Three decades ago, the print media was the ultimate source of news and information. But not anymore. Ever since the internet gained mainstream adoption, traditional media has seen a steady decline both in revenues and reach. The internet has simply taken over the role of disseminating information. Nowadays, search engines like Google and social networks like Facebook and Twitter disseminate news faster than traditional media. Besides, these new media sites are not only speedy, but are also global, reaching every corner of our universe. A good example is Facebook, the largest social network that hosts over 2.4 billion active users every month, according to Stastica.
You don’t need to look far to see how the internet is transforming the media industry. Since its advent, major media players have moved their businesses online to remain relevant. The internet has also slashed a huge chunk of advertising revenue from traditional media players. The biggest challenge for any media player, whether traditional or online, is to identify the best strategy for content monetization, at a time when most other outlets like Google provide it for free.
A recent report points to the blockchain technology as a panacea to the problems facing both traditional and online media outlets. According to Andre Dutra, Andranik Tumasjan and Isabell Welpe, co authors of the report ‘Blockchain is changing how media and entertainment companies compete’ the blockchain is introducing innovative business models for content monetization.
At the center of the blockchain is a permanent ledger of information that’s shared among the participants of that blockchain. Because it’s decentralized, traceable and immutable, the blockchain technology has many practical use cases in the media industry.
The report found out that most startups were deploying the blockchain in creative new ways, including micropayments, creation of smart contracts and smart property.
Cryptocurrencies need no intermediaries to process transactions. As such, they are ideal for micropayments and allows users to transact micro amounts of digital cash at low costs. That’s why a growing list of blockchain startups are using cryptocurrency to pay content creators like article writers and music producers. One of these is Contentos, a digital platform that boosts collaboration among content creators, fans and advertisers to create monetary value.
Contentos cofounder and CEO said he noticed there was a need for a decentralized platform for content creators, one that doesn’t allow third-party censorship. Another startup, Yours, allows authors to monetize premium content by charging a small fee to whoever reads it. Many other players are using the blockchain to create a revenue model, a trend that could soon transform the industry.
One of the most popular innovation within the blockchain is the smart contract, pioneered by Ethereum. Experts see the smart contract as another avenue for monetizing content. Smart contracts allow parties to transact credibly without any third-party intervention.
Once pre-negotiated terms are met, the smart contract deploys automatically to enforce the transaction.
Blockchain time stamping
At a time when personification and theft of intellectual property are on the rise, blockchain could help with verification of content ownership. Time stamping is part of smart property. Using this innovation, we can easily see who owned specific information at any given time. Essentially, time stamping is a really valuable tool for photographers.
As blockchain gains widespread adoption, traditional media outlets as well as blockchain startups are moving with speed to monetize content. Their holy grail is the blockchain technology, where they are building new business models. As these models gain traction, they could be disruptive, changing the media landscape for good. At the same time, such models could also be used to sustain traditional media outlets.
Finally, this ‘Monitor Deloitte‘ report findings show that the above content monetization models can easily be applied in other industries. The models could be used in industrial looking to bypass aggregators, distribute royalties, create pricing models for paid content and to facilitate secure C2C payments.