The Future. Like every other entertainment conglomerate, ViacomCBS is dipping its toes into emerging technologies such as NFTs and the metaverse. The first experiments in the space may seem kiddish… but that’s probably because the company knows that the new generation is going to embrace the tech in the same way Gen X was raised on 24-hour MTV (another Viacom innovation).
Despite their controversies, ViacomCBS’ resident futurist, Ted Schilowitz, thinks NFTs and the metaverse are here to stay.
- In the NFT space, ViacomCBS partnered with metaverse startup RECUR to develop tokens based on the company’s IP, including brands such as Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures.
- And while it’s not exactly developing its own metaverse yet, the company has made forays into more interactive digital entertainment, including AR that was overlaid on the January 2021 Bears vs. Saints NFL game (it was a hit).
While many older viewers may scoff at digital collectibles based on SpongeBob SquarePants or digital slime spewing from the endzone, Schilowitz notes that there’s a “generational obstacle” to the acceptance of these concepts.
Namely, Gen Z loves them. “Their digital lives are such a big and well-defined part of their daily existence,” says Schilowitz, “that they do not create a definitional break between their digital personalities, their digital representation, and the real representation.”
That means that for Gen Z (the most coveted of consumers), collecting a digital token or interacting digitally with a physical football game is no different than engaging with tangible things/experiences.