15-05-2020

FNE AV Innovation: Cinemarket - Coming Soon To Your Screens

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Cinemarket is building a film and TV industry blockchain ecosystem that sustainably eliminates opaqueness in intellectual property (IP) rights management, sales performance and revenue distribution. With the correct tools, European film and TV can make better rights deals, track revenues accurately, save valuable time and money. The additional revenues could be redirected to create more productions and solving these issues will increase European film and TV sales in all global markets.

cinemarket logoHow it all began

Cinemarket grew out of the realisation that screen entertainment in all its forms - cinema, television, long, short, serialised or one-off - is experiencing an evolutionary upheaval. There are deep divisions between the technological capabilities of production, consumption and the business of buying and selling rights that connects the two. These divisions reflect the contradictory underlying assumptions between buyers and sellers versus the desires of producers and consumers. The result is a critical under-powering of future production ability and ultimately an under-serving of audiences.

We are more capable than ever of making and consuming content and less capable than ever of managing rights and revenues, which play a crucial role in matching supply to demand with fair, profitable deals. Revenue pipelines are the opposite of transparent and great portions of them are being siphoned away to aggregating, inflexible intermediary bodies. The impact on future project financing is asymmetric, unfair rights deals, which disadvantage individual creativity and prevent free-moving collaboration, especially amongst new, rising talent. 

This is all happening in the face of increasing audience demand and indeed, audience numbers. Digitised content is continent-hopping with every click, tap and swipe and yet audiences still feel starved of choice when it comes to content. Ironically at the same time, producers and creatives, especially in the independent sector, are increasingly frustrated that their stories are unable to get in front of audiences.

Simply put, what are the problems?

The simplest of saying it is that new business is being done with old thinking. A very modern industry is using outdated technological assumptions and tools. The majority of film and TV makers, who are small or medium sized operators, are unable to perform three essential tasks: easily register and manage content rights, track revenues and get exposure to the widest possible sales and distribution opportunities. Rights and revenues tracking is often lost in the confusion of multiple deals across the world and multiple contracts needing to be renewed over the years. Very few producers, even big operators, get the reporting they need. When it’s so hard to keep track of who owns what, and when it’s so hard to know how much money is being made, it’s almost impossible to negotiate good deals.

Addressing the final task that producers are unable to easily perform - getting the widest exposure to sales and distribution, this too is rooted in a byegone business model - it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In the age of Skype communication and Spotify content discovery it is still an incredible fact that there is no widely adopted digital global marketplace for buying and selling film rights. Although there are disparate services that perform individual functions. There is no one place where you can do it all. Register rights, get market exposure and track revenues. Finally, the root of the problem therefore lies in the very first step: the lack of a reliable, public and transparent registry of rights that everyone can use.

So what’s Cinemarket doing about it?

Cinemarket is already on the road to solving the above problems with the support of Creative Europe Media, the Media Tech Hub Accelerator and ILB (Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg). The first step is a marketplace where film and TV content from all over the world can be discovered and we’re just days away from launching V2 of our platform, which is already populated with hundreds of titles. We’re also on the way towards the creation of a global registry of rights which, in turn, will provide a solid foundation for tracking the rights of projects.

To begin with, Cinemarket’s tools are freely accessible to all. Commission is only collected on sales that are generated through the platform and the percentage of commission represents savings on current sales and distribution charges. However, Cinemarket’s ambition for the registry of rights goes far beyond commercial interests. We believe that the registry will perform a public good for all European countries and, ultimately, the global film and TV community.

In terms of efficiency the complete lifecycle of an asset is managed on a single, unified platform and all parties to a film and TV project look at the same data, all the time.

Producers benefit by gaining greater exposure to a larger variety of creatives on one hand and to sales agents and distributors on the other.

The advantage for sales agents and distributors is to have access to a broader selection of content, which makes it easier for them to fulfill their specific catalogue needs.

EU Film funds and governmental archive-managing agencies improve their abilities to track all funding and sale aspects of the projects they support. This joining of capabilities has a built-in head start to success. Cinemarket brings the technology and EU funds bring their data.

Lastly, this will all connect to a payment solution that flows revenues back to the rights holders in the registry so that everyone knows how much money was made.

How does Blockchain help?

We propose a new way of thinking about using blockchains. Although much of the initial language of blockchain is rooted in decentralisation, Cinemarket has grown to form a mature, real world perspective, not only on the technology, but more importantly on the best practices to adopt for film and TV.

Our research and development results lead us to the conclusion that on the basis of an open, decentralised infrastructure, Cinemarket should centralise worldwide license trading at the bookkeeping level. Establishing industry standards in the form of computer and network protocols means that license trading can still take place "peer-to-peer", but each transaction is stored in a common register - a blockchain - which ultimately leads to an overview of who owns which rights to a film at any time.

Since blockchain systems ultimately include money and the transfer of digital values and assets as core features, such a register of rights automatically enables direct payment of rights holders.

The ultimate benefit to European film and TV is that a registry of rights will be the foundation layer of a multi-resource network. One that comprises a combination of tech that is built, services that are made interoperable and legacy institutions that evolve into a new collaborative, connected structure.

It’s A Wrap!

All parties within film and TV stand to benefit from savings of costs, time and money because of increased efficiency throughout the rights chain and revenue waterfall. Less time will be spent on rights searches and verifications. Revenue distribution can be streamlined with the triggering of automated smart contracts. All relevant information will remain transparently recorded on a blockchain, secure for future generations of film/tv industry players.

Come take a look and learn more about Cinemarket. Click HERE.

Our thanks to FNE for their support and for inviting us to publish this article.

We remain grateful for the support of Creative Europe Media, the Media Tech Hub Accelerator and ILB (Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg).

 

About the authors:Raiomond Mirza and Adrian Lugol

Raiomond Mirza - Producer, Composer, Writer and Blockchain Tech manager, Raiomond is currently the Operations Consultant for Cinemarket

Adrian Lugol - Cinemarket CEO and Founder