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Brief Published: 28 Nov 2014

BitTorrent Launches Original TV Series

Children of the Machine

BitTorrent, the US tech company responsible for the ongoing development of the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, are about to release an original TV series.

Children of the Machine will be available for free download in an ad-supported version, as well as an ad-free format for $4.95. Following the distribution of documentaries like The Act of Killing by German producer Werner Herzog through the BitTorrent Bundle programme, this is the brand's first foray into original video.

BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols used for online peer-to-peer file sharing. It essentially cuts large files down into smaller chunks that are shared out across a network of peers, which saves bandwidth for its users and guarantees stable and fast sources through the wide spread of file chunks across many computers. This efficiency has built a considerable user base: media analyst Tru Optic says that BitTorrent now has 300 million monthly users.

Although associated with the illegal sharing of copyrighted material, the BitTorrent protocol is an indisputably effective distribution channel. Encouraging legal exchanges among those 300 million users may be as simple as providing them. In September, BitTorrent surveyed 2,000 of its users and found that they were 170% more likely than the average web user to have paid for digital music in the past month, and that more than half had purchased video content in the same period.

In another attempt to meet audiences in their own environments, Japanese tech company Sony is also about to test its distribution channels with an original series called Powers. Based on a comic series, the 10-episode season is set to debut via the Playstation Network in December.

For more on shifting media distribution channels and brands' influence through video content, see Digital Music in Flux and Chipotle: The Next Netflix?.