Crypto takes on Hollywood and the broken studio system


Something surprising – and cool – is happening today in the new digital world: a growing wave of crypto/NFT projects that are attacking Hollywood and the studio system that is now co-opted by netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Source: xalien / Shutterstock

For the first time that I remember, Hollywood and both “FAANG” filmmakers are vulnerable to disruption. So, let’s dive into what’s happening on the blockchain – which projects have the most star-power – and, most importantly: can they actually to win?

New Series Owned by fans

“Most successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings,” is how, I was told, Marlon Brando once summed it up. But today the quote is usually debited in contrast to the nice guys in Hollywood like Tom Hanks and Bryan Cranston.

However, even Tom Hanks isn’t often the box office draw he was in the 2000s – let alone the 90s. His most recent hits are mostly “Toy Story” or “The Da Vinci Code” movies.

I’d say it’s because we’re set to expect a lot of franchise reboots, remakes, and sequels. We’re not going to walk out of the theater for less than $25… What we see there probably isn’t going to blow our hair back…

And it’s not really about us! The films are all safe bets for studios, especially internationally. Before I even had to worry about someone coughing me up from COVID-19, I was barely going, and ticket sales were already down in 2019:

Source: Statista

Even when one of your favorite stars or directors Is do something exciting – it’s probably on a streaming channel instead! But then, if that doesn’t pay off as a hot spot for the next quarterly earnings call, it will quickly fade away.

It’s the world HistoryDAO launches into. The founders call it “a radical experiment in…building an open Hollywood production platform” on Ethereum (ETH-USD).

“Just as the Internet has changed subscription funding models and streaming has changed viewing habits, the new paradigm shift is now available to us,” says StoryDAO. Instead of giving away your money as a subscription, you can buy an NFT that passes community ownership:

You own part of the NFT franchise and profit from it if it succeeds. Anyway, at least you have a say in the direction of the franchise! Creators can continue to create content that its audience wants to watch, and maybe people won’t quit next month. (You look, Hulu, Disney+ and Paramount+.)

StoryDAO may be “radical” – but it’s not the only one

Celebrities are also turning to this model for their next big projects. Seth Green, the actor and producer of animated series, buys Bored Apes … And plans to shoot this one starring in his own show, “White Horse Tavern,” as a bartender character called Fred Simian. You can watch the trailer here: a live broadcast with your animated NFTs.

It was always meant to be the case with the bull for famous NFTs, like Bored Apes: not just profile pictures for the rich – but characters in a franchise we can invest in and own through NFTs. “Disney on the blockchain”, so to speak.

Mila Kunis is also getting into this game. The actress/producer helps develop “Gadgets” – basically, “South Park” with professional wrestlers – where you can buy an NFT on Solana (SOL-USD) and help drive the show’s plot.

The same goes for Rob McElhenney from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” This week he started recruit 100 creators to join him at Adim, a project where creators get an Ethereum NFT (non-transferable) as part of the intellectual property – and royalties – for their content.

As McElhenney envisions it, Adim is no different from how he and his friends created “It’s Always Sunny”… But instead of just a camcorder, they have NFTs – for true ownership:

“Adim is preparing the next evolution of these groups – communities of creators, writers, artists, designers, developers, fans and friends working together to create and own a new generation of content,” according to the McElhenney press release.

So, can it be…successful?

Well, crypto/NFTs are just a new framework for an enduring truth:

“What other asset is digital, has value, and is the biggest export of United States? The film industry”, like ours Charlie Shrem said Decrypt in May:

Charlie was at the Cannes Film Festival, then in Monaco for the CoinAgenda conference, to promote DeFi for the financing of independent films. Charlie’s project Defiine will do this with stablecoins built on Mint (MLT-USD), one of the backing strings of Bitcoin (BTC-USD).

Decrypt was quick to ask Charlie about the recently imploded TerraUSD stablecoin… But instead of an algorithm (plus some bitcoin reserves, after the fact… but not enough), Defiine plans to back his stablecoin with “those very secure assets that make up a movie budget,” as Charlie explained to CoinAgenda.

Film budgets are largely made up of tax credits, which nearly all US states and most countries offer for filming there: 20% to 40%. Plus, of course, Netflix (or whoever is planning to pick up the movie) will pay you, say, $1 million…once it’s over.

With Defiine, filmmakers can use tax credits and the like as “collateral” to get seed money – with much better interest rates than a “movie bank” – and cash from stable investors.

You can read all about the ongoing innovation with crypto/NFTs for movies from the CoinAgenda panel, recorded at by charlie Untold Stories podcast.

As for the current model: it’s so broken that despite everyone’s endless appetite for more new content, Netflix is struggling. Organic growth stalled, encouraging NFLX to keep raising subscription fees for more revenue…

But why pay more if you are no longer into what NFLX offers? Personally, I love cute shows where I can find out, “Is that piece of cake?” But I recognize that not everyone does. And new seasons of “Stranger Things” can only happen so often. (Next season will be the last.)

Meanwhile, the first NFT series got off to a good start:

Shibuya, an anime project on Ethereum, claims to have sold its first “Producer Passes” in 22 minutes! It was March, two weeks after designer Emily Yang (the NFT art celebrity known as @pplpleasr) announced Shibuya at the ETHDenver conference.

NFT buyers watched Chapter 1 of the “White Rabbit” anime, then voted on where the plot should go. And with all those NFT first-round quick wins, Shibuya is doing it again with Chapter 2 this week.

Then there’s Mila Kunis’ first NFT comedy series, “Stoner Cats.” These NFTs have sold for $13.8 million worth of ETH on OpenSea alone – more $8 million in initial sale on its website in August. They released episodes in August, October, and April, and episodes 4, 5, and 6 are currently in the works.

It’s a great way to create niche content that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Maybe it can help continue fan-favorite shows that have been cancelled? After all, Kunis’ “Family Guy” is an example of a series that had a second act and did well.

I think if a studio like those of these celebrities and StoryDAO can continue to create NFT series – and gain traction – then it could be crypto businesses that pay off to token holders/investors.

Now Kunis NFT Gimmicks did not sell as well as his first series. As for OpenSea (since it’s the largest secondary market for NFTs), The Gimmicks has around 60% ownership and far less volume than Stoner Cats sold in the “NFT summer” of the year. ‘last year. So it’s not all sunshine and roses.

But what I love most about these projects is that NFT innovators continue to build in a bear market – creating more demand for Ethereum and potentially Solana in the long run.

PS Luke Lango had a great idea just yesterday about whether Netflix will take a bold – or some might call it desperate – step to try to turn the tide: “Could Netflix actually buy Roku?” Go here for Investment in hypergrowth ideas like Luke’s.

As of the date of publication, Ashley Cassell had (neither directly nor indirectly) any position in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, subject to Publication guidelines. To get more news from The New Digital World delivered to your inbox, click here to subscribe to the newsletter.

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