Major Hollywood Agencies Are Staking a Claim in the NFT Game

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Nonfungible tokens (NFT) have officially moved from an art world oddity into Hollywood: Talent agencies UTA, CAA, and WME are getting in on the business, having signed on as advisors to Notables, a startup that will create and sell NFTs. The agencies plan to use them to facilitate opportunities for their clients and their respective fanbases.

Why is Hollywood interested in NFTs?

NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital objects that people can create, buy, and sell—think of them as digital collectibles. Just as the first edition of a comic book is one-of-a-kind, an individual NFT is unique. Sure, an NFT can be copied (just as a painting can be copied), but only one person can own the original.

The possibilities for NFTs vary from selling them to raise production funds—dampening reliance on traditional financiers or studios to get a project made—to increasing sales profits after a popular project’s been released, to giving followers opportunities to own original work from beloved creators. 

“The NFT space offers creators a new avenue for expression and a whole new way to engage with their fans,” said Lesley Silverman, UTA’s digital assets agent and Notables board member, in a statement. 

In addition to partnering with Notables, CAA announced it would work alongside Theta, a blockchain video network, and it’s NFT marketplace, ThetaDrop.

“We believe that blockchain technology and the rise of digital collectible NFTs will bring unprecedented opportunities to our family of storytellers, trendsetters, icons and thought leaders in the entertainment industry,” Michael Yanover, CAA’s head of business development, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, A3 Artists Agency announced it would launch an NFT Task Force to keep their clients competitive in the relatively new technology. “The long-term value of this really cool new way to create collectibles for fans...those folks, those collectors have existed forever, and they will exist in perpetuity,” Alec Shankman, co-managing partner at A3, said.

Why are NFTs a big deal?

The introduction of NFTs in the entertainment space signals yet another step to decentralize financial power when it comes to greenlighting projects, loosening ties between actor and celebrity salaries and traditional distribution, and creating digital-first marketplaces linked to popular actors, series, or properties.

Where else are we seeing NFTs?

NFTs first gained widespread notoriety when a visual artist named Beeple sold one for a record-setting $69 million. But actors and celebrities, including William Shatner and LeBron James, as well as entertainment producers, also sell and invest in NFTs. 

Anthony Hopkins’ newest film, “Zero Contact,” will premiere exclusively on Vuele, a new NFT platform that will premiere and distribute film and entertainment content as NFTs. Broadway production company Seaview recently announced the creation of Bway.io, an NFT distributor for theater content, which will launch in the fall.

Notables is being spearheaded by ‚Äč‚Äčinvestment firm Forest Road Company, who spent $20 million to launch the platform. A launch date has not yet been announced.

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