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Remixing Entertainment - The Future of IP

In a world where everyone becomes creators and user-generated content platforms are thriving, traditional entertainment IP have to lean in; Transitioning from products to platforms.

Key takeaways: 

  • Digital transformation is changing entertainment IP from a product to a platform for fan contribution.

  • Generative AI and user-generated content platforms, like Roblox, are driving this change.

  • IP holders should be open to fan remixes and extensions as a new engagement method.

  • IP relevance can be preserved if fans are allowed to create with it.

  • The transformation involves the use of AI tools, creating personalized stories, enabling cross-platform play, and fostering a creative community.

  • Reward structures, potentially involving blockchain, tokens, and NFTs, can incentivize fan creativity.

  • This fan-centric approach extends a franchise's lifespan, boosts revenue, and attracts new audiences.

Imagine a world where fans aren't just spectators but active contributors to their favorite brands and story universes, like Marvel and Barbie. This isn't a far-off fantasy. It's the inevitable evolution of entertainment intellectual property (IP) in the digital age.

For decades, studios have fiercely protected and micro-managed their IPs. From scripts to merchandise, every detail is meticulously curated, and every copyright infringement is challenged. Their intention? To preserve the integrity and value of their IP.

Yet, this landscape is drastically transforming in the accelerating current of digitization. Two game-changing trends are disrupting the established order, sparking a shift in consumer behaviors and unveiling unprecedented opportunities for IP holders. The once-solid boundaries between creator and consumer are blurring, causing a ripple effect throughout the industry.

Until now, entertainment IP has primarily served as a product, something to be consumed. But the tide is turning, ushering in a future where IP doesn't just serve as a product but evolves into a platform of infinite creative possibilities.

This new chapter is written by generative AI technologies that democratize creativity and user-generated content (UGC) platforms like Roblox that champion active participation over passive consumption. The will, want, and craving among fans to engage beyond just watching or reading is powerfully evident in the bustling forums of Reddit and the plethora of fan fiction websites.

So, let's delve into this emerging universe, explore its contours and possibilities, and envision what it could be if fans had the tools and freedom to create, collaborate, and remix from the foundations of their favorite characters and assets.

Everyone becomes creators

The two massive trends that are currently shaping the future of entertainment are:

  1. Generative AI technologies democratize creativity, empowering everyone to become creators.

  2. User-generated content (UGC) platforms like Roblox gaining popularity, driving engagement through active participation rather than passive consumption. The potency of a UGC flywheel is not to be underestimated.

The will, want, and craving among fans to engage beyond passive consumption is clearly on display in Reddit forums and websites dedicated to fan fiction.

The act of creating is engaging and empowering. That experience is amplified tenfold when generative AI tools enable people to create beyond their individual capabilities.

(If you've ever crammed out a smashing visual from Midjourney, you know this feeling.)

This combination of technology, the creative energy of fans, and the love that the same fans have for the IP creates opportunity.

What if fans had the access and the means to create, collaborate and remix from the foundations of their favorite characters and assets?

IP owners must transition from safeguarding and protecting to opening up and inviting in. From product to platform. To be clear, I'm not arguing that IP holders abandon creating products (movies, toys, games). But rather for them to consider fan remixing and extensions as another touchpoint to engage with the IP itself.

With the rise of UGC platforms and AI-assisted means to create, everyone can become a creator. And a lot of people will create.

For IP with existing audiences, leaning into this trend is better than not. Even if there are risks and uncertainties attached. The bottom line is that studios have a better chance of preserving the relevance of their IP if their fans can create with it.

Because the fans will create, they'll find other outlets and platforms instead. And potentially, other characters and stories to fall in love with.

From product to platform

So, how can IP transform into a platform?

  1. Develop generative AI tools that are trained on the IP, enabling fans to remix, compose, and collaborate using beloved assets.

  2. Create personalized side stories for fans to share with their friends, adding more depth to the IP universe.

  3. Enable play with characters and assets across various platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, and Zepeto.

  4. Foster a community of creativity by incentivizing collaboration and sharing among fans.

This approach can evolve further by setting up reward structures for fans' creativity and engagement, even potentially integrating fan-created storylines into the official IP canon.

A co-creation and rewards structure could be orchestrated with tokens and NFTs on a blockchain. A topic worthy of it's own post, so we'll return to that…

This transition's impact fuels revenue growth and extends the franchise's lifespan. Remixing allows for reimagining stories, introducing new characters, and pulling in new audiences while maintaining the groundwork laid by the original IP. It's a strategy that keeps fans of the original content invested while attracting a fresh crowd.

Generative AI may not make everyone a master storyteller, but it does provide an empowering mechanism for fans to participate and garner diverse attention around a brand/property.

This shift is already in motion in the thriving communities of Roblox and Fortnite. The user-generated content flywheel fuels their success, creating a cycle of creation and engagement that powers these digital universes.

Integrating generative AI tools into these platforms is uniquely positioned to democratize creation. It makes the act of creation simpler, thereby empowering a wider array of users to engage and create. The result? An empowered user base that isn't just consuming content but actively participating in shaping the future of their favorite IPs.

At this crossroads in the evolution of entertainment IP, the traditional approach meets the bustling, participatory realms emerging from platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. As we contemplate the potential of these emerging platforms, we aren't just envisioning a remix of the current IP scene. We are staring at the future of what next-generation entertainment IP could truly be.