Following in the footsteps of Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu, BitTorrent is developing more original content as part of its quest for legitimacy.
The peer-to-peer file sharing platform, which has been trying to rid itself of its associations with piracy, has partnered with Rapid Eye Studios to produce and distribute projects via its Bundle platform, to be known as BitTorrent Originals, the company announced on its blog.
“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,” said Matt Mason, chief content officer, BitTorrent, Inc.
The first project from the new BitTorrent Originals banner will be “Children of the Machine,” a sci-fi series that BitTorrent announced last year, with additional projects to be announced in the next few months.
BitTorrent Originals will debut first-run video content exclusively across the global Bundle platform for 30 to 60 days. After the exclusive window, each project will be available through other distribution channels. In a similar model to Vimeo, BitTorrent will offer a 90/10 revenue split in favor of the content creator. North American rights outside of the exclusive window will be shopped by Paradigm.
“This landmark deal with Marco [Weber, CEO of Rapid Eye Studios] is a major milestone for us and an aggressive expansion into the media space for BitTorrent, Inc.,” said Eric Klinker, CEO for BitTorrent, Inc., in a statement on the company’s blog. “In the last two years, we’ve become a trusted and valid channel for creators and publishers to reach a monthly global audience of 170 million fans directly. 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.”
“Children of the Machine” was created by Rapid Eye Studios CEO Marco Weber (“Igby Goes Down”) and Jeff Stockwell (“Bridge to Terebithea”). “We were hooked on ‘Children of the Machine’ after reading the first script,” said Mason in a statement. “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.”
The eight-episode first season of “Children” will be released in late 2015, with BitTorrent Bundle offering the futuristic hour-long series for free with ads or premium/ad-free for $9.95.
BitTorrent introduced BitTorrent Bundle in 2013 as a pay-gated system for downloading content, such as Madonna and Steve Klein’s “secretprojectrevolution,” and Bundles related to documentary films such as “The Crash Reel” and “The Act of Killing.”
BitTorrent Bundle was recently used to distribute Thom Yorke’s new album and will also be the online distributor for David Cross’ “Hits,” which is due out on February 13. BitTorrent recently struck a deal with FilmBuff to release 16 documentaries via the Bundle platform.