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29 November 2018

Divan.TV dives into tokenization, can it ever be disruptive?

The tokenization of TV as a concept has been around for a while, perhaps none more famously than NBCUniversal’s WatchBack which was announced back in August and launched last month. But crucially, we must see WatchBack as more of a data-gathering exercise and promotional asset, separate from more hardcore blockchain-based token services – a market which this week received a new entrant in the form of Ukrainian streaming service Divan.TV.

With over 2 million subscribers, Divan.TV’s ambitions of implementing a token payment system across its footprint are not be scoffed at.

Could 2019 be the breakthrough year for such tokenized OTT video services to disrupt the subscription model? Decentralizing transactions brings significant benefits to multiple parties in the video delivery chain, but there remains opposers in the ecosystem, namely financial players who face being cut out of the equation – possibly the single biggest challenge facing this emerging market. Nevertheless, PayPal is a prime example of a company managing to bypass banks and card processors with its peer-to-peer approach to much avail, so there are definitely opportunities for Divan.TV and others.

Founded in 2011, Divan.TV plans to launch version 2.0 of its video platform in the first quarter of next year, whereby new D1T tokens will be used for transactions between users, content creators and advertising brands. Content creators will receive a generous 50% of advertising revenue made on the platform in the form of D1T tokens, while users will get 30%, leaving Divan.TV with 20%. A freemium model will also be in place for Divan.TV 2.0 users, which the company says could allow viewers to earn up to $10 a month in D1T equivalent by streaming content.

An easy way of seeing how such models can address challenges facing the video industry was recently provided by White Rabbit, a blockchain-based tokenization firm Faultline Online Reporter covered earlier this year, upon receiving an investment from production company K5. The first issue is money, with income for filmmakers today at a fraction of what they made during the peak DVD era, particularly with recoupment taking years rather than minutes. Second is choice, with the variety of content within subscription streaming catalogs shrinking as services increasingly make and promote their own content. Finally, viewers are being driven towards illegal pirate sites simply because they cannot afford to subscribe to multiple streaming offerings at once.

White Rabbit works similarly to Divan.TV, applying blockchain technologies to peer-to-peer content streaming services, allowing viewers to directly pay rights holders using White Rabbit Tokens – presenting fairer financial mechanisms for making, distributing and viewing content for all parties involved.

Divan.TV, which is available in 195 countries, targets 12 language groups – Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Ukrainian, Russian and English. It offers over 200 live channels to stream, plus over 50,000 movies and TV shows, with licensing deals in place with the likes of Euronews, France 24, FashionTV, Nickelodeon, Ipanda TV, GoldenTV, СTV, NTDTV, and Forbes TV. Smart TV brand partners are LG, Samsung, Philips, Sony, Skyworth, TCL, Sharp, Telstra, Hisense, Haier, as well as Roku, Apple TV and Android TV.

Divan.TV founder, who is also chairman and managing partner of venture fund AVentures Capital (its primary investor), Andrew Kolodyuk, said, “Through decentralization and an internal token economy where all parties directly transact with one another, we solve the main market problems. Viewers can benefit by earning our tokens and having free access to premium content afterward, brands can reach target audiences through advertising. Content creators get a larger, and well-deserved, share of the ad revenue pie. Thankfully, we’re positioned well to bring this to life, given our extensive industry experience and established partners in the market”.