Giants such as Netflix, YouTube, or Twitch may soon lose some of their power to the emerging players of the entertainment industry. In this article, we will focus on one of the most interesting contenders – BitMovio.
BitMovio provides a video entertainment platform powered by Blockchain. It is a reaction to the current issues of the industry and the changing trends within it. Let’s dive right in.
Life as a content creator is not easy
Creators who monetise their content on YouTube or Spotify know well that popular content is not always translated into profits. As the power is skewed heavily in favour of the distributor, so is the profit. Therefore, even if you have a very popular channel and a lot of people follow your content, you may see very little profit, because the intermediaries take a hefty portion of the money made.
Because of that power disparity mentioned earlier, it is the distributors that dictate the terms of business. Creators have to jump through various “hoops” and some of them (e.g. YouTube streamers) may encounter a situation when the distributor (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) won’t allow their content. The released content needs to be first approved by the distributor, which makes the content’s journey from the sender to the receiver much longer and complicated. And who wants to watch censored content?
But business in the modern age is not only about profit; it’s about information. As anybody who knows anything about marketing will tell you: data is everything. In order to grow your business, you need to know how your business (content) is received. Within entertainment, there is a plethora of information to gather: what kind of content is watched, for how long, where and how do people engage with it (or the brand), what kind of content is a given user watching, etc. However, just because this data can be collected (and it is collected) content creators do not always get access to it.
Jerry Kowal, co-founder & Chief Content Officer, adds: “For content owners, it’s just the flip side of the same coin – they license content to these platforms, which then leverage that content to generate revenue but typically share no meaningful data with content owners on how their content is performing on the platform”.
“What we’ve seen over the past several years with the large incumbent video platforms – YouTube, Netflix, Twitch etc. – is a tremendous centralization of power, in terms of content programming, monetization, and collection and usage of user data, among other things. For instance, these platforms collect and aggregate vast amounts of user data which they leverage to further their own business needs – attracting subscribers and retaining them, selling ads etc. And the user has no realistic clue as to the extent to which his or her personal data is being mined for this purpose”, he comments.
Furthermore, depending on the platform (and similar to users, actually), content creators have limited rights to the content they post. When it comes to social media, such as Facebook or YouTube, although the ownership of the content is still yours, you lose a lot. By sharing content on such sites content creators and users alike grant these platforms a worldwide, transferable, perpetual license to freely sub-license, re-distribute, re-publish, and monetise the posted content. So the content is still yours, technically. But the distributor can do basically whatever they want with it.
And if you think that the current power structure of the entertainment industry affects only content creators, you were wrong. Consumers suffer as well. Currently, consumers are not the most important, profit is. Therefore, consumers do not have as much voice as they could have. Which is to some extent exemplified by the ever increasing number of ads everywhere. YouTube is one the main culprits that comes to mind here. There is also relatively little choice in payment. Often, you might have to pay for a subscription and receive content you’re not really interested in only to get the selected content you want.
BitMovio – handing the power over to the rest of the ecosystem
BitMovio is a “blockchain enabled video entertainment marketplace”. As Jerry Kowal explains, “BitMovio, by leveraging the power of the blockchain, removes this concept of a centralized authority from the equation and allows users and creators to connect and transact directly in an open and transparent marketplace. The incumbents can’t afford to be as transparent as it would kill their business models.”
In other words, BitMovio is an entertainment platform with various content and vast monetisation possibilities, all powered by Blockchain. The technology allows for lower streaming costs, trustworthy data reporting, and thanks to tokens and smart contracts, autonomous deal (contract) execution.
This was one of the main reasons that drew me towards BitMovio in the first place. They have an unprecedented degree of flexibility when it comes to monetisation, and accept various payment methods (Bitcoin, Ether, Theta and fiat). BitMovio supports monetizations in the form of:
Individual donations in the form of engagement. A heart corresponds to 0.10 USD, a star to 1.00 USD (see below), and a rocket is worth 10 USD.
Creators can charge for their content (see below). And although BitMovio may suggest a price based on similar content is selling, the final decision rests with the creator.
Creators may choose a subscription model. Similarly to the previous monetisation method, the price is chosen by the creator.
Upcoming monetisation options
The idea is not finalised yet, but it refers to the “crowdfunding” part of the project. With this function, creators will be able to leverage the BitMovio platform and audience in order to crowdfund future projects that their audience might be interested in.
BitMovio may introduce ads later on, but for now the details are still being considered. What is known for certain is that the decision to place an ad will rest with the creator of the given content. Revenue generated through ads will be split 80/20 with the creator (or rights holder), just as other revenue sources on the platform. BitMovio will keep 15% of the remaining 20%. In exchange for viewing and engaging with ads, users will receive 5% in the form of reward tokens, which can then be used throughout the platform, for example to purchase other content or send gifts to favourite creators.
What kind of content can I watch on BitMovio?
In the long-run, content will be determined by users. Or rather, by their behaviour: what they’re watching, sharing, and engaging with.
Currently, BitMovio focuses on younger audiences, millenials and Gen Z, as their behaviour as consumers fits with what BitMovio offers. Present focus falls on horror, sci-fi, action, adventure, and thriller type of content. However, other forms are also available, for example gaming and streamers.
Contrary to some of the other competitors, BitMovio is not restrictive in who gets access to the platform or who can create on the platform. However, they do have guidelines relating to copyright and the community, which are readily available on both their website and the platform itself.
BitMovio isn’t currently actively promoting their platform, as it is still in early stages. There is still some polishing to do (it’s a Beta, after all), and the company wants to build the content a bit more before focusing on marketing of the platform. But the access to the Beta is not restricted in any way. You can either sign up for the Beta, or check it out in a browser.
It would be too far-fetched to say that just as Netflix kicked Blockbuster out of business, so will BitMovio kick Netflix, YouTube, Twitch, etc. out of business. Nevertheless, BitMovio is trying out a new business model, leveraging their impressive experience (just take a look at their team!) against the changing trends within the industry. The project is still in early stages, and much of its future will depend on user growth and partnerships it manages to close, but it has a number of strong factors speaking in its favour, such as the monetisation flexibility, user-centric approach, impressive team (many educated in Stanford or MIT, and/or moved from giants such as Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, or Coinbase, with multiple awards received by various members of the team), and a working Beta.
So sign up for their Beta via BitMovio’s mainpage, and check out how the future of entertainment will look like.