Techopia Live: Ottawa-based BlackBox changing how content creators get paid

In the midst of his quest to ensure content creators get a fair shake for their work, Pat McGowan stopped by Techopia Live this week to share how his company BlackBox is hoping to change the media industry's business model.

Fresh off his pitch at TiECon Canada last week, McGowan broke down the problem that BlackBox is solving: Independent content creators are treated as “commoditized labour” in the production supply chain and paid a standard fee for their efforts, while large companies such as Netflix or stock footage providers take the end results to market.

Acting as an agent for these creators and as a platform for them to upload their work, BlackBox takes their work to these large customers. The original videographers and editors on the work don’t lose their ownership when it goes onto BlackBox, however. They retain a stake through what McGowan calls “fractional ownership of intellectual property” or FOIP.

McGowan told Techopia Live that the ability to easily share ownership and income on media projects is crucial to making sure creators are fairly compensated for their time and effort.

“The real interesting part about that is they can split the revenue with collaborators … that’s the real revolution,” he said. Once BlackBox strikes a deal with a distributor such as Netflix or Shutterstock, the creators are directly compensated based on their revenue-splitting agreement.

“The money flows down the waterfall, and the content creators are recipients, fairly, of that waterfall dividend,” McGowan said.

BlackBox just passed the 30,000 member mark in its guild – nine more joined over the course of the interview, McGowan mentioned when the cameras stopped rolling.

Leaning into his idealism, McGowan said the concept appeals to creators because it levels the playing field, fulfilling one of the promises of the web: to build a world where anyone who does great work can earn a living doing so.

“We’re capturing the imagination of these people that actually believe they want a better world, that they want a better place to work. We’re just exposing them to an ecosystem that allows them to do that.”

Learn more about how BlackBox is attempting to scale its platform by watching the video above.