Streamed video on demand (SVOD) consumption has exploded in popularity. The figures speak from themselves. Netflix has 100 million paying subscribers and rising; Amazon Prime has 30 million; Hulu more than 25 million and if you want to look even further afield there’s the granddaddy of streamed video YouTube with one billion users.
By any measure, that presents a massive opportunity to a new entrant that can do things differently, not just for the sake of it, but to make the film industry work better for consumers and creators alike.
This is especially relevant when it comes to the position of independent filmmakers in the industry.
As we’ve seen, there are more channels for films to be seen through beyond network TV and the movie theatre, but has this led to a flourishing in the number and quality of the films being seen? Sadly, the answer is an emphatic no.
With SVOD accounts predicted to burgeon to 800 million by 2022 and perhaps 500 million in 2023, according to data provider Statista, the beneficiaries are not so much the filmmakers but rather the platforms that store and stream those films, and other content. Annual revenue from SVOD in the US alone is predicted to be a round $16 billion in 2021
Content is king but not necessarily the filmmakers
And regarding content, Netflix and Amazon, are making a lot of original content, some of it award-winning, but they are doing so in order to avoid paying someone else for content they don’t own and to have their own content that is their undisputed intellectual property, that can be repeated an infinitum without having to pay anyone but the actors for repeat fees. Independent filmmakers can get their films on to Netflix and other platforms but more typically they are shut out.
Also, it’s not just the streaming platforms either that are an obstacle for indies – there’s also the Hollywood studio incumbents that will make films that never get seen. This makes them very risk-averse and less willing to take a chance on a teaming up with an indie to support a release.
Unbelievably last year only 794 films released in the US generated any box office revenue, with only 136 of that total getting a so-called “wide release”, meaning they were shown in more than 1,000 movie theaters. Eighty per cent of films don’t get watched by anybody. That is incredibly soul-destroying for all those involved in the making of those unseen films. It’s also an extraordinary waste.
Thankfully, however, for filmmakers this is not the end of the story because the technology now exists that means that it is possible for creators to go direct to their audience, and in so doing bypassing the centralised platform gatekeepers.
A brave new world for indie filmmakers
In many ways filmmakers, who of necessity have to be at the forefront of technological change, with CGI being perhaps the most obvious example of recent times, it may seem surprising that they have been behind the curve when compared to industries such as music.
Musicians are adept at controlling their social media presence and using it, and the web more widely, to open up a direct channel to their fans and build their audience. Mainstream successes such as indie rock band Radiohead have even gone so far as to release some of their music exclusively on their website, cutting out the record company and letting fans pay what they thought the music was worth. However, this is not something we have seen, up until now, from independent filmmakers.
Aside from the bandwidth issues and associated costs that a cash-strapped indie filmmaking team would have to contend with, there’s all the monetization and security issues too.
No more sissing out on so much talent
Unlike the music industry, film is not fragmented in the same way, providing ample scope for blockchain project to help independent filmmakers to realise their vision and connect with literally millions of potential film-goers, who today are starved of so much media.
Unless film-lovers can travel out to the Sundance Film Festival every year and similar indie film showcasing events elsewhere, those off-the-beaten-track films are just not going to be found, or seen.
With 10,000 films released every year around the world, the existing streaming platforms and the Hollywood studios are missing out on a vast reservoir of talent and filmgoers on quality work.
Smart monetization, smart storage, smart viewing
StreamSpace doesn’t just provide a platform, although that’s valuable in itself. Its killer feature is being able to bring filmmaker and audience together in a secure piracy-free environment in which filmmakers are able to monetize their product without having to relinquish any rights while keeping 90% of all revenue.
With smart contracts, users of StreamSpace can send funds to their account, which is in effect a digital wallet, and select what they want to watch and automatically pay for it upfront. On the other side of the transaction is the filmmaking team who get paid instantly, depending on how ownership rights are determined. The smart contract might allocate 20% to the actor, 20% to the crew and the remainder to the producer and director, or it could go straight into a company account.
The complicated and time-consuming business of tracking payments from users to copyright holder is seamlessly, automatically and transparently handled by StreamSpace, with its StreamShares (SSH) token at the centre of the ecosystem that can be readily converted into fiat
This could all happen without filmmakers having to worry about secure storage and the threat from piracy, because distributed ledger technology makes it possible to store the films across a network of servers instead of on one centralised system.
It’s a model that also has no need of advertising, which is great news for audiences who would no longer have to put up with their viewing being interrupted with adverts for deodorant or the latest SUV.
Get a ticket for a new view of the world with StreamSpace at their ongoing token sale.