Kevin Hart Extends Media Omnipresence Into Animation, Web3, NFTs With Roku Originals Deal

If it seems like Kevin Hart is pretty much everywhere there’s media, it’s because he mostly is everywhere, though until now he hadn’t ventured into the Metaverse or NFTs, or been part of an animated series. That’s all changing over the next week, as he also begins a U.S. tour Thursday that will run the rest of the year.

With a series of announcements today by Hartbeat, Hart’s media company, fans of the veteran comedian and media mogul, especially ardent ones, will be able to find Hart content in more places than ever. The announcements include:

  • A 30-minute animated comedy special, Confessions from the Hart, debuting on The Roku Channel on July 6, which is Hart’s birthday. The programming is built around a series of video “stories” of the same name that Hart told about his career and life on his Instagram TV feed in the pandemic’s early days. The Roku Channel will also create a hub featuring other Hart content, including the original Confessions. It also will include Die Hart, a show Hart created for failed short-video service Quibi that was acquired by Roku and rebranded under the Roku Originals rubric.
  • Non-fungible tokens based on unique images from the Confessions artwork. Those NFTs will launch on July 7. Hartbeat President and Chief Distribution Officer Jeff Clanagan said plans are to eventually make the NFTs more than just collectible bits of digital art, providing access to other exclusive content and experiences in coming months. The company will offer its own digital wallet and utility token as part of the NFT releases.
  • Hart’s media company has also partnered with a new Kevin Hart Nation Metaverse Screening Room built on the Virtua platform of Moonwalk. It’s part of a broader Web3 initiative that brings Hart-related content into the Metaverse. A separate animated clip of Hart content based on Confessions will debut exclusively there, to be followed in coming months by other material featuring Hart and some of his prominent comedian friends. The content can be viewed with a virtual-reality headset or through a web browser.
  • The company also has carved out a place on the blockchain’s favorite communications medium, Discord, where they can get an invitation to the new ventures: Fans can join the conversation on Discord to get an invitation.

The new ventures not only provide new content opportunities, especially for Hart’s most dedicated fans, but also allow Hart to be in more places at once without actually being there, Clanagan said.

“You hit the nail on the head because Kevin is so maxed out,” Clanagan said. “We talked about animation, Web3, and all this other stuff, and said ‘Hey, I can get another Kevin,’ and to create (additional programming) around this random animated Kevin. That’s exactly what kind of the road we’re going down because he does max out and says, ‘What you can do? ‘”

The company had been planning to move into animation, but accelerated plans after the pandemic hit, making the production of standup comedies and other traditional content far more complicated.

“This is a first venture into the Metaverse where we’re taking our time,” Clanagan said. “And I can say it’s not us making what I would call an NFT play. More it’s much like, ‘Hey, we have this great IP, this animation. We’ve got these characters.’ Our strategy is to be everywhere, to basically distribute our content to our audiences everywhere. We’ve always been platform agnostic in terms of how we distribute our content. This is just an extension of what we’re doing with our IP.”

Going forward, Hartbeat plans to integrate content for the Web3 and NFT platforms into its broader media and social-media release strategies, Clanagan said.

“This is just us extending what we’re doing into Web3, and being everywhere with different assets that are all tied to an underlying IP,” Clanagan said.

That extends to the live standup tour that Hart is kicking off in New Orleans on Thursday, Clanagan said. The NFTs will provide holders with access to “VIP sections and just merchandise,” early access to tour dates and tickets, and, Clanagan said, “a whole world around these things to create value on an ongoing basis.”

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