BitTorrent will begin to offer a series of original movies, dubbed “BitTorrent Originals,” in a bid to enter the content entertainment space later this year.
BitTorrent inked a deal with Rapid Eye Studios to handle original video content for its BitTorrent Bundle platform, which launched in May 2013. That platform seeks to give artists control over how they distribute their content. Since then, more than 10,000 publishers have joined the platform, according to company officials.
The partnership deal gives BitTorrent exclusive use of video content of the BitTorrent Originals it debuts on the Bundle platform for up to 60 days. Then that content can run through any other distribution channel.
The deal links the two companies to a process of identifying, producing and distributing original video content for the BitTorrent Bundle platform.
BitTorrent will provide full marketing support for each original video across its ecosystem. Rapid Eye Studios will receive a 90 percent share of the sales.
The partnership with Rapid Eye Studios is a major milestone for BitTorrent and represents an aggressive expansion into the media space for his company, according to Eric Klinker, CEO of BitTorrent.
“That seems like a smart move, as does developing exclusive content that should appeal to that audience and offering it in various packages with commercials, premium less commercials and in game formats,” Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT, told LinuxInsider.
The first project under this original video distribution agreement is the movie Children of the Machine. BitTorrent will announce more BitTorrent Originals titles in upcoming months.
Children of the Machine is expected to launch on BitTorrent Bundle towards the end of this year for free — with an advertiser supported model. The company plans a first season of eight one-hour episodes reaching 60-to-80 -million viewers worldwide.
The targeted audience of the BitTorrent Originals content is ages 14 to 25. This demographic comprises the majority of BitTorrent’s user base, according to company officials.
Bittorrent’s plans call for two related products to its first-run movie offering. One is a premium version of the series for US$9.95. This pay-per-view package leverages the BitTorrent Bundle paygate feature. The other is a Children of the Machine video game launched and distributed through the platform.
The move might be an effort to appear more legitimate to advertisers and others within entertainment content distribution circles. The BitTorrent file-sharing protocol is often linked with users of the downloading software exchanging content in violation of intellectual property laws.
BitTorrent’s strategy is largely based on reinventing itself and appealing to youthful consumers who are mostly unlikely to be aware of the company’s past exploits, said King.
“It used to be that people with checkered pasts often moved to new geographies to get a new start. Given the realities of the stateless online world, BitTorrent is hoping that shifting focus to a new audience will offer it similar benefits,” he said.
BitTorrent’s Bundle program provided content for downloading from Sony Pictures Classics, Universal, Cinedigm, FilmBuff and Drafthouse. Bundle program content also included work from musicians such as Thom Yorke, Madonna, Linkin Park, Kaskade and multiple projects from every one of the major labels, according to BitTorrent.
BitTorrent developed file transfer protocols for peer-to-peer file sharing that is used to distribute large amounts of data over the Internet. In the last two years, the company has become a trusted and valid channel for creators and publishers to directly reach a global audience. Expanding into the world of original content makes the company a serious player in the media business, said Klinker.
The new business model takes BitTorrent another step closer toward reaching its goal of creating a sustainable digital future for creators of all kinds. BitTorrent’s advantage over other original content distributors such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu is its larger audience of over 170 million monthly active users, he said.