Business

Blockchain powers for-good film and TV

The $500bn film and television production industry could be next to be disrupted by blockchain technology – with non-profit, for good content projects likely to benefit – if technology used by a new community-powered network now crowdfunding takes hold.

livetree illustrationLiveTree, a socially responsible crowdfunding platform set up to fund and market new film, TV and other creative content, is looking to raise $50m for its LiveTree ADEPT network through a crowdfunding campaign now live.

The new network interests because of the way it looks to deploy the distributed ledger at the heart of blockchain technology to create a decentralised ‘no middle man’ system of funding and distributing film and TV content. Its creators think the new system could disrupt the entertainment industry’s entire value chain.

Distributed ledger technology is most closely associated with fintech and cryptocurrency, but is also being used for social impact projects that improve international aid and digital identity. A 2016 UK government report said blockchain could help transform centralised government and business structures, cutting fraud and inefficiencies.

LiveTree says its ADEPT platform, if successful, will provide the “world’s first community-powered film, TV and content network” that is both not-for-profit and open source. ADEPT uses blockchain to create a new way of managing the digital rights that right now dictate how we interact with, consume and pay for content.

Where the existing system sees content rights owned and managed by specialist businesses, LiveTree says its ADEPT system would allow consumers themselves to own what they watch and play a direct role in content creation, funding and distribution.

TV content production and consumption has gone through major changes in recent years, with the rise of video-on-demand entertainment services, and new productions increasingly funded by online content platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

LiveTree says the entertainment industry faces myriad obstacles to entry – with just 13% of film directors and writers female and only 176 films made in the UK during 2016 securing theatrical release.

The new ADEPT platform is underpinned by Seed (SED), a new digital token made possible by developments in Ethereum blockchain technology that allow for ‘smart contracts’.

LiveTree chief technical officer Jamie Ward said: “One of the more powerful things about blockchain is it allows you to set up peer-to-peer contracts between all of the people involved in a new creative project – such as a film – so that the directors, actors and all of the people involved down the chain from the very outset can be set in contract using the blockchain.”

LiveTree has crowdfunded 120 content projects in the last six months. This has included help for creators of social impact documentary films, such as Illumina Studios, which released a film this summer about the controversial pipeline drilling at North Dakota’s Standing Sioux Reservation.

Noel Goodwin, ‎director of British Film Institute Future Film, said, “LiveTree is a unique prospect in that it’s a brilliant way to not only enable film makers to make the content they want to make but it’s going to be able to match content with audiences and what they want to actually see, so it’s really exciting.”

Tech For Good’s next London meetup discusses on ‘Blockchain: hype or hope’, on November 14.

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