The Internet has changed how content is distributed in ways that were difficult to imagine 20 years ago. Similarly, blockchain technology is about to change the way in which humans and organisations conduct financial transactions. Naturally, this will also affect the media world.
The most noticeable way in which blockchain technology will affect the media world is that online payment transactions will be made seamless. It is not easy to imagine how a piece of text can be transformed from print format in a newspaper to digital format on a Web site. Blockchain technology offers a seamless, global infrastructure for conducting payment transactions.
In the same way as all users have a Web browser, everyone will now have a wallet directly integrated into their Web browsers. This will make payments, regardless of size, just one click away, whether your company is Amazon or Aftenposten or you are an independent blogger.
Let me give you an example: A media house has to both pay journalists for articles and invoice advertisers who have advertised alongside the articles. Until recently, when an article received over 1 million pageviews, the advertiser was invoiced a month later and the journalist too was often paid late.
When the payment infrastructure to which the media house is connected is one common blockchain, however, payments can be made immediately after each time an article is viewed. Payment transactions can then be programmed in such a way that after each pageview, the media house pays a set fee to the journalist and the advertiser pays a set fee to the media house. This means essentially anyone can write an article, have it published, and be paid for it immediately. This applies to all types of content: text, film, and music.
Blockchain technology enables us to do the same things as before yet more effectively. However, it can also facilitate new incentives to publish content online. One example is a group of film producers who created unique passwords to bitcoin addresses inside video files they distributed to the media before their films were launched. Should anyone leak a file, the bitcoins would be detected by observant Internet pirates, and the film producers would know who leaked the file. This provides film producers with more security.
With a new global payment infrastructure in place, the ways in which money can be earned for good content will change yet again. This also applies for parties who are paid for content.
As with the Internet, blockchain technology will create vast opportunities for those willing to invest in new technology and present challenges for those slow to react.