Subscription-based services have become so ubiquitous it’s hard to remember a time when they weren’t the norm. Streaming companies have sought to take advantage of that norm by fleecing consumers for everything they’re worth — just look at Netflix’s decision to start running advertisements.
Another benefit of leveraging NFT technology is that streaming services can increasingly be used to create communities. As with all consumer culture in the digital world, we are what we consume. NFTs, however, have the potential to make the relationship between the consumer and what is consumed far more profound.
There is a solution to streaming “churn”
A decade ago, who would have thought digital communities based on families of JPEGs would become billion-dollar enterprises? From Bored Apes to Party Degenerates, NFTs have become identity cards, VIP passes, proof of ownership and digital art — all in one product. Why not a streaming service too?
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If your watching habits are dominated by the likes of David Attenborough, an NFT could be built around your love of the natural world. Others like yourself will also purchase this niche membership — which could cross-streaming platforms with the money divided proportionally among the distributors, IP owners and content creators. With this compounded ultra-niche membership, we would have the basis of a community; forged together by a shared interest. For third parties, this community could be a valuable revenue stream and offer endless possibilities for partnerships and engagement. This might include discounted museum and safari tickets, livestream Q&As with top zoologists and exclusive first looks at new David Attenborough programming.
A membership product that appeals to niche interests will inevitably improve users’ perception of the value of the streaming service because it becomes a part of their identity. The solution to a lot of the churn wars in the streaming sector is to turn subscriptions into “memberships.” In doing so, platforms can create strong and committed communities for all kinds of content creators.
Staying ahead of the curve
“We can do this all today,” you might say, and you’re not entirely wrong. The possibility for Netflix — for example — to create interactive subscription services for specific types of content is something that is entirely possible. The massive credit card, fill-out form and email approach normalized by regular streaming services look lackluster compared to the Web3 possibilities.
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Using NFTs for subscription products allows users to have access to gated content as long as it interests them while having the possibility to sell their keys to someone else without loss when no longer needed. Content creators will also benefit from a direct 1-1 relationship with audiences that are really engaged. Instead of the “all you can eat” or nothing at all approach of regular subscriptions, creators will be able to package content for particular NFTs or incentivize particular behavior. Maybe watching all episodes in a short timeframe grants access to a bonus, or providing feedback for a season can give behind-the-scenes content.
As consumers, we see transactional video-on-demand and a la carte purchasing going out of fashion. For services that want to stay ahead of the curve, it would be wise to begin considering the possibilities offered by Web3.
Andrea Berry is the head of development for Theta Labs.
This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.