Photo: Getty
  /  10.28.2022

Movies and television have created a space for humans to escape reality for generations. Giving us insight into the world of experiences and lives most of us could only dream of, but for a mere second while watching it on television or the big screen, we feel like we are there. Over the years, the industry has created technology that allows us to feel like we’re a part of TV and film more than ever before — 3D movies and finding secret items in series to unlock prizes online, for example. But it doesn’t stop there. Imagine being able to be involved in your favorite sitcom or film franchise not just as a consumer, but as a creative. Having the ability to lift up the curtain, aka break the fourth wall, and get a behind-the-scenes experience and have control. Well, to all my sci-fi nerds, Marvel enthusiasts and Netflix bingers, hold on to your graphic tees because your wish is coming true thanks to NFTs.

Like most popular technology, NFTs have found their way to the television industry. One of the ways they’re utilized is “watch-to-earn.” A new app called Sator is allowing consumers to earn tokens simply by watching their favorite shows. Users build communities based on interest and genre preference and tune into TV series that are activated on the Sator app. Then, on a separate device, they use the app to earn different rewards. This model allows creators to reward consumers for watching their content, which will in turn create 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 one 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 to be involved in the creative process. The first NFS was created by Carlos Grenoir and actor Alvaro Morte (who plays “The Professor” in Netflix series “Money Heist”) through their blockchain platform Olyverse. The purpose of the collection is to provide NFT holders the opportunity to write the script for a future character called Olyver, who will be played by Morte in a 3D metaverse film.

How does this work? After purchasing five NFTs, you are given the title of executive producer and the ability to guide how the story will be written. Additional perks of the collection include exclusive merchandise, gala parties, BTS content, meet-and-greets, and more. Providing fans the opportunity to decide how the story ends sounds great in theory, but there has to be limits on how much input is accepted. Otherwise, we would have a storyline similar to a “Mad Libs” book (My 90s babies know exactly what I’m talking about). No matter how big or small the decision, I think the NFT holders will be excited just to have some say in a new show — even if it’s deciding the color of a shirt or dining room set.

Blockchain-based shows and films aren’t going to 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 will allow viewers access to a dedicated website with private screening rooms and Discord channels, information regarding meet-and-greets with the cast and producers, exclusive content, and limited merchandise. But the biggest perk as an NFT holder is that they will be able to get voting rights on certain aspects of the series. Putting the power back into the hands of the user is one of the founding principles of the Web3 space and that is exactly what these creators are doing. Other NFT-based shows such as “Stoner Cats” and “Glue Factory” are following the same model, and it will only be a matter of time before all the major networks have an NFT series on their channels.

Since movies are essentially just longer TV episodes, it makes perfect sense for the film industry to tap in as well. The most recent example is the Lord of The Rings NFT collection that dropped last week. It allows holders to watch extended versions of the flick in 4K, access hidden AR collectibles, see hundreds of images from the movie, access three different set locations you can explore digitally, and eight hours of special features and commentary. There was a lot of backlash regarding the collection as many of the perks mentioned were items folks had from Blu-ray DVDs. Many fans felt there wasn’t anything special or new the collection brought to the consumer experience. Though I tip my hat off to any company trying to integrate into the Web3 space, there needs to be a level of research and understanding before you do so. One gold star I will give to them is because they are incorporating a credit card purchase option. This thinking will help onboard more Web2 users into Web3 by presenting them with something they are familiar with. Right idea? Yes. Wrong execution? Also yes.

The NFT craze doesn’t stop at just content for shows and movies. Earlier this year, Samsung announced they would be incorporating smart TVs too. Their new marketplace, LG Art Lab, will allow people to buy and sell NFTs directly from their televisions. The first set of NFTs dropped in September and they will be adding new ones each month. This feature is only available for U.S. residents and those who have WebOS 5.0 (or later) access through the app, but they want to eventually expand the experience to everyone across the world. Samsung’s main goal is to provide a high-def visual experience with the purchase of non-fungible tokens. Streaming platforms are picking up on the same approach — Roku has incorporated a channel called StreamNFTs that allows you to display your collection and explore others from the largest art marketplaces.

The possibilities of NFT usage in TV and film are truly endless. We even have NFT projects such as World of Women and Bored Ape utilizing their IP and brand to curate films and unscripted shows. I believe we are just seeing the beginning of how Web3 can be utilized in this industry, but very soon it’s going to be so integrated that it will be a part of every favorite show or movie we watch.

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