Why the streaming industry needs NFTs
Subscription video on demand (SVOD) giants are losing subscribers at a higher rate in today’s media landscape. How can SVODs such as Netflix increase their user bases while generating multiple revenue streams? NFTs offer one solution.
NFTs can be powerful marketing tools for SVOD brands / Adobe Stock
Netflix has veered from its years-long track record of user growth, losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year. The underlying reason is obvious: the media consumption landscape has changed. For one thing, as indicated in Amagi’s Streaming TV Industry report, viewers are now spending more time than ever before on mobile devices to consume content.
Recent headlines – and the precipitous drop of Netflix’s stock prices – show that the battle lines in the so-called “streaming wars” have shifted. What was once a competition to create the most compelling content has turned into a struggle to turn casual viewers into long-term subscribers. To fund the new battle, some streaming companies are considering a move to an ad-based model – which they’re reluctant to do, fearing potential pushback from viewers.
New channels = new revenue streams
I’m not talking about new TV channels – I’m talking about new content distribution channels. Conceptually, there’s not much of a difference between the two. A channel is a specific mode of consuming content, as well as a specific mode of engaging with content.
SVOD giants may have a far better option to create new revenue streams while also building loyalty. And they can do it with the same approach that put streaming video on the map in the first place: taking a leap of faith and using new technologies to offer new experiences.
If SVOD brands use the tools that already exist today to give subscribers a stake in the shows they love, those subscribers can quickly be transformed into brand ambassadors.
Many people consider NFTs to be incomprehensible, a scam, or both. And this is exactly why SVOD providers should be taking them seriously. Not so long ago, similar skepticism was being directed at the internet.
The “crypto winter” has arguably made the web3 space even stronger than it was before. It has trimmed the fat, so to speak; opportunists and bad actors are being exposed and left behind.
Those who snubbed the internet in the beginning had to play catch-up. Those who embraced it gained a significant competitive edge.
The same is likely to ultimately prove true with NFTs.
Viewers today want more than just great content – they want to be a part of the action, closer to the talent and story. They want to be part of a community with others who share their passions. They want to identify themselves as tastemakers, active participants in something that others are only watching from the sidelines.
SVOD companies already have premium content that attracts viewers. All they need to do is to tap into a new generation of fan behavior. NFTs can help them do exactly that.
NFTs have turned into the ultimate social media flex. They’re a way for fans to express their super-fandom – that they’ve committed loyalty to a particular person, brand, idea or lifestyle. And this is precisely where the opportunity lies for SVOD brands.
A NFT series that’s modeled after a particular show, for example, can translate into increased social media attention toward that show and the beginning of a superfan community that doubles as a powerful marketing team. SVODs can also leverage NFTs to offer new experiences to fans: a top-tier NFT, for example, could open the door to a Zoom meeting with one of their favorite actors, an invitation to an in-person event or even the opportunity to land a role as an extra.
Here’s the bottom line: the battle lines of the streaming wars will continue to move. In this new technological age that we’re entering, NFTs can be powerful tools both for fostering fan communities and sparking new modes of marketing.
Teddy Zee is a film and television producer with over thirty years of experience in Hollywood. He’s served as executive vice-president at Columbia Pictures, senior vice-president at Paramount Pictures and is a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (Oscars), Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys) and Producers Guild of America. He’s also the co-founder and chief business officer at MINTNFT.
For more, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.