Variety is the first entertainment industry publication to dive into NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which provide a way to verify ownership of digital content.
The publication’s NFTs will debut at Thursday’s Variety Power of Women: Los Angeles event in partnership with Sweet.io, which specializes in creating and hosting eco-friendly NFT digital collectibles for entertainment and consumer brands.
Each guest attending Power of Women will be gifted an NFT of the event invitation, for a total of 320 editions. In addition, four of the honorees — Katy Perry, Rita Moreno, poet Amanda Gorman and Channing Dungey, chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group — will receive an NFT of their Variety cover. Only two NFTs of each cover will be minted: One will go to the cover subject, and the other will be held for Variety‘s own collection.
It’s just the beginning for Variety in NFTs: By the end of the year, the publication plans to begin selling a selection of NFTs of famous Variety headlines and front pages via Sweet.io’s platform.
“Variety’s foray into the NFT space allows us to leverage new technology on the blockchain with a larger goal of growing our digital audience and revenue,” said Dea Lawrence, CMO of Variety. “We continue to lead innovation in the entertainment business news space and utilizing blockchain technology is another first for Variety.”
The Variety NFTs are minted on Polygon, a blockchain framework that uses less than 0.1% of the energy required by other approaches. That also allows the NFTs to be visible on other Polygon-compatible marketplaces in addition to Sweet.io.
“Partnering with Sweet offers collectors the opportunity to own a piece of Hollywood history in a more eco-friendly manner,” Lawrence said.
Founded in 2016, New York-based Sweet.io originally started out as a fan-engagement platform that rewarded consumers for taking actions (like listening to a song) to get rewarded with tokens redeemable for prizes. About two years ago, the company pivoted to entirely focus on developing an easy-to-use, environmentally friendly NFT solution for digital collectibles.
Sweet’s app lets you redeem an NFT by simply scanning a QR code, which then adds the digital content to your online wallet. “We’re game-ifying the experience of collecting digital goods,” said Betsy Proctor, head of global partnerships for Sweet.io, who has worked with brands such as Macy’s, Burger King, the New York Knicks and Chicago Blackhawks.
In addition, Sweet.io underwrites the cryptocurrency for the NFTs the company mints, whereas other NFT wallets require you fund it yourself. The company says it’s blockchain-agnostic, able to use a variety of underlying platforms.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Amanda Gorman, Katy Perry, Rita Moreno, Channing Dungey