The following might be considered a controversial statement, but in true pioneering spirit, the founders of The Future Shapers – the global network of thought-leaders and innovators – want you to hear it anyway: the current news media model is well and truly broken.
How so? Well, an unhealthy reliance on advertising has forced media outlets to focus on chasing clicks, rather than creating real value for consumers.
The result? Fewer stories of importance are told or heard; less cutting-edge thought leadership is communicated to audiences that value such content. Consequently, the amount of available, actionable insight fails to meet demand in today’s ideas-driven world.
However, a plan has emerged to change this, with The Future Shapers innovation thought-leadership platform, www.thefutureshapers.com.
The potential for blockchain technology to disrupt content rights distribution is already noticeable in the music business. Streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer require an additional layer of intermediaries to ensure the artists’ rights management process is conducted fairly.
As a result, content creators need different contracts in each jurisdiction, often via multiple intermediaries, to protect copyright and enable distribution of their content.
However, putting content on a blockchain and having the connectivity for peer-to-peer transactions via a digital currency such as Bitcoin – or a smart contract such as Ethereum – allows complete transparency and automation of execution, as well as direct payments to copyright holders.
New start-ups such as Choon, Jaxx, and Voise propose utilising blockchain to simplify digital rights management through bypassing the usual intermediaries. This enables micro-payments from fans buying music directly from the artist themselves – essentially reconnecting value directly to the content creator.
Likewise, The Future Shapers are taking the strengths and disruptive capability of blockchain in order to ‘return value back to knowledge’.
The immutability and trustless nature of blockchain means it can be used in instances where record-keeping and auditable data is key, such as when thought-leadership content creators need different contracts in each jurisdiction to protect copyright and enable distribution.
Putting content on a blockchain with the connectivity for peer-to-peer transactions via a smart contract such as Ethereum allows complete transparency and automation of execution, as well as direct payments to copyright holders.
With these aims, it’s no surprise The Future Shapers are ardent advocates of the proposed updates to the EU Copyright Law and Digital Single Market, and take a similar view to the Copyright for Knowledge cross-sectoral body which aims to work with government at both a UK and EU level to achieve a balanced copyright regime in Europe. The Future Shapers believe such changes have the potential to stimulate creativity and innovation with the opportunity for a wider, more competitive platform environment.
The recent Copyright Directive vote in the European Parliament will be revisited in September, and as this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new balance in the online world reverberates through the digital world, The Future Shapers are primed to ensure its contributors, partners, and stakeholders get a fair share of the value they create.
The Future Shapers’ Co-Founder, Cris Beswick, explains:
Building ‘The Future Shapers’ has been, and continues to be, somewhat of a personal crusade, one which I liken to when the late Steve Jobs was being interviewed and asked why iTunes had been so disruptive. In answering the question, he said: ‘When we created the iTunes Music Store, we did so because we thought it would be great to be able to buy music electronically, not because we had plans to redefine the music industry’.
In some ways I feel the same about what we’re doing with The Future Shapers. When I started this journey, I simply wanted to give people better access to actionable content around innovation and provide a better platform for thought leaders to share their expertise and build their credibility as genuine experts.
Yet there is now a sense that the technology we are building will genuinely disrupt the online media industry, or at least contribute to redefining it. We may not quite put Steve’s ‘ding’ in the universe, but if we deliver on our mantra to ‘return value back to knowledge’ we will have done something genuinely significant – we will have shifted the needle and helped shape the future!”
The Future Shapers’ exciting proposals for generating revenue for online publishers has piqued the interest of those at the coalface of the industry, including Neil Skehel, proprietor of the UK’s premier CX portal, Customer Experience Magazine.
Referencing the well-known challenges faced by publishers in a period of unprecedented upheaval, he said:
News International created a pay wall so you can only read a few lines of The Times, and I am not sure they would tell you it has really worked. There are a few other models in the online news and content industry, such as The Guardian’s appeal to readers to pay voluntarily for quality journalism.
However, Cris, Richard and their fellow Future Shapers are creating a technology based on real innovation, which will enable every single provider of valuable content to monetise it in a new customer-friendly way.
This is a value innovation – a game changer! Think Netflix for online content! My honest prediction is that this will be nothing short of massive.”
The vanguards of any industry are the ones shaping the future. To join the front runners, visit The Future Shapers current equity crowdfunding page and help return value back to knowledge.