Future Giants: W3BFLIX

Article image

At the TON Foundation, we constantly research projects at various stages of growth and development. Our goal is to find the next big thing and bring it to the TON Ecosystem. Hence, today, we’re launching a new series of interviews focused entirely on pre-launch projects or projects in the earliest stages of development.

In the Future Giants series, we will introduce you to the teams you most likely have never heard of: teams building something big yet still flying under the radar.

In the first feature of Future Giants, we’ll introduce you to, simply put, Netflix on Telegram. Sit back, let’s W3BFLIX and chill.

This interview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, approval, or recommendation of the project. The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the TON Foundation. This is not an investment advice

Article image

Future Giants: W3bflix

Like with every other project we interview, let’s briefly explore your core product. What is W3BFLIX?

W3BFLIX is an entertainment token launchpad and will be integrated as a content streaming service for movies, TV series, animations, live concerts, and more. W3BFLIX is being built on TON and is accessible via Telegram as a mini app.

W3BFLIX is Web3's solution to Netflix. We empower communities to have a stronger voice in creative decision-making. Interact, crowdfund, and promote the entertainment content you're a fan of, and enjoy real-life and impactful rewards for your engagement and participation.

You’re aiming high, and succeeding in the entertainment and film industry is known to be heavily influenced by your connections. Do you have any? What is your team's experience?

Patrice Poujol has been involved in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He started as an investment banker and film finance professional. He then produced and sometimes directed drama pieces and documentaries from 2003 to 2015. Some of these works were screened in Europe, the USA, and Asia and received awards. One of his films, TASTE, was officially selected at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Two of his video works were screened on the Hong Kong ICC tower to an audience of over 1 million people during one month at the end of 2015. He was involved in producing “On Wings of Eagles” featuring Joseph Fiennes. He obtained his first PhD in Web3 and entertainment in 2018, which he published as a book with Springer in 2019. It is fair to say that Patrice has managed to build a strong track record for his Web3 and movie company Lumiere, which we will go back to.

With his partners from Finfabrik, he tokenized the first film from Hong Kong, “Papicha” (Meddour 2019), which was selected for Cannes, nominated by Algeria to the 2020 Oscars, and won two Cesar awards in the same year. Additionally, the W3BFLIX team has one of the producers of Nicole Kidman on “The Expats” as an advisor and a former partner at Fintage House, one of the top collection agents in the movie industry worldwide. Another member of our team is strongly connected to the previous project manager for the Jacksons and Linkin Park. We aim to take advantage of our connections to music entertainment and offer exciting live concert experiences to our subscribers who can’t make it to the actual event.

Last but not least, Rolling Stone / RS Productions and Animoca Brands are trusted, resourceful partners on our cap table.

Why did you choose to build on TON? What aspects of TON motivated you to develop your project here?

Based on our research, TON allows for an intuitive user interface, enabling us to provide a smooth experience for our subscribers. We understand design is a crucial part of building an excellent product, and we need user-friendly and easy-to-use Web3 apps to significantly onboard from Web2.

TON can also process millions of transactions per second and accommodate an unlimited number of active users, which will be extremely important as we scale. Fractional payments are key to our business model as we plan to make our products available to the widest audience worldwide regardless of whether or not they are banked.

Telegram alone has 900 million monthly active users, and is growing rapidly in developing regions, where we aim to target first. In terms of Web3, TON has managed to onboard 45m wallets in the past 3 months.

Telegram has been attracting around 13,500 developers to its ecosystem just until a few months ago, which promises an explosive growth going forward.

Last but not least, the quality of the streaming on Telegram is excellent; content resolution quality is paramount.

A streaming service built directly on Telegram sounds like something from sci-fi. How far are you in development?

Telegram already has a live streaming facility that we can use for live events and concerts. It has been used to download films illegally in the past (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/times-special/torrents-to-telegram-piracy-makes-a-comeback-in-ott-era/articleshow/93645484.cms); but when formalized, this approach can be adapted to watching content online on multiple devices. This may be integrated to launching and promoting content with trailers and UGC created content.

Going forward, decentralized cloud GPU access solutions such as Aethir can help our solution be less reliant on costly centralized cloud services such as AWS.

We have already developed a mini app for the Raffle initiative that we are launching on May 1 for the 77th Cannes Film Festival. This mini app is the first step in working with the TON ecosystem and designing our W3BFLIX platform; it will be integrated into the final platform to select winners for future events and movie-related gamified activities.

In terms of product design, UX/UI, think general streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, or iQIYI that meets a social network app such as Wechat or Whatsapp.

There are Disney, HBO, Showtime, Paramount, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and so many other streaming services that one can’t even name them all. It seems like the market is heavily saturated. What makes you different?

What makes us different is the experience we’ll offer to our users. Not only will they be able to watch their favorite movies, TV shows, and more, but they can financially support and crowdfund movies or projects they find interesting. These users will get to enjoy real-life, impactful rewards such as gaining free access to red-carpet exclusive events, exploring the set & behind the scenes on-site, meeting celebrities, having their names in the credits, and even playing as extras in films. They can choose to passively earn from their investment and stake into DeFI or be an active part of the audience and promote and create UGC content as a superfan and be rewarded for their efforts.

One example of a giveaway that we just finished is the Cannes Film Festival experience, where the winner will enjoy two red carpet events, an official screening, and a professional photoshoot. We plan to do it in Venice as well.

Additionally, subscribers will be rewarded for their participation, engagement, support, and promotion of new entertainment content. Points will be earned by subscribers who watch content, accumulate viewing time, write reviews with content that's linked or posted to social media), and make videos about the content they watched. These points can be exchanged for tokens and bonus milestones.

Compared to gaming, which is sometimes met with friction from the traditional community, we start with a clean sheet in movies, animations, and concerts. We have no preconceived ideas about Web3 and resistance towards blockchain for a mass entertainment industry that can reach 100m community members.

In addition, when you realize that any integrated streaming service that has 48m to 230m monthly active users (MAU) is valued at US$4bn USD to US$260bn, you can really see the potential for W3BFLIX with a Telegram and TON integration of 900m MAU and interactive model that rewards the community for their passion. Lumiere and W3BFLIX are only valued at US$10m at the moment.

What’s the reason behind your decision to build a streaming service on a blockchain?

In the early stages of our development, W3BFLIX integrated streaming service will still use traditional distribution methods that Netflix or Youtube use: We don't offer P2P downloading or decentralized file storage yet.

Essentially, by building on blockchain, we will have the opportunity to offer our services to anyone who has access to the internet and a Web3 wallet. Traditional streaming services require bank cards for payment, but millions of people from around the world don’t have access to traditional financial services such as bank accounts.

As DeFi offers these people access to financial services and products, they’ll be able to pay for subscriptions, even from Telegram. Additionally, blockchain enables us to gamify the platform and provide a points system to incentivize usage, which can be converted to crypto and withdrawable to the secondary market.

Another aspect is the traceability of the promotion budget (P&A) and resources and their impact on sales and distribution for the entertainment industry, which is traditionally very opaque. This springs out of the rise of a Web3 community spirit, which is an improvement from Web2 and allows us to turn the way the industry is financed on its head. Instead of throwing millions at a movie and hoping it will make its money back further down the road, live testing IPs with audiences while projects are still in development may indicate whether a film idea may be a flop or a hit.

How many movies do you currently have? Are you planning to add some blockbusters or your own production?

In addition to “Papicha,” where investors got their principal back +3%, we’ve also worked on the biopic “Kenzo Takada: Vivre ses rêves,” a tribute to the founder of Kenzo. The film project was launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022 and is in production. The NFT collection associated with it had 900 participants in real life and 3,000 active participants online during the launch event, and all the NFTs were sold within the day of launch. The project has won the best metaverse experience award.

We have ten upcoming impact and commercial projects in EMEA and APAC, including the Shogakukan (Pokemon) backed animation “SupeRich” and Roma official selection film “Houria” (Canal+, Wild Bunch) with RollingStone Italy marketing support and Wes Anderson’s lead actress Lyna Khoudri (“The French Dispatch”).

We are in active talks with our industry contacts and sourcing some great content as well as live concert events as we cater to both international and Hollywood projects alike. Remember that we have Rolling Stone production arm (RS Production) that is part of our cap table, and they have been providing us with both marketing and content opportunities.

One of the Hollywood projects we have been involved in has been with Versus Entertainment and Scott Free's (Ridley Scott) Ethereum biopic titled “The Infinite Machine,” which we expect to be screened in 2025.

We are also collaborating with another crypto-native project with one of our partners on a film that delves into the mystery behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, and the motivations behind its inception. Stay tuned for more updates!

Examples of some of the films that we have financially backed with Lumiere are Papicha and Houria

Now, let’s discuss probably the most critical aspects of the existing streaming services: pricing and library. What will the price be for using W3bflix, and how many titles do you plan to offer when you launch?

We’ll offer a tiered subscription service with the basic subscription starting at $2 per month ($1 per month for life, tradable, for the first 100,000 community members). We eventually aim to offer a premium subscription tier at around $5, but this exact price hasn’t been confirmed yet. Ultimately, we want to make our premium services cheaper than even Netflix’s basic subscription and provide affordable pricing to anyone around the world.

Just to clarify, what is the subscription? It's basically buying a certain amount of $FLIX so that the community member who has bought them is whitelisted on the upcoming films as it is the only way to access the activities connected to the films: IRL and online. Watching the film is part of the deal, but a big part of the appeal is that people can participate in funding the films they want to watch and the associated activities, as well as being rewarded for promoting them.

Many streaming services have geo content restrictions, offering different titles in different regions. Will this be the case with W3BFLIX as well?

Our goal is to make our products and services accessible to as broad of an audience as possible and we aim to achieve our goal with the help of blockchain and decentralization. We want to democratize access to entertainment to everyone, everywhere and we believe doing something as simple as watching entertainment should be a basic amenity.

That being said, we also recognize the importance of respecting and following the jurisdictions of any country or region. While we will fight our hardest to provide our services to as many people as possible, we will not engage in any practices that are outside the law.

This is where professional agreements with distributors and working hand in hand with them are crucial, particularly when negotiating ticketing deals. By the way, this is already going a long way, given that no content info has been made available from most other film web3 companies to date. But we do, and what sets us apart is our track record; we did RWA before it was a thing. ;)

And now the most important question – When do you launch?

We’ve projected it will take six months for us to develop and launch once our funding is secured, and at the moment, funding is our main goal. We’re getting strong interest from both traditional entertainment companies and VCs that we’re in discussion with. Our deck is finally completed, and our litepaper is about to be released. If you’re interested in joining us on our journey to revolutionize entertainment and onboard the next billion users to Web3, TON, and Telegram, reach out to our CEO Patrice Poujol, or drop us a line at contact[at]w3bflix.io.