In the latest thunderous endorsement for blockchain-based verification and video delivery technology, Fox has invested in US start-up Eluvio, which has had one hell of a year.
Fox marks Eluvio’s first outside investor, but – anticipating a flurry of vultures – Eluvio has slammed the door on any additional capital-seeking, implying that the company’s founders are eager to avoid an aggressive share-grab.
However, the fact that Eluvio is already being valued at $100 million just three years after it burst onto the scene, when the company only has one major customer in the form of MGM, could be something of an overshot, one inflated by another bloating blockchain bubble.
Having said that, it was obvious that Fox wants much more than just to provide a cash injection, as the Murdoch-owned mass media outfit has made Eluvio the underlying platform provider for its newly launched NFT (non-fungible token) funding business. Called Blockchain Creative Labs, the venture was created in June this year in collaboration with Fox’s Bento Box Entertainment animation studio.
This is a big test for Eluvio’s technology, which we feel really hasn’t been properly put through its paces yet. It is also evidence of major media conglomerates dusting off their checkbooks after a prolonged investment-wary period as a result of Covid-19, something Eluvio was holding out for as its emergence from stealth mode in Q4 2019 was unfortunately timed.
With Fox’s Blockchain Creative Labs, the idea is to make the technology available to a wider market of content creators and media partners, to not only reduce overheads in areas such as transcoding and delivery fees, but also create new monetization opportunities in areas of advertising, ticketing, and merchandise.
Use of NFTs in the media world has rocketed during Covid, as a way of commodifying digital assets such as music files, that are uploaded to a blockchain where copies are recorded on the digital ledger. These NFTs can be purchased with cryptocurrency, without the purchaser owning the original file, so the artists retain copyright. Unlike cryptocurrencies, however, the totally unique nature of NFTs means they are not interchangeable with any other asset.
Eluvio CEO and co-founder Michelle Munson, whom Faultline was early out of the gates to interview back in September 2019, spoke about a “common vision” between the three companies (Eluvio, Fox, and Bento Box) to disrupt the creation, control and distribution of digital entertainment via blockchain and ‘smart’ assets.
We recall a slightly concerned looking Munson speaking at an online event in early 2020, speaking about how Eluvio would bounce back as operators and streaming suppliers in a post-pandemic environment would be eager to learn how to reach audiences with maximum quality and value. The opportunity to simplify the delivery chain while achieving scalability will be too good to turn down, she thought, and now Fox is a symbol of Eluvio’s palpable relief.
Things have changed a lot since we first examined Eluvio. The company’s Content Fabric software platform, in development for around two years before Eluvio’s late 2019 launch, was initially marketed on disrupting the CDN and transcoding markets, while we saw bigger disruptive potential for the technology in fields from ads and personalization to monetization and audience reporting.
Two years down the road since Eluvio emerged from stealth mode, the fabric is taking on a new shape. In March of this year, Eluvio introduced a live feature into its Content Fabric platform which laid claim to the world’s first 4K video streaming and ticketing service with all content secured and sold via blockchain contracts.
Eluvio Live allows artists and publishers to take advantage of the Eluvio Content Fabric, which was launched on the premise of disrupting traditional CDNs with its network overlay approach for video distribution directly from the stream or file source – implementing this into a blockchain network. The Eluvio Content Fabric technology is a multi-layered architecture designed to eliminate the requirement to create additional copies of files used in distribution networks or storage facilities.
Paul Cheesbrough, Fox CTO and president of digital, who will join Eluvio’s board of directors, commented, “At Fox, we believe that the blockchain, and the overall shift towards a more decentralized web, is providing creators with a wealth of opportunities to reach consumers with exciting new experiences. The Eluvio team are the best in the business when it comes to the software and scalable infrastructure required to power live, decentralized experiences across the blockchain and our investment will help bring this technology to a wider market of content creators, media partners and advertising clients.”