Fox officially unveiled its new animated show “Krapopolis” ahead of its Upfront presentation on Monday, referring to the show as the “first-ever animated series curated entirely on the blockchain.”
While the programming itself will not live on any blockchain network—a blockchain is a digital ledger—the show incorporates non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from day one. Behind its Web3 studio Blockchain Creative Labs, Fox will launch a marketplace to curate and sell “Krapopolis”-themed NFTs, as well as other types of tokens that grant exclusive social experiences for diehard fans.
The strategy signals Fox’s most committed investment in Web3 yet. Viewers will have the opportunity to collect assets relating to the show’s characters, background art and GIFs, almost as if participating in a system of digital trading cards. Blockchain platform Eluvio will house the show’s marketplace.
But Fox’s NFTs will serve as more than mere collectibles, Scott Greenberg, CEO of Blockchain Creative Labs, told Ad Age in February.
“Collectibles are one piece of what we do, but how do you build a digital economy, a virtual economy around a brand?” he said.
The real value in NFTs, according to Greenberg, is their potential as vehicles of content distribution, inspiring fan engagement with characters and moments long after a program airs. Similar to how a consumer could buy a CD of an album they heard on the radio, they could feasibly purchase an NFT of their favorite “Krapopolis” episode. Ownership rights that would come with such a purchase, however, are not clear.
“Krapopolis” was developed by Dan Harmon, co-creator of Adult Swim fan-favorite series “Rick and Morty,” and follows a flawed family of humans, gods and monsters as they try to run a city in mythical ancient Greece. The series was first teased during last year’s Upfront, but at this year’s presentation, the show will receive its formal scheduling in Fox’s 2022-2023 slate of programming.
Behind the popularity of Harmon, the show could serve as a significant opportunity for Blockchain Creative Labs, whose master plan includes merging Fox’s vast pool of IP with Web3 technology. Rival mass media companies including Paramount and Disney are exploring similar efforts. Paramount launched an NFT marketplace last month that will house collections from various brands in its portfolio, while Disney is focusing on the metaverse as a new storytelling landscape. NBCUniversal is also thinking about tying the metaverse to its IP.
For brands in the broader TV space, Fox’s strategy underlying “Krapopolis” suggests that media companies are looking to NFTs not as one-off activations, but rather as long-term marketing investments. Fox tied the two rollouts together instead of waiting to activate NFTs after a fanbase for the show had been established, signaling it wants NFTs to be a vehicle of fandom from the start. Paramount also did this with its “Star Trek” franchise when it launched an ambitious NFT plan for the “Strange New Worlds” series before it even debuted.
Further, Fox isn’t concerned by recent volatility in the NFT and crypto markets. In response to a question during a pre-Upfront press call, Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment, doubled down on the company’s interest in the space, stating its belief that Web3 will bring novel opportunities in product and distribution.
“[What] we like about the volatility is that it does shake out a lot of people who are trying to just act like it was a gold rush,” he said. “We’re in for the long haul.”
Contributing: Parker Herren