Blockchain is one of the most hyped technologies over the last years. It has the potential to disrupt existing and also to enable new business models and thus to be game changer in every industry thinkable. The media industry in not different. Blockchain introduces multiple solutions for current problems in the media industry, from uncovering fake news to alternative pricing schemes and ways to distribute royalties. Use cases are already emerging and some applications are ‘alive and happening’.
TACKLING FAKE NEWS
Recent US elections are a good example of the general public being introduced to fake news going viral with all the associated consequences. A scheme to use Blockchain to combat fake news, is to create a credible system of content ranking in which users will be rewarded for their feedback (similar to the Bitcoin transactions confirmation scheme). Journalists will publish their articles on a platform and other users and journalists will earn credits for supporting factual and investigative work. On the other hand, users as well journalists will lose credits when they support fake news.
Another scheme to tackle fake news is to use Blockchain as a source authenticity tool. Belgium-based KBC Bank, for example, started a Blockchain based initiative in order for its customers (and third parties) to check if press releases or presentations are actually authentic and provided by the KBC Bank.
DISTRIBUTION OF (ROYALTY) PAYMENTS
Another Blockchain use case in the media industry is the distribution of (royalty) payments for use of media content. Currently royalty schemes are based on various agreements between multiple stakeholders (performers/authors, producers, publishers, platform providers etc.). This results in a complex payment structure with little transparency. One of the most renowned Dutch DJ’s, DJ Hardwell was the first DJ to put his intellectual property rights into a Blockchain, serving as a third independent party that makes the payment process faster, more efficient and cheaper.
Blockchain technology may also be used to cut out the middle man and distribute media content directly to the user. Each content item is then uploaded on a Blockchain with an unique ID and time stamp. When a user downloads the media content published on the Blockchain, such usage will be recorded in the Blockchain enabling real-time pay-per-use pricing mechanisms directly between users and content creators. This still allows content distribution through content aggregators, but customer payments do not necessarily go through such aggregators anymore. Aggregators rather get paid in arrears by the content creators. Truly disruptive to current business models of content aggregators!