So far the creation and marketing of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) by media companies has largely been a US-based phenomenon.
Not anymore as it appears that News UK, Rupert Murdoch’s media arm, is going to experiment with NFTs turning the Times and the Sun’s archive of photos, cartoons and classic front pages into unique digital versions.
It is following the lead of Time magazine which created a collection of digital magazine covers in the form of NFTs in late March called “Time Is_Dead.” Also The New York Times which ran an article entitled ‘Buy This Column on the Blockchain!’ that subsequently sold for over half a million dollars.
News UK could draw on significant back catalogue making NFTs of its iconic front pages such as “It’s The Sun Wot Won it!” and Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster, as well as its archive of historic photographs.
Potential NFT buyers should understand that they won’t necessarily own the copyright for the images/files in the digital realm. They are the equivalent of owning a work of art, where you don’t necessarily have the right to sue for infringement of copyright if someone reproduces the image. Champions of the format believe that the NFT’s iconic status will create value alongside the potential for them to be used exclusively by the owner at some point in the future in the metaverse.
The Guardian reports that the drive to create NFTs has come from News UK’s senior management with chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, and the chief operating officer, David Dinsmore, said to be involved.
NFTs could in theory create a lucrative revenue source for news publishers at a time when there are questions marks about the future of established cash-generators like online display advertising,
Although there could prove to be drawbacks in selling the digital items too. Earlier in February HM Revenue and Customs announced it had seized three NFTs as part of an investigation into a suspected VAT fraud scheme involving 250 fake companies.