The entertainment industry is growing rapidly, with revenues projected to grow from $27.86bn in 2022 to $48.76bn by 2027, according to Statista. But are creators and artists benefiting from this jump? An app called ReelStar was created to rebalance the economics of content creation, engagement and value for both creators and their fans, with the help of blockchain technology. In an exclusive interview with BroadcastPro ME, Nick Bahl explains how blockchain can transform the media and entertainment sector.
How would you describe Reelstar in a nutshell?
ReelStar is the first ‘everything app’ developed from the ground up on a decentralised Web3 multi-blockchain platform with integrated live streaming, video sharing, peer-to-peer chat, audio/video calling, NFT minting, NFT marketplace and a digital wallet with special functionalities.
What prompted you to come up with this app?
ReelStar was created in response to a need for a more democratised and equitable entertainment ecosystem. We saw that the traditional media and entertainment ecosystems are almost entirely controlled by a small number of established corporations, and these favour a business model for artists that have mass appeal over small and independent creators. Their business model requires audiences in the millions; the direct result is a lack of diversity in both content and creators. Globalisation of media and entertainment is almost a given. We strongly believe that the world needs more diverse content that will support and maintain local cultures and entertainment while providing a fairer compensation for the creators who appeal to smaller audiences.
The rise of blockchain technology and the increasing popularity of NFTs provided an opportunity to create a new type of entertainment platform that can be more secure, transparent and fairer and more accessible for all parties involved. How entertainment is delivered and consumed is rapidly evolving, and the mobile device as an entertainment platform is now in the majority. ReelStar was designed as a mobile-first platform to address the multiple issues that have plagued the industry. Almost 85% of the world has a smartphone and, through our platform, that is all they need to have a fair and equal chance to be a part of the global entertainment industry.
What’s your background?
I’ve had 13 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. As the founder of Sizzlen Productions in Australia, I have formed many strong friendships with artists and other major players in the industry. We heard from many artists, even at the top of their field, that they were not being fairly compensated for their creativity and due to the contractual nature and business model of the industry were severely restricted in developing their own creativity outside of the mass market appeal that was the sole criteria for the industry behemoths. I believe that artists have a great role to play in and desire to improve the world, and I really want to help them achieve that.
When was ReelStar launched? In which markets are you seeing the most traction?
Reel Star was only incorporated in September 2022; we have not even reached the 12-month anniversary, but in that time we have launched our utility token on four exchanges, including one in the top ten. We have distributed beta versions of our app on both Apple and Android platforms and continue to develop and improve on our offering. We have also seen interest from 14 countries and are working hard to accommodate the differing requirements in those markets and regions.
Are you looking to partner with any companies in various sectors to attract more users?
We are to increase our user base primarily through our user base. We have extended our relationships with marketing companies and influencers affiliated with multiple social media and other platforms. We have had ongoing discussions with a number of multinationals with significant global presence to join our product offerings with theirs and their audience. We expect to have some major announcements shortly.
How do you see people using various aspects of your platform?
Let’s take the example of a musician who wants to use ReelStar to showcase their work, engage with fans and monetise their content.
- Content creation: The musician can create and upload their music videos on ReelStar, which can be discovered and viewed by users worldwide. They can also create short-form videos, similar to TikTok, to promote their music and engage with their audience.
- Live streaming: The musician can use our live streaming feature to host virtual concerts and interact with their fans in real time. They can also monetise these live streams through ticket sales or donations from viewers.
- NFT minting: The musician can create exclusive, limited edition digital collectibles, such as concert posters or album art, using ReelStar’s NFT minting feature. These can be sold to fans as unique, one-of-a-kind items that they can own and trade.
- Digital wallet: The musician can use ReelStar’s digital wallet to manage their earnings from content monetisation and NFT sales. They can also use it to purchase virtual goods or tip other creators on the platform.
- Peer-to-peer chat: The musician can use the app’s peer-to-peer chat feature to communicate with fans and collaborate with other artists.
- An artist with a song but no video can reach out to the global community for patronage or partnership to create the music video and to share profits with both producers and patrons, where security and transparency are fully realised through smart contract technology.
Overall, ReelStar provides a one-stop-shop for content creation, distribution and monetisation for not only independent musicians but any content creator in any form, providing them with a global audience and multiple revenue streams. Even established artists and content creators can benefit from the in-app monetisation platform which maximises returns to the creator and not the media company.
Is your platform targeted at DIY creators or creators in the professional market?
It’s for everyone, essentially. Our platform is intended to allow democratic access to not only the technology but also the audience. The platform can benefit everyone, no matter what stage of creativity and profession they are in. We have in place education, tools and support to help newcomers find their feet, grow and improve in leaps and bounds before an appreciative audience willing to compensate them for their creativity and the benefit they provide to the audience.
If Web3 is all about protecting privacy, how are you looking to harvest consumer data?
This is not an issue for us, as we do not rely on advertising revenue to sustain our platform. We, therefore, do not need to collect ever more information about our users to try and sell to advertisers. Our platform is the stepping stone to a genuine Web3 platform where consumers search for and find what they want, without any targeting by advertisers and/or corporations. Their searches are not used to try and influence further transactions. The only thing we do is ensure that our platform is the fertile ground needed for creators who in turn will share their harvest with a global audience.
One of the concerns with NFT and blockchain is the carbon footprint. How are you addressing this?
Yes, we took steps right from the beginning to minimise our carbon footprint. Our token runs on a blockchain using a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which is significantly less energy-intensive compared to all other consensus algorithms relied upon by many other blockchains. Our blockchain was carbon-neutral last year and is expected to be carbon-negative this year.
Furthermore, we are committed to raising awareness with all our users about the whole global environment, not just the environmental impact of NFTs and blockchain technology. We encourage them to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint as well. Ultimately, by working together, we can create a more sustainable and eco-friendlier blockchain ecosystem.
What are the prime challenges to monetising your app?
It has always been our intent to build something new and dynamic that would disrupt the current inequities in the media and entertainment industry. If we can quote from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Our genuine belief is that as more and more content creators see the vision that our platform is aiming to deliver, we will see much greater success towards our end goals. We are a startup without the resources of corporations that have effectively profited from their respective monopolies, at a cost to both the creator and the audience.
Our growth is and will continue to be exponential. Although we are starting from a small user base, it is growing; and like our competitors did, we fully expect that this growth will address the prime challenge – creators need an audience and an audience needs content. The world today has a much more voracious appetite and discernment for content. We know our platform is the solution to this growing need, and that it will do so by treating creators and audience fairly and democratically.