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Japan’s Dentsu uses blockchain to reward manga fans as influencers

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Earlier this month, Japanese advertising firm Dentsu started a blockchain trial to reward secondary content creators for select manga titles (Japanese comics). According to a report from Nikkei, the company is working with Kadokawa ASCII Research Laboratories, a unit of media conglomerate Kadokawa Corporation which owns publishing rights to many manga series. 

A consumer could sell a comic or other books multiple times especially if it’s a collectible. But the original creator only earns a royalty for the initial sale. 

On the other hand, some users create fan content based on the original work. Japan has a history of user-generated content surrounding anime, manga, and its famous characters. 

Dentsu aims to use blockchain to monetize these secondary and tertiary content creators for their work as well as provide a share of the revenue to the original owner. For example, if someone streams comments on an anime adaptation film such as ‘Ghost in the Shell’, they will earn a share of profits if it increases the number of viewers for the film. 

“We want to incorporate the activities of fans that have not been converted into monetary value into the legitimate content market,” said Junichi Suzuki, who is heading the blockchain trial at Dentsu.

Until now, such online influencers had little incentive to promote a film, anime, or manga content. Meanwhile, fans would generally create their own content based on their favorite character, which is technically a copyright violation. Dentsu’s solution would allow fans to modify the original content with the owner’s permission. 

Current blockchain projects for media copyright are primarily focused on the detection of infringements and prosecution. China’s Baidu has launched the PIC-CHAIN blockchain for image copyright protection. Sony has a rights management blockchain for written works. 

In South Korea, CJ Group has launched a blockchain copyright system for music. And Italy’s Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE)is working with blockchain firm Algorand for a copyright management platform.