Media curiosity, desperation for attention or the latest revenue source? Selling Articles As NFTs

Last march 12th year 2021 the Media houses stopped only writing about the NFT phenomena and started doing.  The Associated Press got 100 Ethereum ETH’s and became the very first news organization to sell an NFT, for a work of art titled “The Associated Press calls the 2020 Presidential Election on Blockchain—A View from Outer Space.” 

The Quartz magazine followed their lead and was the first piece of text journalism to be put up for sale as an NFT. The Associated press at that time got approximately $180,000 US Dollars for their NFT, while Quartz despite impressive coverage had to be satisfied for their 1 Eth reward only. Life is not always fair. Media even less so. 

Regardless of that, Jarrod Dicker, commercial vice president for The Washington Post told The Columbia Journalism Review that NFTs are a way of bringing “ownership back to media, as well as a means to be able to collect revenue.”

In March 2021, The New York Times sold one of their articles as an NFT. It was a column about NFTs, sold as an NFT. Announced by Kevin Roose, it acted both as an NFT explainer and a sales pitch for buying the article. He talked readers through the process of minting an NFT and putting it up for sale. 

The winning bidder, 3F Music, received a PNG of the article and a congratulatory voice memo from Michael Barbaro, host of the newspaper’s popular The Daily podcast. They’ll also be featured in a follow-up article about the NFT’s sale, but they won’t get the $563,000 prize (enough to buy a NYT subscription for two millennia). Instead, that’s going straight to the newspaper’s charity arm: the ‘Neediest Cases Fund’.

It was an experiment that sparked interest across the Atlantic. Now, it’s not just the NYT, not just the newspaper industry, not just America, who’s taking up the challenge. Back in Europe, Finland’s national broadcaster, YLE (Yleisradio), sold an article in March 2021 about… you guessed it: cryptocurrencies. Their website summed the sale: ‘NFTs can be compared to an old newspaper found in the attic, of which only one copy has survived. The magazine can be sold to a collector, but copyrights or trademarks are not transferred with the sale to the buyer’. 

As YLE is a public broadcaster, funded through a tax, it was controversial. For a start, there was the fee. Was it right to use public money? And what would happen if Elon Musk bought in? Would the public be propping up the investment of a billionaire… or would the license fee that citizens pay be decreased temporarily? 

YLE made 10 per cent of just 1.3 ether (€1,800). Clearly, in any case, it’s a long way from a funding solution. But are they successful as media gimmicks, designed to strum up readership? Perhaps. Earlier this year, Time magazine sold three covers as NFTs, including their legendary ‘Is God Dead?’ from 1966. That image made well under $200,000, but it did spark chatter. 

Would you have ever imagined that traditional news TV channel CNN would go even further? The company will mint moments from their 41-year history, offering winners the chance to display them on a user page. 

You thought that was all? No, even Fox News has gone one step further still from that. The network announced it will invest $100 million in its ‘Blockchain Creative Labs’ fund to invent what has not yet been seen. 

Meanwhile in Europe the Media NFT scene is more “traditional”, Sweden’s Realtid.se online news announced that Daniel Daboczy, CEO of the Technicorum group, partnered with them to make journalism NFTs possible. Even good old France has entered the podium. French media company has sold its first article NFT. 

What if we would be offering you the chance to buy articles as an NFT? The NYT sell articles, Jack Dorsey sells Tweets, John Cleese sells iPad drawings and Lindsay Lohan is both an NFT artist and collector. Now, we too are talking the talk and walking the walk as Fyggex.com has produced NFTs for Bitjoin studios Fakefluencer film and Icelandic Yoga app Flow.is What do you say? Ready to buy some? 





Image: A M Hasan Nasim

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