The Blockchain Hype Train Comes to Video Services

by Hunter Sappington | Mar. 20, 2018

Swedish startup, Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment, recently signed some of its first film distribution deals for its upcoming video-on-demand service, a global blockchain-based VOD service that will initially be based on the Ethereum protocol and cryptocurrency. Calling this new model Blockchain-Video-on-Demand (BVOD), Cinezen states that blockchain technology will provide a new level of transparency in accurate reporting of royalties for content creators by using a blockchain public ledger, a previous challenge for those offering content on a global basis. The service will pay revenues to content providers in cryptocurrencies. In the long term, the operators of Cinezen plan to hold an ICO (initial coin offering) for its own cryptocurrency and allow users to pay for Cinezen content using tokens. Cinezen is currently scheduled for its full release in Q4 2018, with an Alpha version of the product to be released within the next few months.

A blockchain-based revenue and tracking model is unique and solves certain problems for content producers regarding protected use of content and accurate reporting of royalties. For these reasons, a blockchain-based back end for video services may help unlock markets where content creators are wary of licensing content for distribution.

The consumer benefits are less clear. Most consumers neither understand nor care about licensing and tracking of content, and few have the knowledge (or ability) to pay for video services using cryptocurrency. For Cinezen’s video service to achieve success, it must have content appealing to end users. If blockchain can allow the service to access such content more easily, it will provide Cinezen a competitive advantage – though it would be one quickly copied by competitors if successful.

Ultimately, Cinezen’s service will succeed or fail based on the content available and its pricing. Major content creators commonly avoid new technology until it becomes commonly used in the market. So, the BVOD model will likely be a novelty in the short term.

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