NFTs bring the entertainment industry innovative ways to fund projects and boost fan engagement

By Fernanda De La Torre

The entertainment industry as we know it is changing. These changes are being accelerated by the pandemic, new technology, and the rise of new mediums fans are consuming material from.

Due to the closure of cinemas during the pandemic, the majority of films turned to streaming and digital rental platforms with premieres happening from the comfort of peoples’ homes. Even with restrictions being lifted, fans aren’t as inclined to go to the theaters to watch movies. According to a Gallup Poll, 61% of Americans didn’t step foot in a movie theater in 2021.¹

As a result, studios are innovating, turning to social media, influencer marketing, and other digital strategies to catch and hold audiences’ interest from pre-production to distribution.

One new method for films to capture fans is through NFTs, which can be integrated in a plethora of ways to bring fans closer to the projects, generate new distribution windows, generate additional revenue streams, and create longevity for a project. NFTs bring a variety of new and intriguing opportunities to the film industry. 

Here are a few creative ways that Upstream, alongside other industry leaders, are exploring NFTs to usher in the future of entertainment.

Project funding

NFTs can offer traditional and diverse films an innovative funding path outside of traditional Hollywood practices. It can enable fans to experience the excitement of filmmaking from beginning to end as supporters and/or proud owners of exclusive NFTs and rewards.

NFT opportunities can include images, videos, audio recordings, tickets, membership, etc. NFTs could also be used to digitize existing props and promotional materials to create a digital footprint and add unique elements to the physical versions. The types of NFTs that can be utilized to fund projects are virtually limitless.

The value of integrating NFTs into funding TV or film projects is similar to the benefits issuers may get from crowdfunding. Engaging fans and rewarding them with experiences and digital collectibles from exciting projects have the potential to build a community of brand ambassadors who help bring visibility and support to the film or show.

NFTs are already funding some projects; for example, the $50 million Hollywood picture Antara is being partially funded by NFTs. The NFT holders will own a portion of the film’s digital rights and profit from box office success.²

Fan engagement

NFTs offer creatives a unique way to engage fans. While most NFTs in headlines have been art-related, many things can be made into an NFT. Upstream primarily focuses on fan engagement NFTs for athletes, musicians, and entertainers. We work with entities to integrate NFT strategies that derive NFTs from valuable owned assets or opportunities that we believe will make strong digital footprints.

NFT airdrops, for example, are a great way to kick off fan engagement and create a segue into premium NFTs that can be purchased to access behind-the-scenes footage, clips, outtakes, or act as a ticket to a meet and greet. Premium NFTs can also give fans a voice in the film’s production by allowing them to vote or choose things like the accessories used in a scene.

Films like Deadpool 2 have already integrated NFTs to boost fan engagement and released a series of exclusive NFTs for people who had purchased a movie ticket.³ Following the purchase of the ticket, fans were given a code to redeem one of four exclusive NFTs, which could then be traded like any other collectible.

Digital merch

Just like physical merchandise has made its mark in the film industry, digital merchandise is quickly carving its place.

The amazing part about digital merchandise is that it can be converted from any physical merch. For example, you can offer digital clothing like T-shirts that can actually be used in a metaverse. Other physical things that can be turned into digital merch include posters, trading cards, and tickets.

Big names in the film industry have begun looking into offering digital merch to fans. Warner Bros is currently working on creating a collection of hybrid trading cards based on DC Comics.⁴ Lionsgate is also another big player in the film industry that has started to look into creating NFT collections for some of their larger franchises including John Wick, The Hunger Games, and Mad Men.⁵

Concluding thoughts

NFTs are still in infancy and Upstream is thrilled to be at the forefront of integrating creative NFTs into the world of entertainment.

To avoid missing out on future opportunities to participate in upcoming projects, download the Upstream app and join the conversation on Discord.

Interested issuers can reach the team at


1 Forbes| 2 Forbes|3 Forbes|4 CNBC| 5 Forbes

About Upstream

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange enables investors to trade shares in IPOs, NFTs, U.S., and international dual-listed equities, and celebrity ventures directly from the app Interested issuers can reach the team at

About Horizon

Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Their in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally. Learn more at


Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, and a full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement, and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practices and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All brokerage services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. All customers are subject to the rules and regulations of their jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings, and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.

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