BitTorrent is getting very serious about developing original web series for its audience. In addition to the peer-to-peer file sharing service’s recent documentary deal with Sony Pictures Classics, the company once infamously known for illegal torrenting, but now on the legal up-and-up has partnered with Rapid Eye Studios to create more video content under the title BitTorrent Originals.
BitTorrent is aiming to create programming for exclusive release through BitTorrent Bundles for 30 to 60 days before adding the content to other distribution platforms. The tech company’s VP of Communications and Brand, Christian Averill, wrote in a blog post the original content will be aimed at “a young, creative, and influential group of 14-25 year-olds,” the demographic which defines BitTorrent’s user base.
Creators who work with BitTorrent and Rapid Eye will have the choice to release their content via an ad-supported or electronic sell-through method (similar to how BitTorrent users currently pay for Bundles to access the included content). No matter which distribution model is chosen, creators will get 90% of the revenue after BitTorrent takes its 10% share.
As part of the exclusive deal between Rapid Eye and BitTorrent, the torrenting company’s Chief Content Officer, Matt Mason and a select group from his team will move from San Francisco to Los Angeles to work out of Rapid Eye’s studio. BitTorrent and Rapid Eye are also working with marketers to advertise, sponsor, and integrate branded initiatives into BitTorrent Originals.
“I found it fascinating to watch how BitTorrent has grown into an enormous creative community over the course of the last few years,” said Marco Weber, CEO and Founder of Rapid Eye Studios. “Today they reach more than 170 million people; young, social, influential, and tech-savvy. It became obvious to me that original content would add a tremendous amount of value and engagement to the growing BitTorrent Bundle platform.”
“Marco’s vision for how far we can take original content adds a massive amount of value to the already burgeoning self-service Bundle platform, and that vision is now becoming a reality that will change the entire business,” added Mason. “Others in the original content space such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu have made great progress, but we are starting out with a big advantage: We have a larger audience than all of those platforms combined.”
BitTorrent and Rapid Eye already have a working relationship due to their upcoming original sci-fi series Children of the Machine. Announced back in November 2014, the series will be fully available for free (supported by ads) to all BitTorrent users. Fans who want bonus content will be able to pay $9.95 for an ad-free experience.
BitTorrent and Rapid Eye’s exclusive partnership should help the tech company push past the popular perception that BitTorrent is synonymous with illegal downloading. BitTorrent CEO Erik Klinker believes the deal will also make BitTorrent a go-to source for original programming. “Expanding into the world of original content is a move that makes us a serious player in the media business, and takes us another step closer toward our goal: creating a sustainable digital future for creators of all kinds.”