Back in September 2022, TikTok extended its max video length to 10 minutes, making it possible to share long-form videos. While 10-minute videos aren’t the standard for viral clips today, this move set the stage for TikTok to compete with streamers on episodic content in the future.
Mad Realities is one of the entertainment companies taking advantage of this by creating longer-form, episodic shows on TikTok. Right now, they have 6 different shows they’re producing, with 5 more on the way.
What’s fascinating about Mad Realities shows is that they combine the quick-hitting production style of TikTok with the rollout schedules and limitless narratives of TV shows (like Sitcoms).
In many ways, it reminds me of what Quibi wanted to be.
Before TikTok became the two-hour-per-day average usage behemoth that it is today, you might recall a platform called Quibi. In 2020, Quibi was pioneering mobile-first TV and entertainment in bite-sized clips.
Headed by Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Quibi became known for spending over a billion dollars to produce shows with top-tier names like Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Kevin Hart, and Jennifer Lopez.
Ultimately, they shuttered in just 7 months due to unsustainable overhead and pressure to make this new entertainment format popular.
The fact Mad Realities is creating successful episodic shows on TikTok is impressive in and of itself. It reminds me of how McGraw Hill turned its textbooks into TikToks. But there’s something more unique about Mad Realities.
The Web3 Netflix
Mad Realities made its mark with the first web3 dating show called Proof of Love back in April 2022. They issued around 550 NFTs of varying rarity as a means for viewers to participate in and impact the show – creating a direct line between the production of the show and the fans.
NFT holders help decide the show’s contestants, vote on date activities, play a role in date set design, submit pick-up lines, and help contestants pick wardrobe for dates. They also can become a show extra and earn crew or producer credit.
Over 1,500 members participated in the co-creation of Season 0 of “Proof of Love”. Over 172 ETH worth of interactive passes were minted, making the show entirely self-funded without a network partner.
Their mission is now to build the first audience-owned TV platform, utilizing the blockchain for fan engagement and ownership. It’s also a democratized studio offering the ability for creators to pitch shows, obtain funding, and distribute their work with the weight of the Mad Realities platform behind them.
Not to mention, all of its shows exist in the Creative Commons, which means that fans can create their own media from the shows, sell NFTs of their favorite moments, etc.
A New Entertainment Community
Utilizing the blockchain and NFTs to create a bridge between fandom and entertainment is an interesting idea. And to already have success is impressive. This is largely because they’re strategic with community building and collecting data on their audience.
Mad Realities manages its entire community through text messages. They offer many marketing hooks to get you to join their text group, such as a free sticker club. And they use this master text group to share new shows, updates, and fan actions. It’s a great way for them to bring in new viewers, potential NFT show buyers, and cross-pollinate viewers across its programming.
Mad Realities owns the relationship with its audience at all steps of the process. No other production studio, entertainment franchise, or even celebrity has this level of direct communication with its fans. All they’re missing is a streaming platform of their own.
Mad Realities is giving us something fresh and innovative by being the TV network of the future. They’re showing us a new path for video creators and audience members. While blanding has ruined innovation, Mad Realities is doing everything differently (as you can see by their home page below).