Fox is best known for "The Simpsons," glossy schlock from Ryan Murphy ("Nip/Tuck"; "American Horror Story"), and a show in which B-list celebrities sing while dressed up as furries.
So launching an studio seems like a reasonable pivot.
Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, while rolling out the broadcast network's fall lineup at this year's media Upfronts, announced that the company is forming Blockchain Creative Labs to create non-fungible tokens based on the intellectual property it owns.
According to Fox, the marketplace “will curate and sell digital goods, ranging from NFTs of one-of-a-kind character and background art, and GIFs, as well as tokens that provide exclusive social experiences to engage and reward super fans.”
The NFT studio's debut will align with the premiere of "Krapoplis," a new animated series helmed by "Rick and Morty" and "Community" creator Dan Harmon.
“As an advertiser-focused, artist-first and animation-obsessed company, Fox is going to take advertisers into the world of blockchain-powered tokens, including NFTs,” Collier said. “And Dan’s series, currently entitled 'Krapopolis,' will be the first-ever curated entirely on the blockchain. And just as we’re doing this for our own animation, we will also help your brands connect directly with fans and enthusiasts through NFTs.”
NFTS are unique digital tokens that exist on a blockchain. They can be used as ownership deeds tied to digital or physical artwork, music, or digital collectibles, such as NBA Top Shot video "moments." During the first quarter of 2021, the NFT market registered $1.5 billion in sales, according to DappRadar.
While traditional TV ratings dip as audiences become more fragmented, Fox is betting on NFTs as a way of squeezing every possible cent from its properties.
As the NFT market has bubbled up this year, there's been growing debate about copyright, as individual artists and media companies have both pushed into the space. In March, DC Comics, which was considering its own NFT sales, warned its artists: "Please note that the offering for sale of any digital images featuring DC's intellectual property with or without NFTs, whether rendered for DC's publications or rendered outside the scope of one's contractual engagement with DC, is not permitted." Meanwhile, a handful of Marvel artists began selling NFTs on Portion.io in February, likely also without Marvel's express permission.
Fox, then, is trying to get ahead of the curve, although it too has outstanding copyright issues to contend with. Due to Disney's 2019 acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the former now owns the rights to products from the Fox TV studio, such as "The Simpsons." But not to "The Masked Singer."
Stay tuned for NFTs of Danny Trejo as a raccoon.
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