Movies and television have created a space for people to escape from reality for generations. It gives us a glimpse into the world of experiences and lives that most of us can only dream of, but for a second when we see it on TV or the big screen, we feel like we’re there. Over the years, the industry has developed technologies that allow us to feel more a part of TV and film than ever before – such as watching 3D movies and finding secret items in series to unlock prizes online. But it doesn’t stop there. Imagine being able to be involved not only as a consumer but also as a creative in your favorite sitcom or movie franchise. Having the ability to lift the curtain, aka breaking the fourth wall, and get a peek behind the scenes and be in control. Well, to all my sci-fi nerds, Marvel enthusiasts, and Netflix bingers, hold on to your graphic tees because thanks to NFTs, your wish will come true.
Like most popular technologies, NFTs have found their way into the television industry. One of the ways they are used is “watch-to-earn”. A new app called Sator allows consumers to earn tokens simply by watching their favorite shows. Users build communities based on interests and genre preferences and tune into TV series that activate in the Sator app. Then they use the app on a separate device to get different rewards. This model allows creators to reward consumers for watching their content, which in turn creates a stronger community for that particular show.
Non-fungible stories (NFS) are another use case for NFTs in the industry. A non-fungible story is a story created in collaboration with consumers to write the script based on NFTs that will be collectible digital avatars. This model is a new way for fans to not only consume content, but also to be involved in the creative process. The first NFS was created by Carlos Grenoir and actor Alvaro Morte (who plays “The Professor” in the Netflix series Money Heist) via their blockchain platform Olyverse. The purpose of the collection is to enable NFT holders to write the screenplay for a future character named Olyver, who will be played by Morte in a 3D Metaverse movie.
How does this work? Purchasing five NFTs grants you the title of Executive Producer and the ability to control how the story is written. Other collection perks include exclusive merchandise, gala parties, BTS content, meet-and-greets, and more. Giving fans the ability to choose how the story ends sounds great in theory, but there must be limits to how much input is accepted. Otherwise we’d have a story similar to a Mad Libs book (my 90’s babies know exactly what I’m talking about). No matter how big or small the decision, I think NFT holders will be thrilled to just have something to say on a new show — even when it comes to picking the color of a shirt or a dining room set.
Blockchain-based shows and films will not be limited to the Metaverse. The creators of Rick and Morty have teamed up with FOX Network to launch an NFT collection for a new animated series called Krapopolis. Including NFTs called Krap Chickens, they allow viewers access to a special website with private screening rooms and Discord channels, information on meet-and-greets with the cast and producers, exclusive content and limited merchandise. But the biggest benefit of being an NFT holder is that you can get voting rights on certain aspects of the series. Putting power back in the hands of the user is one of the founding principles of the Web3 space, and that’s exactly what these creators are doing. Other NFT-based shows like Stoner Cats and Glue Factory follow the same model, and it will only be a matter of time before all major networks have an NFT series on their channels.
Since theatrical films are essentially just longer TV episodes, it makes perfect sense for the film industry to get involved as well. Recent example is the Lord of the rings NFT collection released last week. It allows owners to watch enhanced versions of the film in 4K, access hidden AR collectibles, see hundreds of frames from the film, access three different set locations to explore digitally, and eight hours of special features and commentary . There was a lot of backlash regarding the collection as many of the benefits mentioned were items people got from Blu-ray DVDs. Many fans felt that the collection didn’t bring anything special or new to the consumer experience. But I take my hat off to any company trying to integrate into the Web3 space, there needs to be a degree of research and understanding before doing so. One gold star I will give them is because they include a credit card purchase option. This mindset will help engage more Web2 users in Web3 by presenting them with something they are familiar with. right idea? Yes. Wrong execution? Also yes.
The NFT craze doesn’t just end with content for shows and movies. Earlier this year, Samsung announced they would be integrating smart TVs as well. Their new marketplace, LG Art Lab, will allow people to buy and Sell NFT straight from their televisions. The first set of NFTs was discontinued in September and new ones are being added every month. This feature is only available to US residents and those who have access to WebOS 5.0 (or later) through the app, but they’re eventually looking to extend the experience to everyone around the world. Samsung’s main goal is to provide a high-resolution visual experience when purchasing non-fungible tokens. Streaming platforms are taking the same approach – Roku has included a channel called StreamNFTs that allows you to show off your collection and explore others from the biggest art marketplaces.
The possibilities of using NFT in television and film are really endless. We even have NFT projects like World of Women and Bored Ape that use their IP and brand to curate unscripted films and shows. I think we are just beginning to see how Web3 can be used in this industry, but very soon it will be so integrated that it will be a part of every favorite show or movie we watch.