India must revolutionize its digital media industry with blockchain

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India has greater than 65% of ut population beneath the age of 35, with the typical age nationwide being 29 years previous. Moreover, out of India’s 1.3 billion individuals, solely half at present use cell phones, and fewer than half of this quantity are smartphones.

Despite the fact that India is without doubt one of the world’s most populated nations, web utilization remains at 41%, with 700 million Indians at present related to the web. This leaves unimaginable room for development in India, which lags behind different rising economies on the subject of each web entry and smartphone possession. This huge, underserved inhabitants has lengthy been the goal of worldwide entrepreneurs and mega tech firms.

A $5-billion alternative

In accordance with a survey, roughly 84% of Indian customers entry the web for leisure functions. In 2019, there was a surge in over-the-top, or OTT, streaming, each audio and video, primarily pushed by unique content material and sport. For example, the cricket World Cup streamed on OTT platforms.

And there’s additionally the Bollywood impact — a wave of migration of film stars from the massive display onto streaming providers. That is an effort to faucet into loyal fan bases and hack adoption. It could even be good enterprise. In accordance with one report, India’s OTT streaming market is predicted to be valued at $5 billion by 2023.

This market is at present led by the likes of Hotstar (a subsidiary of Disney), which has over 300 million customers. Different large gamers corresponding to YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix, in addition to home providers, corresponding to Eros Now, Voot, Zee5, Arre and ALT Balaji, are build up their content material libraries to win market share in India.

On the music streaming facet, there are quite a few choices. Nonetheless, regardless of this selection, there’s nonetheless criticism over how streaming providers allow the very mannequin that a lot of them initially sought to disrupt. Whether or not it was by design or accidentally, these platforms have grow to be the brand new gatekeepers of digital content material and distribution.

Streaming reimagined

Technological revolutions are all the time carried out on the backs of idealists who typically lack political clout however are pushed by a burning need for change. Many variations of this revolution are at present underway. They’re reshaping industries, washing away the inspiration of legacy enterprise and letting individuals construct new and higher techniques. But, on the subject of digital media, there’s a well-entrenched establishment that is still.

Most streaming suppliers at present supply both pay-to-play subscriptions or extractive ad-based techniques that aggressively monetize their customers’ consideration. However what if there was a greater strategy to meet digital content material shoppers’ wants whereas addressing limitations in present media fashions? There’s, and that’s thanks, partially, to know-how, that’s grow to be extra commercially viable in the previous few years.

Constructing a brand new basis

Lately, blockchain know-how has emerged as a transformative pressure in a number of points of private and non-private sector operations. Its promise of decentralized possession, immutability and cryptographic information safety has turned various heads.

In India, blockchain use instances are getting explored, and the know-how is experiencing demand in banking, insurance coverage, logistics and healthcare. Though it’s largely monetary gamers which are the primary movers to capitalize on this know-how, others are following. We’ve moved previous the stage the place, in sensible phrases, blockchain was slightly greater than a buzzword. Now the hype has quieted, and extra real-world implementations exist.

Digital content material on the blockchain

A number of blockchain-connected initiatives have cropped as much as present a substitute for the rising hegemony of the streaming platforms. When it comes to digital content material, the know-how is fascinating from many angles. First, it doubtlessly lessens the facility held by company gatekeepers. It is because, at its core, it permits for the storage and processing of information in a distributed method with out interference from a central physique.

By distributing energy extra equitably, blockchain know-how presents the potential of redefining the connection between content material producers, manufacturers and viewers. And that is its most enjoyable promise as a result of in doing so, it alters enterprise fashions and might construct techniques with direct participation and advantages for all stakeholders.

New options

A blockchain-powered video-on-demand platform stands to simplify interactions. For content material creators, a main profit is the removing of middleman providers. On the identical time, prospects can reap the benefits of the pay-per-view mannequin, a major departure from commonplace subscription fashions. Nevertheless it can be taken a step additional.

A blockchain-backed VoD platform may be designed to allow customers to derive worth for contributing their consideration, engagement and information to the community. This can be a key improve the place monetary inclusion is anxious. As a substitute of being handled as a commodity, getting charged for entry or being bombarded with adverts, customers will be capable to earn for watching content material and interesting with the group. These rewards might come within the type of blockchain-based rewards — a profit to customers, in addition to an engine to drive loyalty and development on the platform itself.

Such fashions tackle points corresponding to income dilution for content material creators, copyright issues and — vital in a rustic like India — financial entry to media. Moreover, in some instances, creators should cope with misplaced monetization alternatives attributable to distribution inefficiency, non-transparent earnings and unjustified proper attributions — additional points that blockchain’s introduction is poised to resolve.

On the person facet, a system with new, blockchain-based incentives removes the necessity to fear about information privateness in the best way one would possibly below a freemium mannequin. Such a community is trustless and safe by design, using confirmed encryption schemes over a few years. Lastly, whereas centralized providers may be censored, managed and even taken offline, decentralized networks stay censorship-resistant.

Higher incentives

Piracy and unlawful file-sharing is a serious concern for digital content material creators and distributors, and it’s primarily fueled by value boundaries. The result’s that producers aren’t correctly compensated, and advertisers trying to find a target market get ignored or skipped. Particularly, this can be a downside for manufacturers that crave a extra direct, insight-driven relationship with shoppers.

It’s attainable to resolve these issues by harnessing blockchain’s distinctive traits to extend transparency and disintermediate the connection between shoppers and types. For example, proof protocols make it attainable to observe utilization precisely and watch charges, ship real-time engagement information, and reward customers for consideration. This undercuts the person incentive for piracy and compensates content material house owners. It additionally creates a extra direct, insight-rich relationship between advertisers and shoppers.

Closing ideas

Whereas the variety of web customers and smartphone house owners is trending upward, India encompasses a distinctive confluence of things: a younger, tech-hungry populace and comparatively low penetration charges for digital know-how. Not solely that, however due to the COVID-19 lockdown, India’s month-to-month lively web person base is estimated to develop sooner than anticipated by 2021. Over the subsequent 5 years, the variety of customers is projected to be near 1 billion.

The present provision of digital content material in India is rife with issues — centralized energy, poor person expertise, fragmented markets, piracy and structural restrictions — that restrict client selection. Blockchain know-how offers the spine wanted to revolutionize digital media by enabling improvements to buyer expertise, data-driven engagement and ecosystem economics for the advantage of the group.

The imaginative and prescient and the know-how are there; what stays is combating the incumbents and educating shoppers that there’s a greater digital world.

This text doesn’t comprise funding recommendation or suggestions. Each funding and buying and selling transfer entails danger, and readers ought to conduct their very own analysis when making a call.

The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed here are the writer’s alone and don’t essentially replicate or signify the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Mario Casiraghi is the chief monetary officer and chief technique officer of Xfinite International, a blockchain-powered international leisure platform. Mario has been enmeshed within the blockchain sector since 2016, first because the founding father of DandYlion and as a companion at Blockchain Resolution Companions. He beforehand labored in conventional finance markets, each at Financial institution of America Merrill Lynch and at RBS.