The film industry may be setting new box office records this year, but it still struggles with how to adapt its distribution methods for a digital audience. That's where blockchain — the distributed ledger technology originally developed for bitcoin — plays a starring role.
A new film titled “No Postage Necessary” debuted on the big screen June 6 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, California. It will be released widely on demand, and via Vevue on the blockchain platform Qtum, on June 10, according to The Santa Monica Press. The platform hosting the indie flick, Vevue, is an autonomous nonprofit aimed at bringing transparency to the video industry and shifting the way content is distributed and viewed via blockchain technology.
The move to distribute films via blockchain has the potential to shift the industry in a big way. Although the long-running threat of piracy and new disruption of subscription-based movie tickets didn't deter Hollywood from landing three billion-dollar hits just this year, revenue is an ongoing concern. Add to that the splintered legal streaming ecosystem dominated by the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, and it's clear that there is still a need to improve the distribution — and monetization — of movies viewed in the home.
Vevue co-founder Katherine Olson told The Press that its distribution process takes out the middleman and thus cuts out distributor fess. The new process allows films like this one to be shared globally without the corporate overrule. The nature of blockchain distribution could allow an open transfer of data and information.
As it just so happens, the protagonist of the film is a hacktivist with a fondness for bitcoin, solving problems for the FBI. But even with all this buzz, questions remain about whether this cyber cinematic experiment is any good. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the film bears as much relation to real life as cryptocurrency does to hard cash.”