When video streaming platforms receive the blockchain treatment, the result – a company like Stream – is very different from today’s YouTube model. For content creators, a blockchain solution couldn’t have come soon enough.
Stream is the innovator of a blockchain-based token that’s changing the game for internet content creators.
The Stream Token allows digital media creators to earn revenue from their work without having to give away large percentages of their dues to a middleman.
To understand the importance of a blockchain-based service like Stream, we have to look at the current video streaming landscape.
Videos Are Big Business
In the world of online media consumption, video is king. 6 out of 10 viewers prefer online video platforms to live TV, and Google predicts that by 2025, half of the viewers under 32 won’t subscribe to a pay-per-view TV service. YouTube has 1.5 billion visitors a month, 1 billion hours of video are watched daily on YouTube alone, and 500 hours worth of video is uploaded to the platform every minute. Facebook, with a user base of 2 billion unique visitors a month, has also started capitalizing on the video trend.
The result is that companies like YouTube are flourishing (YouTube is valued at US$75 billion). The popularity of online video has also led to the creation of multiple video streaming services such as Periscope and Twitch.
This has been the predominantly successful business model of the internet as we know it: build a platform that links buyers and sellers, or creators and consumers, and cash in on your cut.
The Online Video Industry
The YouTube revenue model is a simple one: creators upload videos and, thanks to Google’s ad network, get a percentage of every ad impression. Hence, it’s important for creators to have subscribers – or at least channel views – that run into the millions.
This has allowed talented creators the world over to achieve DIY celebdom, taking themselves from a no-name to an online celebrity on their own steam. This has made running a YouTube channel as a full-time business a popular dream job for today’s young generation.
Why the Video Streaming Model is Broken
What has made the model a success is also its downfall. Revenue sharing is the root of the problem. Although the agreed model is that online video platforms profit off the backs of content creators’ hard work in exchange for the technological infrastructure, branding, and visitor numbers they provide, the cuts these companies take are questionably large.
In some instances, there could be as much as a 50 percent revenue split. A video creator doesn’t make a clean profit; there are operational costs to deduct. When seen in that light, losing up to half the revenue you generate, thanks solely to your hard work in creating a popular video, is a big deal. One that very painfully cuts into your bottom line.
YouTube has over a million active content creators. In today’s video streaming industry, there are a select few winners and many losers. The game is unfair, and players are losing out big time.
The Need for Stream
Stream reports on so-called YouTube superstars who rake in millions of views, yet still have to resort to taking waitressing jobs to make ends meet.
It’s evident that content creators are being exploited by large streaming services. Their out-of-pocket expenses that allow them to create the top-class videos (the backbone of these platforms’ popularity) isn’t offset by the revenue percentage they generate.
The team at Stream have devised a decentralized ecosystem that is based on fairness and equal opportunity, meaning that the creator is deemed as important as the streaming platform. After all, you can’t have one without the other.
How Stream Works
Stream eliminates the need to be locked into a platform for fear of losing a carefully-built fan base and much-needed income revenue. It’s due to this stranglehold platforms have over creators that they have no choice but to accept the platform’s demanding terms.
The Stream Token is a micropayments protocol that is offered as a Chrome browser extension. Thanks to the extension, which will be available in November, a creator’s content can be linked to audiences across different platforms.
Tokens – of which there are a total of 12 billion – are issued to contributors based on the number of views their videos receive. Number-crunching of popular videos takes place via a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) consensus model. Thanks to Stream’s unique cryptocurrency compensation model, ads become optional instead of the driving force behind a creator’s income stream.
The Stream Token
Other investors included Fenbushi Capital, BLOCKCHAIN PARTNERS Korea, Coinfund, FBG Capital, ZhenFund, and INBlockchain. The date of the public token sale, which is capped at US$33 million, will be announced on November 3.
The Team Behind Stream
The Stream team consists of alumni from Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and the Thiel Fellowship. CEO Ben Yu founded the company when his videos went viral, and he found that he made US$0 off the back of 50 million+ views.
Co-founder and CMO Chris Barrett told Invest in Blockchain:
Our mission at Stream is to empower content creators with artistic and financial agency. We’re doing so by creating a middleware protocol for decentralized content distribution.
In a world where becoming a worldwide sensation is as simple as creating a video channel and posting your content, Stream is utilizing the power of the blockchain to ensure that the paradigm of the starving artist will die out.