Out with the Old and in with the New: Blockchain’s Impact on Video Streaming

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Video streaming is one of the greatest feats of the last decade. Video streaming companies like Netflix almost single-handedly put video renting giants like Blockbuster out of business.

Yet the current live streaming system is not without its issues. In fact, problems abound. Be it centralization, transactions costs, or outright theft and piracy, streaming service users have a host of complaints.

As a result, companies have turned to blockchain technology for answers. There are a variety of companies that operate decentralized networks used for content creation and distribution. These networks, which are powered by blockchain technology, encourage users to become creators and distributors on their own, paying them in tokens that can then be used to view new material.

These community-based video distribution platforms are revolutionizing the video streaming industry much in the way video streaming services challenged video rental stores.

NFL Viewership and the Problem with Illegal File Sharing

NFL viewership is down, both this year relative to last year and 2016 relative to 2015. The typical NFL game in 2015 was watched 17.9 million viewers, whereas in 2016 it dropped 8 percent to 16.5 million viewers.

Ratings this year, when compared with last year, are down–Sunday Night Football is down 7%, Monday Night Football is down 5%, and Sunday afternoon games are down 11% and 19% for major broadcasters Fox and CBS, respectively.

Much ink has been spilled on why this is the case. Some blame it on players taking a knee during the national anthem. Others have noted the apparent decrease in human attention spans. What is largely lacking from these postulations is the effect illegal video streaming is having on cable television.

As more and more viewers flock to online streaming sites, traditional cable channels see their viewership fall. File sharing sites can attract a myriad of viewers, but since there is a common host, it only counts for one “view”.

In an attempt to resolve this issue, blockchain-driven video sharing networks have robust security protocol and firewalls that prevent content from being stolen, pirated, and then redistributed.

In fact, because the platforms run on an open ledger, there are no secrets–the decentralization of the platform results in the highest level of accountability. Content creators and viewers alike operate within the network’s community, allowing them to produce and consume video together. There is no need to “stick it to the man” by illegally sharing files. All sharing is done in a decentralized, free environment.

Who’s Got the Power? The Problem with Centralized Servers

Because companies like Netflix have forever changed the way the world watches videos, platforms that run on centralized servers–Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.– have some glaring faults. Content is stored and distributed on central servers, and so transaction costs can run quite high.

Yearly subscription fees and individual purchases can add up (way beyond the cost of a customary cable subscription) depending on which services are used. Additionally, companies that use centralized servers control the content that is published.

Netflix users cannot truly watch whatever they want–they must watch whatever is put in front of them–just like with cable stations. YouTube offers more flexibility; however, YouTube can (and does) censor videos that are posted.

One example of a blockchain based platform, Flixxo offers decentralized content sharing and can do so at highly discounted prices. Because decentralization cuts out the go-between, creators and distributors are free to transact business directly with viewers in a peer-to-peer environment.

On the Flixxo platform, creators upload their products to the decentralized network and can establish their own revenue model–how many tokens it costs to watch the content and what portion of the revenue to allocate to distributors. Viewers can earn tokens by producing their own content or by watching sponsored content, allowing them to contribute and absorb to earn more views.

The supply and demand aspects of the Flixxo server allow users to produce and view the material they choose–all apart from the pitfalls of traditional centralized streaming services. The systems also operate on an incentivized reward basis, meaning that viewers pay producers for content they like. In turn, producers are encouraged to continue to create desirable content.

How Common Are Blockchain Streaming Services?

As blockchain technology has branched out beyond cryptocurrencies and trading, the number of practical services has been increasing as well. Video streaming services are one of the more popular blockchain services, and in recent years more and more companies have tried to make it in an increasingly competitive environment. Each company must define their competitive edge.

Utilizing the aspects of blockchain technology referenced above, Flixxo allow users to earn tokens and spend tokens, all with the goal of creating and viewing more content. The blockchain technology allows these companies to work independently of a central regulatory, commanding authority.

Autonomy in video streaming frees both creators and users to access and share what they like, monetize their content, and promote quality. With such a system, traditional platforms have an uphill battle to success.