addition to TV and film, and will eventually rise to the status of something that drives or evolves production studios’ production.
“NFTs make a lot of sense when it comes to TV and film. A very interesting moment I’m looking for is when a studio uses an NFT in a way that relates to the intellectual property of the production – that will be exciting!” He said.
Cameron Chell of VUELE also says that NFTs will be an evolutionary new way to distribute and enjoy movies, not least because they create incentives to own digital media after years of streaming have devalued such media. For example, instead of just switching to a traditional distributor or streaming service, VUELE allows studios or distributors to go directly to fans with digital collectibles developed by CurrencyWorks.
“NFTs offer creators new opportunities to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with their supporters,” Chell concluded.