Ryan Kavanaugh and Thriller Take Their Media Disruption Game Into the NFT Space
TrillerNet, the media company co-owned by Ryan Kavanaugh, is one year into its radical remake of combat sports with Triller Fight Club, a next-generation combination of boxing, mixed martial arts, and music that targets a young audience that has proven difficult to reach through traditional boxing. Triller Fight Club is a next-generation combination of boxing, mixed martial arts, and music. Tremendous fights have been staged by Triller Fight Club, with bouts having Mike Tyson and Vitor Belfort headlining, as well as Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, and another top musical talent, to sold-out crowds in live venues and millions of online pay-per-view viewers. TrillerNet, the company that promotes Triller, a music-centered video-sharing software, also organizes another type of combat: the Verzuz rap bouts, which featured legends such as KRS-ONE and Timbaland as participants.
Innovating in the fight game and on social media are just two examples of TrillerNet’s creativity. The company has entered the lucrative NFT (non-fungible tokens) industry, which is experiencing rapid growth. There are 10 Verzuz events in total, including the Earth, Wind, and Fire vs. Isley Brother’s combat, as well as various stand-alone NFT assets, including video of Jake Paul’s knockout of Ben Askren, in the images gallery.
However, even though NFTs have been around for nearly a decade, they only became well known this year. “Everyday: The First 5000 Days,” by digital artist Beeples, was the first NFT artwork to be auctioned at Christie’s, where it sold for $69.3 million. It was the first time an NFT artwork has been auctioned. The Kings of Leon sold their current album in the form of an NFT for $2 million, which was the highest price ever paid for an NFT. Even Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, sold an NFT of his first tweet for $2.5 million, which was the highest price ever paid for an NFT. Basketball players such as LeBron James have tokenized collectible cards, the Shiba Inu Doge meme has been tokenized and auctioned for $4 million, and Hollywood producers have promised non-traditional theatrical releases of upcoming movies.
Wall Street hopped on the bandwagon, considering NFTs to be a new asset class, similar to investing in fine art or antiques. Paintings on canvas or real-world sculptures, where provenance might be difficult to determine and counterfeits are common, are not verifiable with NFTs, which are completely verifiable thanks to blockchain technology. To raise funds for their massive Millennium Sapphire, the owners are selling NFT digital photos of the various images etched into the sides of this football-sized, multi-million-dollar diamond. For a series of 7,770 NFTs representing the Soviet Sputnik spacecraft, which is one of the pictures etched into the sapphire, GreenPro Capital paid $16 million in May, according to public records.
In addition to iconic video and still images from the first year of Triller Fight Club, the TrillerNet NFTs include Jake Paul walking to the ring for his match with Ben Askren – followed by a massive dancing robot; the knockout moment in the Reykon-Fournier fight; and the “Goodnight Juice” punch delivered during the Prograis-Redkach fight.
Among the music, NFTs are videos of performances by Justin Bieber, Dojo Cat, Mt. Westmore, and the Verzuz commemorative bundle of ten photos, all of which are available for purchase. The Trailer Park Boys, a mockumentary television series, released a one-of-a-kind NFT video clip for Triller to commemorate the show’s 20th anniversary.
The expanding number of NFTs in TrillerNet’s collection is a testament to the media company’s devotion to cutting-edge technology. One of Triller’s most compelling features is its patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Triller’s AI technology is at the heart of its user interface. It is an auto-editing program that allows the user to take many video clips and then have the AI stitch them together without the user having to do anything.
The user can create many video clips that are all set to the same soundtrack, as well as a film several takes with different filters or edits on each one of them. Then artificial intelligence takes over. Once the editing process is complete, the users can flip through the clips and replace them as they see fit. This technology is not available on any other video-sharing app.
When it comes to Ryan Kavanaugh, who co-owns TrillerNet with Bobby Sarnevesht, next-generation technologies are the obvious progression in a professional career in the entertainment sector that has been distinguished by innovation and a constant eye on the horizon for what’s next.
Kavanagh brought his disruptive approach to Hollywood more than two decades ago, when he founded Relativity Media, a production company. With his “Moneyball” approach to film finance, he made history as the first producer to do so. Using this methodology, Ryan Kavanaugh was able to close a deal for Marvel Studios that resulted in the establishment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise that is now worth more than $25 billion. Following this strategy, he went on to make more than 200 highly successful pictures, including several Academy Award candidates and six Academy Award winners, which grossed more than $17 billion at the box office. “Frost/Nixon,” “Atonement,” “Burn After Reading,” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” were among the highly acclaimed and widely successful films in which he appeared.
Today, Ryan Kavanaugh is a principal at Proxima Media, a media investment firm that includes some of Hollywood’s most innovative and disruptive entrepreneurs, as well as other notable figures. The company’s purpose is to control production and marketing expenses to maximize worldwide value by focusing on low-risk, single-picture financing following Kavanaugh’s established methodology. Proxima has been involved in the financing, production, and distribution of more than 250 films and television shows, including some of the most successful programs in television history.
Triller and social media are the next stop on the agenda. Proxima Media, which Kavanaugh and Sarnevesht founded in 2019, acquired possession of Triller from the original proprietors. The AI-powered video editor Triller, in contrast to its chief competitor TikTok, has music licensing agreements with several record labels – including Sony, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group – which allows Triller users to create their music videos and share them on the social network with the professional editing touch provided by Triller’s artificial intelligence.
The firm bought Verzuz, a webcast series developed by Timbaland and Swiss Beatz that sets up rap battles between high-profile musicians such as Babyface, Ludacris, Nelly, Young Jeezy, and other A-listers to capitalize on Triller’s capabilities.
Having recognized the allure of combat and its connection to music, Triller and Kavanaugh chose boxing as the venue for their disruptive energy to be unleashed on the most ancient of combat sports. Due to it hadn’t adjusted to the video and digital age, boxing had the potential to be intriguing to younger audiences but was being overlooked because of its dominance by a few entrenched players and its long period of dormancy. Boxing matches were still being broadcast as though the only people watching them were in the audience, which was a foreign concept to young viewers.
When Ryan Kavanaugh and Triller created Thriller Fight Club in November 2020, they were on the verge of creating a match made in entertainment heaven, combining music with combat sports. Triller Fight Club matches are filmed employing cinematic techniques, such as those employed in the Relativity Media film “The Fighter,” which Kavanaugh draws on from his previous film experience.
Triller Fight Club events have featured notable battles featuring names such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Jake Paul, and Vitor Belfort over the past year, riffing on the age-old topic of “Who Would Win?” when pitting boxers against mixed martial arts fighters (MMA). In between the main event and the undercard matches at Triller Fight Club, there are a variety of entertainment performances that help make the event appealing to the 17-to-27-year-old demographic – or “culture-graph,” as Triller refers to it, also known as the typical Triller user – throughout the evening. The Triller Fight Club matches have helped to promote the Thriller video-sharing app and the other way around as well. Ryan Kavanaugh refers to this as “Web 3.0” because, instead of pop-up advertisements or embedded ads, Thriller Fight Club personalities interact with Triller users while simultaneously delivering commercial material to them.
Triller Fight Club will introduce the “Thriller Triad” next month, which will be its latest innovation in the fight game. The “Thriller Triad” will be a three-sided ring that will level the playing field between boxers and mixed martial artists while also increasing the action by forcing fighters to avoid the deep corners.
The Triller Fight Club events have given a year’s worth of memorable moments, with more to come, and many of them are now part of the National Football Museum’s permanent collection.