Everybody who surfs the web loves videos. With just a click of the mouse, we can watch anything from profound lectures by world famous academics to a cat playing the keyboard. The distribution and consumption of video streaming is the main driver of internet traffic, accounting for a full 70% currently and expected to reach over 80% in a few years. Yet the platforms for social video networks have become stale and outmoded, which has led to a rise of new applications that look to change the landscape: View.ly, VirtuTV, Flixxo, and MakeItViral (MIV). These rising platforms are harnessing the power of blockchain technology to push online video streaming to the next level.
The Current Major Players are Flawed
Currently, the two biggest sites for video distribution is YouTube and Twitch. They’re very popular and contain a massive amount of content. Yet there are some fundamental issues with each platform, such as neither takes advantage of the many innovations that blockchain technology has brought over the last couple of years. Twitch is primarily associated with online gaming and live streaming, not with standard video viewing. Another non-ideal aspect of Twitch is its heavy moderation. As the platform is a subsidiary of Amazon, things are kept clean by banning any stream for games that are labeled as “Adults Only” or that contain “overtly sexual content” or “gratuitous violence”. This means that any person looking to upload a video that features mature subject manner may find it banned.
YouTube is the big boy on the block when it comes to online video distribution. While the site features a ton of content, there are some drawbacks for content creators to consider. One issue is that the rewards for a video earning millions of views is not spread equably. The vast bulk of any revenue goes to YouTube (and by extension, their parent company of Google). It costs a fortune to store all the video content on servers, so YouTube has little choice in the matter, but this leaves most content creators earning only pennies on the dollar. The other major problem with YouTube is that the rules for monetizing or even keeping a video accessible are arbitrary and can change in an instant. A lot of creators have spent years building up a fan base through their hard work, but YouTube has recently demonetized many videos and channels for a wide variety of reasons, and sometimes for no given reason at all.
Rise of the Blockchain-Based Platforms
A number of developing platforms seek to fundamentally transform social video distribution and consumption: MakeItViral (MIV), Flixxo, VirtuTV, and View.ly. All of these platforms take advantage of the many benefits offered by blockchain technology. MakeItViral (MIV) has an interesting system where creators upload videos, which are then ranked by the amount of tokens they accrue through donations. In such a system, a quality video should rise to the top and become more accessible to those logging into the platform. However, there are some concerns that should be noted. The ranking system is open for abuse as creators (or a company) could artificially promote their video. Another potential hazard is that there’s no guarantee that a quality video will be rewarded with tokens from users, which means it could languish far down the list. Another drawback is that if creators withdraw tokens to convert to cash, their video ranking is impacted.
VirtuTV aims to bring total freedom to content creators and users with their platform. VirtuTV is anti-censorship and allows content creators to upload anything that they wish. Videos are pay-to-view, and a Patreon-like system is in place to allow users to support their favorite creators. Also, creators can remain fully anonymous and still upload videos. The potential problems with VirtuTV is that the lack of any censorship at all could lead to major hassles, from either companies who are having their products pirated or governments who feel that the platform’s content is illegal. Such problems will also keep most advertisers wary of partnering with the platform. It’s quite possible that users may find themselves in legal trouble, depending upon their local laws.
Flixxo seeks to create a decentralized hub for social video distribution and consumption. Flixxo uses blockchain technology to enable content creators to set up smart contracts that allows for a percentage of the revenues earned by a video to go to users who seed the video as part of the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network. An interesting twist is that sponsors looking to advertise on the platform buy tokens directly from content creators, and the sponsors then create a smart contract to pay users a set amount of tokens when they watch the ads. This feature means that advertising on Flixxo is very non-invasive as users will seek out ads in order to gain more tokens. This overall system allows for creators and users to financially gain for being an active member of the platform. The main drawback to Flixxo is that it’s not an “everything goes” platform. Pornographic materials and pirated movies and shows will not be allowed, which could keep some people from being interesting in joining the platform.
View.ly offers a true symbiotic partnership between content creators and users. With View.ly, it’s up to the creators to build a community of supporters, who then offer recurring monthly pledges. Creators can also make deals directly with advertisers. However, some of the drawbacks of the View.ly platform is that pledges made by users are pay-what-you-want, which can definitely impact revenue in a negative manner. Also, advertising could become intrusive as creators help hawk the wares of advertisers. Another issue is that the content creators can create tiers of rewards, such as private channels and premium content. This means users will have to spend a cumulative sum in order to get past such a paywall and have access to such features.
The old video streaming sites, such as YouTube and Twitch, might be mired in the past, but a number of new applications are rising to take advantage of the latest in blockchain technology. Platforms like View.ly, VirtuTV, Flixxo, and MakeItViral (MIV) are all looking to transform the landscape of online video streaming. Each of these new platforms have both strengths and drawbacks that users and content creators will consider before deciding upon which platform to join. However, the reality is that online video distribution will be altered significantly due to the rise of the new blockchain-based platforms.
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