When streaming media providers Netflix and Hulu started changing the way people watched movies and TV shows, content was king, and that content belonged to the major networks and film production houses. It has been a mighty long struggle but new content producers are gradually gaining control.
When it comes to viewer’s entertainment the keys are content selection/curation, fame, and fortune. From the US to Europe and Asia, when surveyed about their preferred occupation, children are ranking “becoming a YouTuber” among their top career choices, even above becoming doctors and scientists. The next generation aspires to be the next celebrity video game reviewer like Daniel Middleton, who earns approximately $16.5 million annually, or sports entertainers Cory and Cobby Cotton, who earn an envious $14 million.
Netflix and Hulu have not only survived but thrived and added new viewers in the face of competition from YouTubers and user-generated content. They accomplished this by becoming content creators. After years of struggling with thin profit margins due to the high fees of the big content houses like Time Warner and HBO, these media streamers are now producing their own blockbusters.
Blockchain startups are now seeking to lure viewers from the traditional and user-generated content streaming video services by providing the opportunity for even more revenue streams and fame.
Should Netflix and its growing library of original TV shows and movies be worried? When it comes to actual viewing habits, younger viewers are rating YouTube stars Daniel Middleton and PewDiePie as more popular than traditional entertainment celebrities. But, as Netflix’s rapid global growth over the last few years shows, there is demand in the market for all these genres—film, TV shows and homemade video content.
Netflix is currently the leader in streaming video with 117 million users worldwide, however, its road to profitability has been a bumpy one. In the early days, it was beholden to the content kingmakers but today it is a story-maker, and global audiences are enchanted. “The company is becoming a way to curate some of the world’s best storytellers and to share their content everywhere,” says CEO Reed Hastings in a recent Wired interview.
Netflix has responded to stalled growth at home by more than doubling its international presence with the addition of 130 new countries. To supply the local content that will jive with local viewers, Netflix expects to create 1,000 original series in 2018 in an effort to replicate US hits like “Stranger Things” and “Bright”.
Netflix’s $8 billion spend on originals in 2018 is now inline with that of the traditional content kingmakers—Disney, Time Warner, NBC and HBO. The high cost of content, however, is weighing down profits.
In 2017, Netflix’s revenue increased 31 percent to $11.6 billion while profits jumped 300 percent to $558 million. Viewers, however, are spending less time on Netflix as the alternative choices for content are growing and new opportunities to make money as viewers arise.
Hulu is one of the services providing new content choices with the introduction of Live TV. Hulu has amassed 20 million US viewers focusing on original TV programming and hits like the “Handmaid’s Tale”. The US-only TV show streamer chose to compete more directly with DirectTV and SlingTV than Netflix. Not surprisingly, the entertainment streamer part, owned by Walt Disney and HBO is currently involved in a big rollout of more traditional TV and movie content.
Hulu is repositioning its content once again, by spinning out Live TV programs across 50 on demand channels. Major TV networks such as ESPN, A&E, and Disney channels are among the offerings for $40 a month. Subscribers also get access to Hulu’s streaming TV shows and movies. SHOWTIME®, HBO and Cinemax are premium add-ons. Live TV, which is now available on Xbox 360, is in beta.
Like Netflix, Hulu may have to pursue global expansion for long-term revenue growth. By going the Live TV route, Hulu does not have the huge production expenses of Netflix but it is still beholden to the content kingmakers and their high fees.
Both Netflix and Hulu are increasingly competing with user-generated content platforms for viewer attention. The dinosaur of the homemade video domain hosts a billion viewers watching a billion hours of video a day.
Most content producers on YouTube are not getting rich. The median annual income for YouTubers is between $12,000 and $16,000, meaning most are not earning above the 2017 US poverty line of $15,060 for an individual, according to a study published by the International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies (YouTube channels, uploads and views: A statistical analysis of the past 10 years, by Mathias Bartl).
Entertainment videos make up about one-quarter of all YouTube views, followed by music (17%) and games (13%). Eighty-five percent of views go to the top three percent of channels, and the majority of these channels have been on YouTube for a long time. These statistics give newcomers incentive to seek out other social entertainment platforms in search of higher earnings.
Numerous new video, sports and entertainment platforms launched on blockchain-powered platforms like Steemit are seeking to win the viewing attention of YouTubers by providing content producers and viewers more incentives to use their sites. DTube on STEEM provides cryptocurrency incentives and no censorship of videos by central authorities. Instead, users censor content through upvotes and downvotes. In February, the video host had 4.4 million visitors.
Content produced on the blockchain could give future content creators the freedom, financial stability, and opportunities that they are dreaming of. TaTaTu was one of the first on the blockchain with a new generation of social entertainment that is paying a higher percentage of the revenues to content producers and viewers.
On the blockchain, peers transact directly. By removing the need for centralized transaction management, the blockchain cuts out the high middleman fees charged by traditional social networks like YouTube and Facebook. YouTube keeps 68 percent of the revenues on average.
TaTaTu not only gives more of the revenues to users but provides more ways of earning revenues. Members of TaTaTu can earn tokens (TTU) by producing, adding, watching and sharing videos, movies, music, and sports. TaTaTu members also earn tokens for their data, which they control and can sell to advertisers. In this entertainment meritocracy, token holders vote on what type of content one can stream on the site.
Moving to a new entertainment provider no longer has to be a compromise. Social media consumers often have to make a trade-off. Do I watch videos for tokens on the new site but miss my favorite YouTube videos? On TaTaTu, traditional media can still be accessed through premium memberships. An enticing advantage is that the TaTaTu tokens earned can be used to buy content subscriptions, reducing the entertainment bill of users. YouTube and other popular social media content can be streamed on the site.
Users have more control over content rights and revenue streams. Because transaction activity on the Blockchain is transparent, it is trackable and auditable. TaTaTu provides real-time reporting of the IPs of viewers and financial activity. Content owners can verify that traffic is coming from legitimate viewers and not bots run by affiliate marketers.