Web3 technologies have the potential to rejuvenate the movie theater industry and enhance the entertainment experience for audiences. As sports leagues, retailers, events, and gaming industries embrace Web3, Hollywood must also adapt to these emerging technologies to remain competitive and relevant in the ever-changing entertainment landscape.
As Variety recently noted, one of the primary ways Hollywood can leverage Web3 is by incorporating mixed-reality activities into movie theaters, transforming them into centers for micro-communities. This would not only create unique experiences for moviegoers but also enhance the big-screen experience in ways that cannot be replicated at home. By utilizing Web3 technologies, theaters can offer immersive experiences that go beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced home entertainment systems.
In their journey to embrace Web3, studios and theater chains can draw inspiration from the successful integration of these technologies in other industries, such as sports leagues and theme parks. The NBA, for instance, has been at the forefront of creating hybrid digital and physical entertainment models, while Disney has been blending digital and physical experiences at its theme parks. Both industries have shown how Web3 technologies can create novel and engaging experiences for audiences.
Furthermore, blockchain-based loyalty rewards can offer value and transparency to regular moviegoers. By implementing digital tokens as loyalty rewards, theater operators can emphasize the value of being a regular customer who gets access to exclusive screenings or perks. Chain establishments like Starbucks have already recognized the long-term value of blockchain-based rewards and have started experimenting with such programs. By following suit, movie theaters can create stronger connections with their audiences and foster long-lasting loyalty.
As the entertainment industry enters a crucial moment, it must reinvent its loyalty programs and audience engagement strategies by incorporating gamification and artificial intelligence-based personalization. Hybrid digital and physical environments can immerse viewers in their favorite films, setting theaters apart from at-home experiences and helping Hollywood adapt to the Web3 era.
In terms of loyalty programs, which have evolved from simple punch cards to more sophisticated systems that incorporates online and offline touchpoints, movie theaters must extend their presence on digital channels to remain relevant as consumers increasingly choose to stream entertainment on their connected devices.
Hollywood should also pay attention to new entertainment showcases such as the Las Vegas MSG Sphere, a $2.1 billion hybrid in-person and digital concert and sports venue launching next fall with a run by U2. Last August, Ticketmaster began allowing venues in its network to sell tickets via Flow blockchain. A partnership with Dapper Labs, Ticketmaster’s effort included issuing NFTs tied to tickets, enabling special experiences like loyalty rewards, celebrity meet-and-greets, and memorabilia, demonstrating an exploration of Web3 possibilities for marketing and fan engagement.
Web3 extensions are also coming for storytelling. Earlier this year, the Web3 storytelling platform StoryCo raised $6 million in seed funding, with a stated goal to decentralize intellectual property (IP) and bring Hollywood to Web3. Its first narrative experience, The Disco Ball, is expected to be released later this year and invites community members to build out the narrative experience. Using StoryPass non-fungible tokens (NFTs), community members can access pre-release content, solve puzzles, find artifacts, and collectively contribute to the story’s expansion. The founders of StoryCo hope that their platform will foster community around immersive, interactive storytelling and lower barriers to entry.
Toonstar is another platform that leverages the power of blockchain and Web3 technology to decentralize IP and distribute associated merchandise. Last July, the Web3 animation studio partnered with clothing retailer Hot Topic to create NFTs for its original productions. By bringing Hollywood to Web3 and creating a more democratic and community-driven approach to storytelling, these platforms hope to drive the development of new stories and models while enabling fans and creatives to contribute meaningfully to their expansion.
So can Hollywood learn to live with a fast-evolving Web3 landscape? While studios have some catching up to do, they seemingly can infuse Web3 by embracing the potential of new technologies and drawing inspiration from other industries that have successfully integrated them. Filmmakers, studios, and theaters can all make moves to create new, immersive, and engaging entertainment experiences for audiences. And by focusing on blockchain-based loyalty rewards, mixed-reality activities, and hybrid digital and physical environments, the entertainment industry can not only survive but thrive in the age of Web3. The key to Hollywood’s adaptation lies in its willingness to innovate and evolve.