Blockchain Could Revolutionize the Hollywood Accounting Scheme

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

The Blockchain. It’s a buzz word to be sure. Everyone is talking about it, and it’s usually within the confines of Crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Etherium, and others. But while crypto can’t really operate without the blockchain, that by no means ties the blockchain to it as a one trick pony. The Blockchain can do far more, and it could revolutionize accounting in the film industry, making it easier, more cost efficient, and people may actually get paid.

First off, what exactly is the blockchain? Simply put, the blockchain is a digital ledger, a series of algorithms that are written to confirm a pre-programmed series of transactions. For Bitcoin, it contains the entire transaction history of digital currency, so you can keep track of who owns the bitcoin and when. But those algorithms can also be used to trigger payments, and not only with crypto currency.

There is one group that hopes to use the Blockchain for this purpose. It’s called FilmChain, and it has craft a film centric version of Blockchain technology to help manage the complicated landscape of contract controlled financing and accounting in the film business.

In Hollywood, it’s no uncommon to pay an actor or director based on box office performance. The A lister will get a contracted amount up front, and then, based on the film’s performance, he will get paid a certain percentage based on what level the box office take reaches. With the block chain, that payment could be triggered automatically, once the film reaches a certain, pre-agreed to level of ticket sales.

But the blockchain isn’t only to be sure Tom Hanks gets his net profit participation. It can also be for paying any backers who supported a film financially, or the crew that merely labored, maybe even for a deferred payment, and more.  Other uses for the Blockchain could include:

  • IP protection – proof of ownership. Keeping track of the copyright of a story idea or script
  • Digital rights management – registration, tracking, royalties
  • Contracting – automation and smart contracts between stakeholders
  • Collaboration – scriptwriting and product design
  • Micropayments – tokens, crypto, crowdfunding, royalties, recoupment
  • Content distribution – decentralization, trust, and disrupted distribution.

One studio even hopes to use the Blockchain to handle their slate of upcoming film releases. Ground Control Entertainment is partnering with a consortium of companies to create Singular DTV, which will produce and distribute a series of 5 SciFi films using  the block chain, along with the crypto currency Etherium to finance it all. The films will be streamed online, and the blockchain technology will handle all micropayments related to video on demand purchases, payment to cast and crew, and profit participation to those who back the project. It will even trigger renewal for another round of films when they reach a preset level of success.

“Our platform allows for audiences and creators to mutually benefit from the success of any project,” said Kim Jackson, president of Singular DTV. “As long as they keep supporting projects, there is no end to the possibility of sequels or TV series continuing to reach eager audiences. With SingularDTV there are no disappointing cancellations of beloved pilots or series. It’s a self-sustaining franchise.”

In short, the Blockchain is able to handle the complicated landscape of transactions, which makes it ideal to eliminate the tired old Hollywood excuse that a blockbuster movie simply never made a profit (even though it took in millions at the box office). Now sure, Hollywood loves it’s creative accounting, so it may be less likely to employ the blockchain to handle such services. But when you consider just how streamlined the whole process would become, and how much they’d save on accounting fees, the Blockchain should become something that a producer should consider. Only instead of paying for accountants, he’s probably be paying for crypto currency specialists!

At the end of the day, while Bitcoin may be crashing on the crypto currency market, the most profitable part of the technology may be the underlying technology itself. The Blockchain could change the way we do business, not only on the financial market, or even with Hollywood accounting, but everything.

Hat Tip – NFS, Deadline

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About James DeRuvo 341 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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