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More people are watching films globally than ever beforea trend that has been enunciated by Covid-19 lockdowns but that was in the works well before the pandemic. Despite the increasing demand for content, chances for creators to pitch their films to industry gatekeepers are few and far between. This means there are fewer opportunities for creators, and more talent goes to waste.
There is a billion-dollar opportunity for businesses to meet growing consumer demand for great and interesting content. Blockchain technology could very well be the key to seizing that chance.
Demand for content is sky-high
Especially in the wake of the limitations Covid-19 has imposed on us, content streaming has never been higher. With a current market size of about $50 billion, video streaming is expected to grow an estimated 21% each year for the next seven years. There have also been outsized viewership spikes during lockdowns, with every major streaming platform recording surges in viewership worldwide.
The tidal wave in streaming was building well before Covid-19, in concert with declining theater attendance. Though this shift is depressing to many film professionals who grew up imagining their ideas playing out on the big screen, the entertainment industry may need to accept the new reality that seeing films in the theater has become more of an “experience,” while someone can catch the newest indie horror flick on their mobile phone during their commute to work. It doesn’t mean movie theaters are going away but that people have many more options for where to watch content, including within the comfort of their own homes or while on the go via their smartphone.
The problem for the entertainment industry is that the big studios have always been dependent on theater ticket sales to meet the big box office numbers required to justify enormous movie budgets for tentpole films like Marvel’s Avengers movies. An unfortunate side effect to the studios’ reliance on the four-quadrant blockbusters has been a decline in the diversity of film content produced by studios. It’s no secret that studios are highly risk-averse to the point that almost every movie is either a remake, sequel, prequel, part of a franchise or based on material with an existing fanbase (comic book, video game, best-selling book).
Source: World Economic Forum
Actress Jessica Chastain is quoted as saying,
“What happens to these beautiful, small, dramatic stories? Are other studios going to make them so that we don’t lose part of our art form?”
Perhaps a silver lining is that the trend toward smaller screens does not mean that the quality of content needs to suffer. To the contrary, there could be many more opportunities for creators of unique and diverse films to find an audience and flourish.
Fans want more diverse content, so why is the film industry still failing creators?
Despite the stars aligning with increasing demand for interesting content and an abundance of streaming platforms in search of great stories, somehow not enough creators are getting the chances they deserve to bring their talent and ideas to the screen. Paul Bettany, the actor who plays Vision in Marvel’s billions-grossing Avengers movies, once thought his acting career was over. A producer told him he would never work in the industry again, but in an almost mystical turn of events, Bettany got a call from Joss Whedon that same day offering him the role of Vision, making him the celebrity he is today. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of brilliant actors, directors, writers, producers and other creators who aren’t as lucky as Bettany and perhaps never even get a chance.
Isn’t there anything that can make the film industry better for creators?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. By leveraging new technologies, we can create environments that are more supportive of creatives and fill in many of the gaps left by the traditional entertainment industry. Blockchain technology allows for the elimination of the traditional gatekeepers and instead gives decision-making power to the community of creators, fans and other contributors.
Rather than waiting for access to a big-time producer, financier or studio executive to pitch their ideas, creators can share their ideas directly with the community and receive real-time feedback on their stories. In a decentralized film financing ecosystem, it’s the communitynot executives who determine which films should be made. What’s more everyone benefits when a film does well, including the creators and the community that supported the project from its inception.
Blockchain can be leveraged to ensure more value goes back to the creators and can be shared with contributing fans. In a decentralized ecosystem, the distribution of residuals and profits can be executed automatically via smart contracts, leaving out the possibility of human negligence and error. Additionally, all transactions are transparently recorded on the blockchain ledger, so if there ever was any question as to how profits had been distributed, the accounts can be viewed and audited by anyoneno need to file a request with a withholding distributor.
If we lean into the possibilities enabled by blockchain technology, we could be on the cusp of a creative renaissance. Despite the obstacles brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, imagination and innovation are very much alive in 2021, and decentralized systems can create the space and opportunities filmmakers need to thrive.
By Gagan Grewal, CEO of Mogul Productions, leads the financial vision for the platform, including development of the Mogul Continuous Organization and Smart Wallet. Prior to joining Mogul, Gagan was the managing partner of a private equity firm, led the private banking team for Scotia Wealth Management and founded his own recruiting firm with a successful exit. Gagan brings his expertise in partner-client relations, capital management and operations to Mogul Productions.
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