Fireside, the "participatory entertainment platform" founded by Fatemi and billionaire investor Mark Cuban, is partnering with Ethereum-based blockchain network SKALE on a $100 million "ecosystem fund" that is designed to "help kickstart a new generation of creators to transition to Web3."
Grants from the fund will be provided "both in liquid and locked forms in a single currency or mixed currency set based on the goals and structure of the grant," according to the company, including but not limited to SKALE tokens, Ethereum, USDC, Bitcoin, and fiat currency (i.e. US dollars or euros).
Fireside already has several high-profile names among its pool of 2,000 creators, including Jay Leno, Melissa Rivers, and Craig Kilborn. And it has teamed with "Entourage" creator Doug Ellin's production company Angry Lunch to create the series "Ramble On" starring Charlie Sheen, Kevin Connolly, and Kevin Dillon.
The platform said it can help creators to "launch a network and then really have their fans be a part of not just the content-creating process, but be behind the scenes get early access to content, and ultimately also be a part of helping evolve those entertainment networks of the future," Fatemi told Insider.
Fireside, which initially launched as an apparent Clubhouse competitor before pivoting more broadly to entertainment, also allows creators to incorporate audience participation and interact with viewers while recording. On one Fireside-hosted cook-along show, "In a Pinch," viewers can jump "on stage," or add their video feed, to join main host Dean Sheremet and cook alongside him virtually, getting cooking tips along the way.
"As shows are being recorded live, you can literally hear the audience laugh, clap, react and also come on to the stage and be in the show," said Fatemi. "That's been packaged up into this Web3 production studio that enables the shows to be recorded live. And then it's available for on-demand and streaming after, and can be distributed to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Twitter, [and] the audio can be distributed as a podcast."
In showing Insider the Fireside app and its membership model — which relies on NFTs — Fatemi points out that NFTs and the blockchain aren't mentioned anywhere and community members don't need to have any knowledge of crypto or Web3, a factor she believes will be a "big part" of taking the technology mainstream.
"Under the hood, it is a non-fungible token," said SKALE co-founder Jack O'Holleran of Fireside's memberships. "But why does the normal user need to know that? When you look at the way [Fireside is] managing custody and assets, you don't need a Ph.D in order to participate."
Fireside is also building out partnerships with ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services so that content can be distributed on devices and services akin to Samsung TV and Roku, said Fatemi. The company has been in talks with various streaming platforms.
The power to create content has traditionally been centralized at the major studios and networks, O'Holleran noted, and has since shifted to the streaming services.
"If you talk to creators in Hollywood, and producers, actors, animators — their creative freedom has been compressed, and so is their ability to get financing for the ideas they want," he said. "And so I think you're about to see this new trend in what gets created, who's making the decision, who's funding the decision. And Web3 helps power that and really helps kind of circumvent this new middleman in Hollywood."