Alibaba Pictures, the film production arm of Alibaba Group, is working to tokenize distribution rights for some of its new film projects, including ‘Striding Into The Wind’. The company has signed an agreement with decentralized entertainment company Breaker to distribute the film overseas via its blockchain platform, Ethereum.
Alibaba has had mixed results producing films, and in an effort to maximize profits, Alibaba Pictures is distributing ‘Striding Into The Wind’’’ beyond China’s borders. To facilitate this, Alibaba Pictures is utilizing blockchain to tokenize the distribution rights of the film.
How Will Blockchain Change the Global Film Industry?
The film industry is just one of many, which stands to be turned on its head through the infusion of blockchain technology. Primarily, the effects will be in the way films are financed. Typically, a relatively low number of conglomerates can finance the big blockbuster films, as it is an expensive endeavour that typically costs in the millions. With special effects and movie star’s salaries, it not unreasonable for a film to cost over a hundred million dollars just to produce. This results in a restrictive environment for smaller projects. Understandably, film financers are looking for a return on their investment in an industry that may seem like gambling to many.
By tokenizing the financing of films, content producers gain the ability to access a greater pool of investors, big and small, increasing the likely hood of getting their project off of the ground. This helps not only those looking to create films, but for smaller investors looking to enter an industry not previously accessible. Using cryptocurrency, it can decrease the risk of any one investor.
Alibaba Pictures is not the first company to recognize the role that blockchain may play within the film industry. Over the past couple of months, we have seen many other film companies dipping their toes into cryptocurrency. The hype around tokenization has even led to the creation of a $25 million fund created by Wesley Snipes and the Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange, built to facilitate projects born through the Maandi House production studio. Deals like these will likely continue to fuel the film industry for years to come.
Is China the New Hollywood?
While Hollywood has increasingly sought Chinese investors and film markets in the last few years, bringing a lot of increased attention to the Chinese film industry. But as they do so, China is also producing its own content.
With over a billion viewers, the future of the global film industry may hinge on the Chinese film market. At the same time, the possibilities for tokenization and blockchain-based film financing are stronger than ever. Surely this combination of those trends is novel and exciting, but it’s the first of many and a sign of what’s to come.
Most likely in a bid to chase its U.S. rivals, Amazon, Alibaba bought a major stake of ChinaVision Media in 2014. It subsequently was renamed from ChinaVision to Alibaba Pictures Group. By April 2015, it was the largest Chinese film company by worth, with a market value of US$9.6 billion. While the Chinese film industry might not be nearly as big as Hollywood – Disney Corporation alone is worth over a quarter of a trillion dollars, the growing Chinese economy and economic power, will ensure China’s film industry will continue its upward climb.
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