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Adventures in the Movieverse: Web3, Blockchain, Eluvio, and the Future of Streaming

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The movie-watching experience has entered an unprecedented and thrilling new era of full-immersion entertainment with the arrival of a pioneering, living NFT and Web3 offering from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Extended Edition. This Web3 movie event is fueled by Eluvio, a developer of blockchain-based 4K streaming and ticketing technology and the self-described “blockchain home for crypto content.”

Lately, Web3 has been the subject of much speculation about the ways that its decentralized nature will enable users to buy and trade pieces of intellectual property without having to involve intermediaries. However, a new Web3 entertainment ecosystem that facilitates organic user engagement and promotion may benefit not only independent content creators but also larger legacy media companies such as Warner Bros. The new Lord of the Rings package developed in partnership with Eluvio provides a fascinating example of what’s possible in this new Web3 world.

No Stranger to NFT

Eluvio has been innovating content for major media companies for a while now. It has built up an impressive resume of high-profile, inventive entertainment initiatives such as the MaskVerse, which provides opportunities for fans of The Masked Singer and crypto enthusiasts to “buy, sell and trade unique digital collectibles—Mask NFTs—for their own collections and/or to unlock a variety of benefits.”

Eluvio MaskVerse

Eluvio’s MaskVerse Masked Singer Web3 experience

Another high-profile project, Dollyverse, a partnership between bestselling author James Patterson and music legend Dolly Parton for the new book they co-wrote, Run, Rose, Run, includes a special selection of certified Dolly NFT collectibles. Among them are limited-edition NFTs of the Run, Rose, Run accompanying music album and a limited series of Dolly-inspired NFT artwork.

Taking Content Ownership, Distribution, and User Experience to the Next Level

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Extended Edition is Eluvio’s most ambitious and extensive offering to date. It is a “multimedia living NFT” that allows fans to engage with the movie via two dynamic menu experience options: the Mystery Edition and the Epic Edition. Both editions enable users to view a 4K UHD extended version of the film, discover hidden AR collectibles, gain access to more than 8 hours of special features, and explore themed navigation menus based on locations from the film—all while trading and owning the entire experience within a community marketplace.

Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movieverse of experience options

Eluvio CEO Michelle Munson emphasizes several key points to differentiate Eluvio’s Web3 NFT projects and this new offering from the ways that blockchain technology has been previously utilized. She also underscores how these implementations are fully accessible and safe for consumers who may otherwise be unfamiliar with NFTs and blockchain technologies.

“The first and the most important thing here is that all the core digital assets—including all the 4K streaming video—is not only gated but served and owned specifically on the blockchain,” Munson says. “What that means is the ownership transfers directly from the publisher to the fan. This opens up a new type of direct relationship that has never really existed before: It allows the fan to be a direct owner of the experience and in this case, trade into that with other fans.”

Munson also highlights the potential ways these offerings may evolve toward even greater interactivity and direct fan engagement. She says that fans can be a partial owner of new works “and potentially even become creators of new derivative works” through capabilities built into the Content Blockchain and the Content Fabric protocol, core technologies developed at Eluvio since the company’s founding in 2018. “This is quite different from the way that one thinks about traditional streaming regarding workflows, pipelines, and content distribution.”

With this new system, Munson notes that there is no traditional CDN involved in distribution. “The protocol itself replaces the need for a CDN and takes on all the functions of the transcoding and the packaging stack,” she says. “It also takes care of content security and rights management, including DRM. The protocol is built to be componentized, dynamic, scaled, and also to allow for, most importantly, the media to be built on demand from its components. And it works over an open network of nodes. So all the nodes run the same software, and the media, the image assets, the application for interactive experiences—those all come in as they are. And then the experiences are served to clients, without any custom clients. And it’s all directly through the web browser.”

Eluvio Content Fabric Pipeline

Eluvio’s Content Fabric pipeline

Munson says that the “living experience” of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Extended Edition is directly a result of the dynamic nature of the Content Fabric protocol. “Objects can evolve into new versions with new components,” she notes. “That means you can have embedded components change, like the embedded AR, for example.” Elements such as the Gandalf Staff and the Stein will be updated and augmented over time, along with “what is offered to the fan in terms of bonus footage, the audio, etc. These can be added to or updated even without changing the asset that the user owns on the blockchain,” she continues. “That would be like having an organic transformation of your own streaming movie library happening at will, over time, and with the publisher being able to lean into the creative side to decide that—even with things like gamification. So if you were an owner of the Epic Edition, you could then obtain the new additions to this living movie experience. And this is exactly what Warner is piloting with this.”

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