digital media

Why We Need New Media File Formats For Web3

Each passing technological revolution (within the media space) has seen file types have facilitated the development of that technology. The Napster peer to peer media boom of the late 90s wouldn’t have been possible without mp3s, the file type allowed for audio to be compressed and encoded in more manageable file sizes that made use of P2P networks. The traditional film reel for movie theatres was usurped by the much more efficient Digital Cinema Package, increasing efficiency and cost in delivering movies to cinemas – whilst retaining the quality of the picture and being rich in metadata to allow for better tracking of films. “Web 3” is no different in this regard. The Web3 & NFT space has great promise: from better ownership of rights, better distribution of content, security and verification of identity. However for web 3 and NFTS to truly work more thought needs to be given to how new technology is made easier for the end-user and if NFTs are going to exist in any meaningful way for media applications, our beloved mp3s and mp4s need to be upgraded. We need to create a new set of Web 3 File Types (W3FTs).

The fundamental issue with the web3 space is that the NFT metadata and the media file itself exist separately and are poorly linked – which is partly what has given rise to the “right-clicker mentality”. We need new picture, audio and video formats, ones that are richer in metadata that can encode corresponding NFT information to which they relate to. The media files: be it a picture, audio or video rather than being static, will need need to be able to communicate back to the blockchain about how it’s being interacted with. In short, whether used on a local or a web 3 application a new set of W3FTs will be able to improve the overall user experience for blockchain-based media.

Some key benefits we might see with W3FTs:

Security: with a new set of W3FTs and applications that support them, we will be able to better reduce piracy of content, allowing only the people who have rights to access the content to view it. Web 3 browsers are a key growth area, having W3FTs can bring about a better native browsing experience.

Unique User Experiences: What if you wanted to thank your top supporters, who have streamed your movie, music or read your work? A W3FT may have the ability to know which user (wallet address or Web 3 id) has interacted with it and communicate this back through the blockchain to the rights owner. The rights owner can then easily distribute prizes, gifts, thank-you’s etc to these supporters; or even unlock hidden content to the users once milestones have been reached.

Upgradable Media Assets: Having media formats that can be upgraded to reflect an upgrade in a blockchain/token standard can ensure “evergreen” web3 media file types.

Web3 is a fractured space with a lot of potential. A lack of seamless interoperability between blockchains and continually changing token standards will mean developing the framework for these much-needed new media file types in a way that is chain agonistic – and then getting them widely adopted – will take many years (and failed attempts). However, we’ve already seen the potential of this type of innovation through the first generation of programmable NFTs. It will require the crypto community to collaborate in a way not seen before to develop these new file standards.

In launching our film & TV licensing platform, Cinnect, our vision is to be part of this new ecosystem, one that can better connect content owners with the rest of the world in new and exciting ways.

NFTs For “The Matrix” & “Pulp Fiction” Announced As The Film Industry Embraces Blockchain

Has the film industry finally bitten the blockchain bug? A new set of digital collectables have been announced: Warner Bros are releasing a collection of NFTS for The Matrix & Quentin Tarantino has announced a limited selection of NFTs for his classic film Pulp Fiction.

Given The Matrix’s themes surrounding the “metaverse”, the franchise seems primed to take advantage of a growing NFT space. The digital collection will feature both “red pill” & “blue pill” collectables. Fans of Pulp Fionction will be able to get their hands on seven uncut scenes from the movie, which will be available via auction on the NFT Marketplace OpenSea. This isn’t the first time a film company has entered the NFT space as Lionsgate has already released a series of NFTs for the Saw franchise earlier this year.

What are NFTS?

NFTs stand for Non Fungible Tokens. Much like cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) and crypto tokens (like Enjin), NFTs use Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to provide digital proof of ownership. If you’re old enough to remember the Pokémon card craze of the early 00’s it’s the equivalent of being able to create digital collectables: they can be of pictures, videos, even VR/AR art, which can be accessed via your crypto wallet. Even the NBA has already “minted” and released their own NFT collection: NBA Top Shot. Blockchains are very much in their infancy, NFTs even more so, therefore it will be interesting to see how the minting of these collectables is received.

Whilst protocols that govern how information is shared across the internet is standardised, Blockchains operate on a number of different protocols, often without interoperability with each other, additionally, they often lack wallet solutions that are both secure yet easy to use for the wider public. So whilst fans of Tarantino and The Wachowski’s may want to get their hands on the digital collectables on offer, it may be a while before we see true broader public adoption.

Are NFTs Here To Stay?

Whilst it can be easy to dismiss Cryptocurrencies as a passing phase (and there are undoubtedly some outright scams in the crypto space), The crypto space has exploded since Bitcoin came onto the scene in 2009 to now a total market capitalisation of £2 Billion / $2.8 Billion (at the time of writing). Film studios are always looking for ancillary revenue; as merchandise sales and licensing provide additional revenue (MCU Merchandise generated $41 Billion for Disney in 2020) so digital collectables can be seen as part of the merchandising offering. Additionally, Blockchains are also starting to address environmental concerns of critics: Ethereum’s 2.0 upgrade will reduce the second-largest Blockchain’s energy consumption by 99.95% and carbon-neutral blockchains such as have been developed to address environmental concerns – like those expressed by the billionaire Elon Musk.

The possibilities of blockchain use within the film industry are not limited to just NFTs; applications in film licensing and even crowdfunding can allow filmmakers to have better ways to track their work and help to avoid “Hollywood Accounting”. With Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, we can also expect more companies will make use of digital tools and environments to create new ways of engaging fans in the new virtual space. For example, one of the biggest media blockchains currently in the broadcast space is the Theta Network, which acts as an alternative to YouTube, the blockchain network has hosted a number of live stream screenings in collaboration with distributor Lionsgate Films. We’ll continue to see what the future holds for Blockchains & the film industry.

Also Read: Research Shows How Cinema Therapy Helps Reduce Anxiety

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