I shared on my first blog post, about the opportunities that awaits disruption in this 240 billion-dollar industry in content retailing alone. And that excludes the 60 billion content sponsorship dollars that brands spend annually, which would bring the industry worth to 300 billion US dollars.
For a large and mature industry, it is unbelievable that it still takes a broadcaster 3 – 6 months of manual effort to acquire a title. Huge inefficiencies and friction mean that typically 40% of the value is lost to the friction. In addition, much of the metadata and rights management in this industry continue to be managed on excel spreadsheets, with each party to the transaction employing teams of people just to maintain these records manually, resulting in low productivity and umpteen reworks on what should have been ideally digitally shared knowledge. The result, not enough value gets passed back to the creative people who make the content, and audiences get poorer content as a result.
In short, everyone loses.
Vuulr seeks to solve these problems with our two pillars, The Vuulr Foundation and The Vuulr Marketplace.
The Vuulr Foundation
There are 3 separate non-profit trade associations, namely EIDR, MovieLabs and EMA, whose remit is to address these problems at a strategic level and to develop standard documentation and frameworks, so that the industry may collaborate more efficiently with each of the party in the supply chain. EIDR is the Entertainment Identifier Registry, who are the issuers of unique identity for TV and film assets. MovieLabs created a standard for the Digital Distribution Framework which includes a template for common metadata. EMA is the Entertainment Merchants Association who created a standard for the Avails Data (Availability Rights Management).
While these standards are not yet adopted worldwide, they have already been well-accepted and adopted by many key players in the US. Organisations like Google and Netflix are starting to mandate that content must come coded to the standards that these trade associations have defined, in order to manage their internal processes more efficiently. So, rather than have to reinvent that wheel and develop Vuulr’s own version, it is clearly beneficial to build a relationship with these standard bodies. We are partnering with them to help, to be their proponent.
We will invest time and effort to raise the awareness within the industry about these standards, and the benefits that adopting them will bring in speed, automation and reduction in cost. We will also build Blockchain-based utilities based on these standards, that will be shared for everyone in the industry to use.
We will be doing this under the Vuulr Foundation — an organisation that is not-profit-oriented, designed to develop blockchain tools and platforms to assist the entire industry, bringing network effects and so release huge amounts of value in the supply chain.
Having an effective supply-chain for the industry in place, makes the deployment of a marketplace much easier, because the marketplace simply sits on top of the data managed by the supply chain.
The Vuulr Marketplace
Let us wind the clock back for a moment to understand why a marketplace is key in this point of time. The content industry used to be relatively simple. There was a national broadcaster, who was broadcasting in one language in one country, and as a content owner, you could happily jump on the plane, go to each of the main geographies and sell a single country rights package to one country in one language and work would be done. Everything was much simpler, free-to-air was the main right, and national broadcasters would only buy within their national boundaries. The only variable was primarily time.
But as we fast forward to today, we now have a huge complexity because on-top of those national broadcasters, there are regional players and online players, such as Netflix and Amazon, who are in +200 countries. Netflix alone, is raising 1.6 billion to acquire quality content in this battle.
When someone like Netflix buys a title, they need it in 30 – 40 languages but they only buy a single rights type, S-VOD (Subscription Video On-Demand). Local S-VOD players, like iFlix in Asia/Africa, are also in the market for content, each having their own footprint. The complexity has gone up exponentially in the blink of an eye for an industry that is “a little resistant to change”.
So, if we can move fast and execute on this vision, implementing the blockchain in a very natural use case to support this industry in its transformation, we can help this US$240 billion industry to transact with much less friction. In business terms, when you remove the friction, you remove the cost.
Friction destroys value. Friction in this case is the amount of painstaking manual effort it currently takes to search for content, check availability, negotiate a rights package and then keep track of the contractual position. Add to this the effort it often takes find or in many cases re-create (done by again and again by each broadcaster /OTT ) the metadata for the title (the information needed for the on-screen guide)
if less of the revenue that the consumer is generating evaporates in the process of doing the business, then more is left to be invested in acquisition and funding of more and better content. Consumers are happier, they churn less making broadcasters happier, and higher spends on content, makes the content production industry happier.
In short, everybody stands to gain.
Democratisation to support young film makers
The one thing I am very personally excited about is the democratisation that the marketplace brings.
Because distribution is such a high friction process, the middlemen (distributors) are extremely cautious and selective about what they take on board. The equivalent is Borders Bookshop that used to sit on Orchard Road in Singapore. Orchard Road boosts some of our highest rent here, and that meant Borders had to be extremely selective about the titles they stock. Every yard and shelf are pressured to be packed with hit books. They couldn’t afford to take anything mid or long tail because of the cost.
So, if you are John Grisham, yes you would have your shelf space, but if you were a brand-new author who was unknown, forget it, you would never get listed.
It’s the same today with the broadcast content industry. If you are a young but incredibly bright and creative content creator, you will have an incredibly tough time getting your content in front of the people who, if they saw it, would love it and pay you well for it.
But the entry barrier is simply too high to get there. So, one of the things that excites me a lot about what we are doing at Vuulr, is democratising that process.
Because we are doing it digitally, we don’t suffer the problem of only needing to host the hits. We can go further into the mid and the long tail for the content. And that means we can work with independent film festivals, look at all the incredible content that is coming through, and pick the really good stuff that is coming up. When put it on our platform, everybody, from Netflix and Amazon, to all of the broadcasters around the world, have the opportunity to see it, consider it and maybe buy it!
I hope this will give a whole new generation of young, creative content creators the break they need.
Disruption is a Collective Vision
Disruption is a big word. But disruption is not only about the implementation of technology but the enablement of people and the economy of things.
Vuulr has a complex task ahead of us and we recognise we need a collective effort from the trade industry, the blockchain tech community and the end consumers to make our vision a reality. Our team and advisors came on board with strong support and conviction, and this gives me the absolute confidence to bring Vuulr to where we need to be.
We hope you would join us to be a part of this journey to Create a New Broadcast Content Economy.
Join us on our communication channels on social media. We would love to hear from you.
Twitter : The Vuulr Team
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/vuulr
Telegram : http://t.me/vuulr
Ian McKee is the Chief Executive Officer of Vuulr. Connect with Ian on his Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/iandmckee/