BitTorrent Begins (Legally) Distributing TV Shows

The file-sharing network wants to convince television producers that it can offer better exposure and analytics than YouTube.

BitTorrent, which has been aggressively courting Hollywood and the music industry despite (or, let's face it, because) of its associations with piracy, is entering into the television program distribution business. Fly or Die, which launched today, is the first television show to use BitTorrent's bundle tech, which gives creators detailed metrics on exactly who's watching or listening to their content—and also gives BitTorrent an easy way to generate future revenue through paid products analytics.

Fly or Die's subject matter also coincides perfectly with the teenage and college-aged crowd drawn to so much torrenting. The comedy show is based on pop record producers Rock Mafia, and the pilot features cameos by Selena Gomez, Gavin DeGraw, and Vanessa Hudgens. The team behind the show, Joel Bergvall and Tim Staples, told Fast Company that the finished series would be based on feedback they received from BitTorrent users through email, social media, and other forums. Part of the appeal for content producers is that BitTorrent's bundles get personal information of downloaders back to them—something YouTube doesn't offer.

The show, which is still under development, is expected for 2014 release. The bundle includes several longform trailers and content releases, and is designed to whet appetites for the eventual series. As for BitTorrent, they're playing the long game of making themselves into Hollywood's indispensable frenemies—and Fly or Die is just one part of that.

[Image: Fly or Die/BitTorrent]

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