I have heard that one of the primary problems with creating new media, either movies, TV, video, music, etc. is that once it is digitized then it spreads like wildfire across the internet and the creative people and the financial people don’t get a good return on their investment. A legitimate concern.
Which got me to thinking. There is this thing called microfinance. Lots of individuals invest in small projects, where someone may only need $500 to get a fishing net or a few hundred euros for a loom. A small amount that the larger banks won’t cover, but where the collective can share the risk and the reward.
Let’s take this approach to the creative industry, especially one like movies or TV that require a lot of up-front capital to deliver a product that may or may not be worth it. Someone like Joss Whedon, a creative genius, may want to expand the Firefly universe with another season worth of shows. This will cost millions of dollars to produce. So, what if Joss put up subscription plan? If a million people put up 10 dollars each, Joss would have the startup money to get going. In exchange, the subscribers would all get digital copies of the finished product and 50% of any income associated with the project (sale to networks, etc), the other 50% goes to the talent. (I have heard about the byzantine accounting methods in Hollywood, so there would have to be a fairly explicit contract written in support of this.)
The digital owners of the finished product may have their own incentives to share or not-share the content on the internet, but, big deal; everyone associated with the project has their primary return.
I would also consider subscribing to a Tarantino project or a Weinstein Brothers project, or those guys that did “Fargo“. Even if one $10 investment is bad, in the long run I would expect most to be worth the effort.
If the producer wants to develop a project and figures that it will take $200M to develop and can’t raise the $200M in subscriptions, then put it back on the shelf and give the subscribers back their money.
If you think about it a while, there may be a lot of ways to game the system. Safeguards will need to be developed with trusted intermediaries. But this is also an approach to give support for projects that you enjoy and that you want to see.
Just think of how much better the world would be if Mike Jittlov had the capital to do it right…