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Independent filmmakers who have struggled with industry challenges are gradually coasting home as the implementation of blockchain technology in film distribution eliminates virtually all previous hurdles that have sidelined smaller players in the industry.
Improved technology is enabling expansion
The global film industry is experiencing an exponential growth. Festival Genius, software for independent film festivals, has tracked over 6.4M people watching almost 70K films. The total number of films created each year could be as high as 50,000, according to Chris Hyams, founder of B-Side Entertainment and the creator of Festival Genius.
The expansion of the film industry in recent times can be linked with the reduced cost of film production due to the availability of cheaper equipment, made possible by technological advancement. To create quality content these days, independent filmmakers are able to work with budgets that are only a fraction of the normal costs in the 20th century. Coupled with the internationalization of the film industry, with Bollywood (India) and Nollywood (Nigeria) becoming significant film production centers in the past decade, the industry is expected to continue to expand.
The limitations of intermediaries
This industrial growth and expansion is clearly overwhelming existing film producers and distributors, whose capacity have not been able to handle the heavy influx of quality content into the system. Therefore, in order to remain relevant and retain control, the distributors charge high fees and sometimes create unrealistic and irrelevant standards that may end up preventing quality content from reaching the general public.
Unfortunately, even highly motivated independent film-viewers have no way to discover most of these film productions, except through the promotion activities of the major studios that control multi-channel distribution, from theaters to broadcast / cable television to DVD and digital distribution.
Another major weakness of the existing system in the film industry is the problem of piracy. This is a situation that does not only demoralise the filmmakers but robs them of almost all of their supposed income from their products. This problem is rampant in China and Africa where over 90% of content viewing results in no income paid to the copyright owners. The result is that the major distributors pursue business policies that reward “safe” investments in blockbusters and projects that feature well-known lead actors or directors. Hence, new entrants find it very difficult to break into the industry.
Totally re-writing the script
Leveraging on blockchain technology, StreamSpace aims to introduce a novel distribution platform and an ecosystem community that will give consumers an opportunity to enjoy quality film content unavailable from conventional distribution channels, with a secure monetization engine that places more than 90% of payments directly into the hands of the filmmakers.
Furthermore, StreamSpace intends to launch a novel financing service that will help filmmakers raise the funds they need to create and produce film projects.
Blockchain technology enables the creation of a transparent and secure platform that is decentralized and accessible to everyone who plays by the rules of the platform.
How it works – in simple terms
Imagine a smart contract whereby a film enthusiast logs into his account, adds US$5.00 in value to his digital wallet (either by electronic funds transfer, an online credit / debit card transfer authorization, or by exchange of a fraction of a bitcoin or other cryptocurrency through an exchange), and then clicks to watch a film.
That last click initiates a token transfer from his digital wallet to that of the copyright owner, in a basic example, an independent filmmaker with 100% ownership of the digital viewing rights. The copyright owner for a film may be a single individual, but more commonly may be a group of individuals with differing percentages of ownership rights.
StreamSpace will track the payment transfers from each viewer to the respective copyright holders according to whatever terms are appropriate for each film project; there may be tax consequences for payments, which would represent business revenue or income to the copyright holders. Each of the copyright owners has the ability to accept revenue payments in some fraction of StreamShares (SSH) and fiat currency.
The game changer
This is an innovation that is bound to totally change the entire filmmaking industry as it will permit unrestricted entry of many independent filmmakers that have been left out in the cold. Reduced cost of production will encourage the delivery of better quality movies while copyright owners are assured adequate compensation.
The viewing audience will not be left out either as they are assured of original quality for whatever they are paying for and other reward systems within the platform that will open up other sources of revenue for them.