GreyJuiceLab works with the world's largest operators to plan, build and manage their OTT services. In a new era in the content industry, the company is already thinking and planning for the impact of web3, NFT and Artificial Intelligence in the content industry. To describe this scenario, Señal News spoke with Mihai Crasneanu, CEO of Grey Juice Lab; and Damián Craimowicz, Regional Director Latin America of the company.
What trends do you observe, both in terms of content production and distribution?
-MC: Although the pandemic caused a contraction in the industry and a focus on large platforms, the post-pandemic stage is driving a shift towards greater openness and decentralization in all aspects. Creators in both production and distribution are looking for alternatives to centralization and developing business models that are less dependent on the dominant platforms. In this context, we are seeing a progressive transition towards web-based audiovisual projects3, taking advantage of blockchain technology, where the power resides with the creator and, above all, with the community behind him.
-DC: The possibility of production being funded, even partially by a group of passionate followers, rather than just two or three large investors, demonstrates initial and organic traction, and democratizes content in a way never seen before. Distribution is an integral part of this new ecosystem, allowing the producer to reach their fans directly and monetize their work without relying on third parties who may control their rights or impose unprofitable terms.
What are the most important factors when acquiring content?
-DC: The most important factor, especially in a subscription model, is to ensure that the content is appropriate and specific to each market and customer. We do not acquire and distribute the same content for all operators. Our approach is more handcrafted and customized curation. We evaluate the market, the competition, our clients' budgets and, based on this combination, we develop the most appropriate content proposal. We live in a time of transformation, both strategically and tactically. The flexibility of content providers in closing a deal is also crucial. If a piece of content doesn't work, we have to change it. If our client needs flexibility in programming and exhibition aspects, we require the distributor to collaborate in the creativity of the deal, ensuring the success of the commercial proposal. Launching a VOD service outside the major platforms is a challenge that involves constant trial and error. We need partners who act as true allies in the business and not just as content distributors.
-MC: In terms of specific content attributes, we are facing a situation where our customers are increasingly looking to complement what the dominant OTTs offer, especially in areas where they have high penetration. We therefore focus on content that is not found on conventional platforms, that is innovative and attractive for each territory. This strategy has led us to establish new agreements with major production companies such as Fremantle, ITV and Lux Vide, among others.
What potential do you see in the link between web3 and the world of content?
-MC: The potential is infinite. I think we are still far from imagining the future possibilities. Artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT and others, and web3 change paradigms. It doesn't just add a layer of value. It structurally changes the way we do business. The fact that a creator does not depend exclusively on selling content to Netflix or Amazon opens a range of unique opportunities, as it eliminates the intermediation with its community of fans and allows a direct monetization, not only of content but of all the facets that an IP can have.
How would you describe this paradigm shift for the industry?
-MC: In short, before, creators were looking to sell their work, ideally maximizing the price, to a few companies to finance future projects. Now, with web3, they can exploit new business models, such as NFTs, diversifying their revenue streams and reducing dependence on a few major sales, which creates very long-term revenue directly with the consumer with all that IP allows.
-DC: NFTs are a revolution in the content world. Imagine fans with access to film sets, unreleased scenes or exclusive events. Creators can sell collectibles and offer unique benefits to NFT owners. In addition, NFTs create strong communities between fans and consumers, supporting and funding projects. In short, NFTs represent a huge opportunity for both creators and fans.
What is your role and what growth opportunity do you find in creating NFT projects?
-MC: Our role is to help our clients, whether they are operators, content providers or distributors, to connect, content, communities, partners and digital opportunities by creating NFTs. And instead of NFTs maybe we'll call them digital experiences or digital privileges, just so everyone understands. We've created a division at Grey Juice Lab with specialized expertise to provide consulting, strategy development and implementation of NFT projects. We know what works and what doesn't, as we have been working on these projects for years, an invaluable experience in our industry. Many companies want to launch collectibles, but if they think that only with an NFT they will succeed, unfortunately they will fail.
-DC: Launching an NFT is much more than a smart contract with a character figurine. It is understanding the community and knowing what they want, what launch and engagement models to use, how to maintain interest. It has a sociological and tribal component as much and more relevant than a technical one. The selection and content of the communication channels is essential, the type of utilities must be relevant and genuine so that their fans, dominated by the passion of their favorite content, are enthused. That's what we take care of. The growth of this business will be exponential in the coming years. Global brands and platforms are already launching in this territory. But not yet the operators, and only a handful of content producers. That will be our space for collaboration in an industry that is constantly reinventing itself.