Interactive streaming has been one of the most popular industries for years now, ever since Netflix exploded, causing the launch of other streaming platforms. Given how SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) provides users with greater freedom and options to choose what they will watch, it is not surprising that this model went sky high in a few short years. But, with that said, there is a lot of censorship and geo-restrictions in modern-day interactive streaming, which is something that many would like to see changed. I reached out to James O Connor, CEO and founder of interactive streaming platform Vabble, in order to get an expert’s insight into the interactive streaming industry.
1) Let’s talk about what ‘interactive streaming’ actually means. What can you tell us about it?
Interactive Streaming is a digital environment where friends and families can come together digitally to enjoy streaming together without the restriction of distance and borders. But even just for communities or the person who likes to watch content alone, interactive streaming provides them a way to interact with others around the world in real time, right when they are all consuming the same film.
2) Do you think interactive streaming will eventually completely eliminate traditional television?
Traditional television was once a time when families would come around together and watch something. As time moved on, the world became more accessible, people left home and ventured to continents and thus, many families are now separated by hundreds of thousands of miles. I believe interactive streaming will bring people back to how they remember their childhoods and watching television and in time make traditional television redundant with the value add of not having to wait for a certain time for a film to be on and double checking the TV guide to make sure you have the right time and channel.
Also, younger generations are on mobile all the time now, using social media and on video calls with friends. Television is an old technology. Cinema is now becoming an old technology for them also. Interactive Streaming creates an environment for consuming film that merges these two different worlds together.
3) What are the benefits of interactive streaming on the blockchain?
The benefits of having streaming on blockchain is that it opens up content to users all round the world who many not otherwise see it be it due to geo-restrictions or otherwise. Like freedom of movement is a human right, so too should be the freedom of information and that is what film and documentaries are. They are theories developed into a screenplay for people’s enjoyment.
Having streaming on blockchain also opens the doors to innovate on the standard licensing deals in traditional TV and SVOD. As an example, companies could be looking at developing a sort of M.I.T licensing structure for film licensing on smart contracts which protects all parties involved and ensures the correct usage is still adhered to.
4) Do you think that blockchain can solve issues like censorship and geo-restrictions?
Yep. Definitely in most cases. We have to be careful about how we define censorship right?! We can’t just say 100% censorship resistant because companies still have to filter out films of terrorism and real life volient acts. User governance could be used to ensure streaming services do not host such vulgar acts against humanity.
As for Geo-restrictions, yes blockchain does indeed solve these issues without a doubt but I think resolving issues with licensing deals in order to coordinate against geo-restrictions would be the right route to move forward with.
5) What other blockchain-based services can be combined with an interactive streaming platform?
So many. Mostly, the blockchain albeit originally a financial system has morphed into something much more. It has the power to resolve the mentioned above, the geo-restrictions and censorship but it also has the power to resolve issues with film licensing through immutable and automated smart contracts.
For talent, backend film earnings can be put on the blockchain in the form of smart contracts so streaming companies cannot pull the content offline before backend film earnings are paid out. Blockchain has the power to allow users to vote on what content should be added to streaming service libraries next via a governance portal.
It has the power to develop a modern sustainable and automated economy that can support the film industry like traditional television and cinema has done for 60 years or more but cannot be done with current streaming providers.
6) Do you think there is a demand for blockchain-based interactive streaming?
Yes and no. Yes if people are aware of how blockchain works and are involved in the film industry directly. No for the common consumer but this is where the right companies with the right innovation will showcase why people should migrate to such services and thus induce demand.
7) The key seems to be educating people on how much they are missing by using traditional streaming platforms. Do you have a plan on how to do it?
Of course. Utilizing how we “remember” using television and going to the cinema, not what we were watching but the HOW we were watching, who we were watching the television and cinema with and why. The experience we had that we don’t necessarily have anymore for the most part. Creating resonance with the users based on nostalgia is a key to any plan like this.
Another key note is that most younger generations now use video chat apps to communicate with friends and family, doing something so simple as providing another layer to the video chat environment such as a social SVOD layer will educate younger generations.
8) Let’s talk about how Vabble can contribute to the niche. What kind of content do you plan to have on the platform?
Our content focus is on content produced to the writer’s true vision, that is not skewed by corporate agendas and edited for advertising purposes and pleasing partners. We want film and documentaries to be the full vision of their creator and ensure the creators know they have this freedom. We at vabble do not have options on what writers, directors and producers have to say.
If they believe their work speaks to an audience, we will provide them their stage. As an example, we like to use the film “Vaxxed”. A well known documentary surrounded in controversy was removed from Netflix due to its “sensitive” nature and not aligning with political narratives and agendas being pursued by these companies. On Vabble, we don’t hold such views and as i mentioned, if the writer, director or producer believes there is an audience for it, we will provide the stage.
We will begin by populating our library with independent film and move more towards larger film studios later. By starting with independent film we allow ourselves to set the quality standard threshold and thus people will begin to know what type of quality to expect.
9) What do you hope to achieve by offering independent chat for every piece of content?
A social experience for those who still want to consume content on their own but want to chat with like minded folk and discuss the theories and such they have during or after watching a piece of content. It brings people together around a centerpiece they all have in common at that very moment in time.
10) Do you think blockchain-based interactive streaming could someday do to Netflix what Netflix is doing to traditional television?
Yes, definitely. I believe it is the way forward. Current SVODs are missing a key element to the experience and interactive streaming merges the best of both the old experience from television and cinema and the “new” streaming platforms such as netflix, hulu, prime.
Disclosure: The author does not have any vested interest in the projects mentioned above.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article belong to the author alone. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before making any investment decisions.
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