The 2020s era is foreseen as the age for blockchain to reign supreme in entertainment. So much so that even Asian web search and tech giants have lost no time in developing their own blockchain technologies.
With companies worldwide rushing to create the next big thing, it’s anybody’s guess where the future will take us. But there are indications that the global blockchain revolution may possibly usurp the industry dominance of streaming companies like Netflix.
To date, many global users ranging from millennials to baby boomers have put a high premium on their ability to enjoy multimedia content – such as the original film/series offerings of Netflix — on their digital devices.
Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify have put up a mainly centralized system. Centralization places control over the flow of information and money in the entertainment industry in the hands of a few — the platform owner, labels, and other entities with a stake in the profits.
How the internet changed things
With the advent of the internet, instantaneous ways of obtaining and sharing information was facilitated. It was not long before individuals and entities began using the web as a cost-effective way for consuming and distributing content.
About a decade ago, technical analysts mulled over the question on which may be the best platform to bet the future. A web application database tools vendor responded that the answer pointed to the direction of those that are built on open standards.
Amidst the digital tsunami, the creation and distribution of high quality shows has, for the most part, still been dominated by a small number of studios, television networks, cable providers, and aggregators, including streaming service providers like Netflix.
This has not led to the democratization of content that many people expected the internet to open up.
Enter the blockchain
With the blockchain, a new tool of the contemporary era that lets users achieve decentralized status without use of a centralized server, a different scenario seems to be shaping up on the horizon. An upside of blockchain technology is that it enables or allows the creation of digital marketplace that is both decentralized and tamper-resistant to a large degree.
Decentralized applications are not controlled by a single person nor an entity; they run across a distributed blockchain or network of computers. Users connect with each other through peer-to-peer computers around the world.
Futurists have expressed how blockchain will have a huge impact on different industries. The retail and healthcare sectors are but some of the industries that have incorporated blockchain technology.
Alibaba chair and founder Jack Ma said in a recent interview that his company spent a lot of efforts studying blockchain technology. As far as the forward-thinking or visionary CEOS in the media & entertainment and retail business are concerned, the sensible move is to experiment or invest in blockchain innovation now, or be left in the wayside.
Over the past several years, tech-savvy people learned soon enough that blockchain technology can be utilized for many uses other than handling financial transactions. Indeed, blockchain technology is expected to soon bring out a totally new, decentralized model for distribution of entertainment content.
By bringing power back to content creators and addressing the issue of leveraging the playing field by rewarding better content, the decentralized structure has been a game changer. Many people assert that it is high time content creators derive full profits from their own work. A clear-cut illustration is Steem, where content producers are rewarded in ‘Steem Dollars’ for popular posts.
Streaming services to be disrupted?
A disruptive technology, blockchain stands to break up the pseudo monopoly that exists in the entertainment industry. Centralized gate-keepers, or the small number of industry players currently dominating quality video show creation and distribution, will eventually be replaced by the peer-to-peer network.
Looking back at how the internet development process went, it took a few decades to get to the current situation, yet bottlenecks continue to be addressed. We are effectively building another layer on top of the internet, and those at the forefront of blockchain innovations say it will entail much time before it can be consumer-friendly, usable and scalable.
For now, the streaming economy is going full throttle, with key players like Netflix continuously investing billions of dollars, mostly on licensing other people’s content. In recent years, Netflix has paid far more than the prestige channel HBO ever did for specials featuring Hollywood veterans like Adam Sandler and even Brad Pitt.
While avid Netflix users and industry bigwigs may feel that the decentralized structure that may disrupt the entertainment industry is still a long way off, the emergence of decentralized apps (Dapps) for entertainment signal some marked changes. With the new crop of blockchain projects surfacing, the entertainment distribution world may eventually be dislocated because centralized architectures will no longer be required.
Some of the ways a fully decentralized blockchain-based entertainment network may disrupt the entertainment industry are through…
- enabling content creators to make shows available on a decentralized platform, rather than pitching to a studio or getting Netflix.
- setting up new channels in a decentralized way.
- using new tokens issued by decentralized content networks to pay for and consume entertainment content.
Just as streaming has filled the vacuum left by the collapse of the DVD and home entertainment market, which used to be so lucrative, blockchain technology in the years ahead is foreseen to disrupt streaming services like Netflix.
Whatever your perspective on the streaming industry, blockchain technologies promise to be a potent force that will transform the media landscape. Rest assured the blockchain credo of transparency, openness, democratization and accountability through technical innovation will translate to better quality for everyone concerned.
Do you think blockchain technology will disrupt the monopoly that large media companies have on the industry? What new players will emerge from what we know today? Let us know in the comments below!