NFT Cineverse movie platform promises to boost independent cinema

The founder of blockchain-based movie sales platform Cinemarket is launching Cineverse, an ambitious start-up that will enable filmmakers, distributors and producers to market movies directly using blockchain and NFT technology.

Created by Cinemarket CEO Adrian Lugol and partners Vincent Lopez and Daniel Siegler (pictured), Cineverse will allow users to buy, share, gift, sell and resell movies on the platform.

The idea for the project came to Lugol at Christmas 2020, when he wanted to give his young nephew DVDs of his favorite movies. The plan was thwarted when he learned that the family no longer owned an old-fashioned DVD player.

“I was like, wow, how am I going to give you these movies in a simple way?” Lugol remembers. Online access to some of the movies was also limited, and unless you’re still using DVDs, it’s not possible to gift someone a movie, he adds.

Later, while running Cinemarket, Lugol realized that movie licenses could be traded between two people. Already working with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain – he began exploring how this technology could be used to support independent filmmakers as well.

“It was funny that at the same time we were developing this, the NFT trend exploded.”

The growing frustration of independent filmmakers with the state of the industry has become very evident in recent years, says Lugol, from bad deals offered by major streamers and the increasing legal complexity of doing business to the impact of the crisis. of COVID-19 on film festivals.

“As soon as we pitched this idea to two or three groups of producers and directors, they all loved it. So we had to build it.

Lugol points out that of the 80,000 films produced worldwide each year, few find distribution deals. Cineverse can help by providing an open platform that allows filmmakers and distributors to sell content directly to audiences using social media principles, like creating communities where movies can be discussed, shared, and sold.

Key to the project is its eventual and complete decentralization, in part to ensure its long-term existence. “I think we will no longer own the company in two years. We want the community to own it,” says Lugol. “To have a proper decentralized platform, you can’t have a Netflix or a Google controlling it.”

Once you’ve found the “product-market fit,” you can go down the path of decentralization, Lugol points out.

Lugol and his partners also plan to eventually transform the project into a foundation.

Part of the reason for this structure is the anticipated pushback Cineverse could get from major media companies. “We have to be very vigilant,” he says.

As a platform for independent cinema, Cineverse also provides opportunities for filmmakers from different parts of the world who would normally not have the chance to reach international audiences and have found themselves unable to enter markets in Europe and North America,” says Lugol. It will also benefit audiences eager to embrace greater diversity in filmmaking. “I think an artist’s voice, when true, is recognized around the world,” he adds.

While funding movies via NFTs and blockchain already exists, it can be difficult without the kind of infrastructure Cineverse offers, namely a transparent payment system, says Lugol.

“What we offer, and we do it for free, is that when someone pays, even if there are three to five rights holders, everyone automatically gets their share when the payment is made.”

The efficiency of the code makes legal paperwork and lawyers superfluous, he adds.

Rightsholders can use Cineverse in a variety of ways, such as selling a limited number of collector’s editions as part of a marketing strategy, or simply to have a movie always on offer.

“And if you buy a movie yourself, you really own it. The movie is yours. There’s no license agreement. In five years, they can’t get it out of the library like on Apple TV You can use it yourself, you can gift it to a friend, or you can resell it on the secondary market.The NFTs will be tradable on Cineverse as well as major exchanges, such as OpenSea.

By reselling the film, a small percentage goes to the rights holder.

The platform’s dashboard and analytics also allow users to track purchases and resales of their movies and provide real-time data that can be used to design and improve advertising and marketing campaigns.

To develop, test and optimize its operations, Cineverse works with a number of industry groups, including film funding platform Slated, filmmaker organization Film Fatales and Stowe Story Labs.

Cineverse, which already offers some 300 films soon, will make its soft launch on Wednesday in Berlin, where it has been selected for the European Film Market Startups showcase. It should then have its launch in Cannes on May 21.