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Author: David Vendrell

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⚡️ Hollywood lines up to capitalize on NFT craze

Hollywood lines up to capitalize on NFT craze

The Future. United Talent Agency, William Morris Endeavor, and A3 are prepping an NFT debut as the digital marketplace quickly shifts to the blockchain-backed marketplace. Several films and TV veterans are already making millions through crypto media, and full adoption of the tech in Hollywood could reinvent creators’ relationships with fans… and catapult visual artists to the top of the money-making totem pole.

Crypto FOMO
Hollywood agencies are gearing up to make some extra commissions in the midst of the NFT mania.

United Talent Agency, which has called NFTs “the Holy Grail of the art world,” has formed a “digital assets initiative” that will be run by Lesley Silverman.

The agency has recently overseen NFT deals for clients such as musician Halsey and visual artist Roger Dean.

William Morris Endeavor acquired a stake in Otoy — the software company that Beeple used to create his $69 million NFT.

A3 put together a “task force” to educate its agents on “smart contracts” — the crypto-code contracts used for NFT sales.

Multiple studios are reportedly looking into setting up their own NFT marketplaces as well.

Show me the Ethereum
The agencies have good reason to scramble while the getting is good — several entertainment figures are already raking in more money than they’ve ever seen.

Concept artist Ben Mauro (the Hobbit films, Man of Steel) sold a dozen pieces of work as NFTs for $2 million — more money than he’s made in 12 years.

An artist who used to work for DC Comics made $2 million selling NFT artwork of Wonder Woman.

Academy Award-winning production designer Rick Carter (Avatar, Lincoln) is starting to put his work up for sale on the platform OMGDrops, which his son, Jim, created.

The NFT frenzy is clearly a boon for concept artists in particular since it is netting them more money than ever thought imaginable. David Levy (Star Wars, Black Panther) said that “we don’t get royalties on any movies. If we stop work, we lose health insurance, we lose income. We never expected anything like this could happen. But now that it’s here, we’re not going to let it go.”

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⚡️ Booming trading-card resale market shows the value of nostalgia

Pokémon cards
Booming trading-card resale market shows the value of nostalgia

The Future. Fueled by an increase in savings and boredom during the pandemic, trading cards — baseball, Pokémon, Magic the Gathering — have kicked off an investment gold rush. Mixing money-making with nostalgia is a winning formula… and it may be fueled by the same ideals that turned GameStop into retail traders’ catnip.

Hologram hit
We hope you still have your Pokémon or baseball cards lying around somewhere.

eBay saw a 142% surge in sales for sports, non-sport trading cards, and collectible card games in 2020.

Sales were up 4,000% on StockX, even though that site is mostly dedicated to streetwear and sneakers.

Mercari saw a 405% increase in 2020.

Pokémon has struggled to print enough cards to keep up with demand. StockX co-founder Josh Luber compared these collectible cards to rare Picassos… maybe not in terms of quality, but definitely in terms of supply-and-demand scarcity.

Baby steps
Trading cards have garnered a reputation for both their nostalgia and also their financial value.

eBay's General Manager of Collectibles and Trading Cards Nicole Colombo said that they are “a perfect mesh of something that makes you feel good, but it could also help you make a lot of money.``

Mercari CEO John Lagerling said trading cards are sort of like ``old school Bitcoin(s)`` because they are a “volatile and valuable investment.” But cards also bring joy because they are “a tactile asset that can be enjoyed by their owners before being sold.”

For many, trading cards are an easy first step into an investment because collecting them doesn’t require the same technical know-how of traditional stock trading or hyper-technical crypto, which is why platforms such as Rally are quickly growing in popularity.

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⚡️ Brands transition to premium content to survive streaming ad-desert

Brands transition to premium content to survive streaming ad-desert

The Future. As the entertainment industry prioritizes streaming above all else, advertisers have found themselves with fewer eyeballs… and fewer options. So, in order to get audiences to search for them, brands are investing in long-form narratives and docs that put storytelling before advertising. The results are already interesting and successful, which may inject Hollywood with funds for projects that would have otherwise been earmarked for commercials.

Ads aren’t welcome here
Paywalls for streaming services are keeping advertisers locked out and leaving them with fewer people to advertise to on traditional channels.

Research firm WARC found that advertisers spent 10% less on broadcast television last year. Meanwhile, overall online video spending went up by 12%.

Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst at Forrester Research, said traditional commercials have “zero credibility” with consumers.

Chatterjee says that the new goal for brands is to now invest in long-form content that “doesn’t come across as an intrusive bit of advertising, [but] feels much more like a natural part of our lives.” These movies and shows could then exist as entertainment on any streaming platform.

Put a story on it
Making long-form content for advertising purposes seems a bit cynical at first, but it has actually been a tried-and-true strategy since General Electric produced the TV show General Electric Theater back in 1954 (fun fact: it hosted by future president Ronald Reagan).

In 2018, Pepsi co-financed the comedy feature Uncle Drew, which was an expansion of the character from the Pepsi Max commercials. It made $42 million.

Airbnb produced the doc Gay Chorus Deep South, which played the film festival circuit in 2019.

The Apple+ hit Ted Lasso started as promotional material for NBC Sports’ acquisition of the broadcast rights to the English Premier League.

Imagine Entertainment launched Imagine Brands in 2018 to connect companies with filmmakers. The company was behind the mockumentary John Bronco (starring Walton Goggins as the title character) for Ford, which aired on Hulu. It’s currently working with Procter & Gamble on a narrative film entitled Mars 2080 that will play in IMAX sometime next year.