For the media and entertainment industry, “blockchain” was the biggest buzzword of 2017.
And in 2018, it’s only going to gain traction.
But what exactly does it mean? And how does it impact networks, studios, and new media companies?
For starters, there’s a legitimate reason for all the hype: it has the potential to ease the complexities surrounding content rights management.
With digitalization rapidly changing the way content is created and delivered, M&E businesses need to be able to safely manage their intellectual property. This is where blockchain comes into play. The beauty of its technology is that it offers a unique approach to storing content and related assets, making transactions, and establishing trust.
Blockchain functions as a digital database, allowing participants to store specific information about a piece of content (e.g. who has created it, who owns it, etc.). From there, a distributed ledger maintains a continuously growing record of transactions –– known as “blocks” –– which cannot be altered or reversed once added to the chain. This solves the issue of trust as it does not require an administrator to guarantee the accuracy of a given transaction.
Let’s take a look at some of the concrete ways blockchain technology can significantly impact content rights management for the media and entertainment industry:
With blockchain, the need for an extensive distribution system is eliminated. Content creators can release their work directly to consumers without having to strike a deal with a large corporation or media entity that will ultimately take a hefty percentage of the earnings.
From Sony and Disney to HBO and Netflix, Hollywood has seen its fair share of hacks and data leaks in recent years. And it makes sense: the stakes are high, and many who work in the industry aren’t always paying close attention to internet security best practices. Blockchain employs sequential hashing, cryptography, and decentralized structure, making transactions highly secure and virtually impenetrable for hackers.
In the entertainment industry, getting paid is not a completely straightforward process. Fortunately, blockchain allows creators to distribute content then get paid automatically and instantaneously. The infrastructure is based on smart contracts that utilize blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum; self-executing smart contracts can automate royalty payments at a near-zero cost.
While there is still a lot to be explored on how Blockchain technology can impact the media and entertainment industry, one thing is clear: it’s destined to make waves in 2018 and beyond.