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The BitTorrent Entertainment Network
BitTorrent: 2 Legit 2 Quit with 5,000 titles for just $3-4 each

BitTorrent today announced the launch of the BitTorrent Entertainment Network, featuring a comprehensive library of downloadable digital entertainment content from 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and, the latest studio on the bandwagon, MGM. The BitTorrent community can rent movies, purchase television shows and music videos, and even publish and share their own content to be displayed alongside titles from the world’s largest studios.


“BitTorrent has the infrastructure, technology and established user base to significantly move the needle on digital distribution with quick, easy and affordable delivery,” said Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment. “The final piece of the puzzle is a wide array of content and Paramount is very pleased to be providing a vast selection of filmed entertainment to the site.”


At launch, the BitTorrent Entertainment Network will feature over 5,000 titles of movies, TV shows, PC games and music content. Consumers will be able to enjoy both new releases and catalog movie titles such as “Superman Returns,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “World Trade Center,” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” TV programming will include hits such as “24,” “Prison Break,” and “South Park.”


At this time, the majority of content is available only in standard definition. BitTorrent confirmed that about 40 hours of its content is encoded for high definition, and plans to increase that count in the near future.


Despite the buzz and support from major Hollywood studios, BitTorrent President and Co-founder Ashwin Navin said that the new network can also be utilized as a distribution platform for independent content creators. “We’re leveling the playing field for independent artists who have been turned away by publishers who are traditionally bound by scarce distribution alternatives and limited shelf space. Our entertainment network is a true marketplace that embraces and welcomes contribution from the independents, allowing them to reach a vast user base with their high-quality creative expression,” said Navin.


The site offers content for free, for rent and for purchase. Movie rentals are $3.99 and $2.99 for new release and catalog titles, respectively. TV shows and music videos are download-to-own at $1.99 each.


“We're really hammering the studios to say, 'Go easy on this audience.' We need to give them a price that feels like a good value relative to what they were getting for free,” said Navin. “The last thing we could afford to do was launch another sterile retail site.”

The video will be protected using Microsoft's Windows Media DRM and will only be available for playback on Windows-based machines -- Mac and Linux users need not apply. The files are also limited to a single PC so don't plan on trying to share your downloads with your friends. A wide variety of entertainment content, however, will be offered for free and without digital rights management (DRM) and designed to be distributed across all platforms.

The launch of the network today is the latest in a string of BitTorrent deals with major media companies. BitTorrent gained legitimacy mid-last year when it first signed Warner Bros. and Image Entertainment. The company then made great strides when it announced it had secured deals with Fox, Lions Gate, Paramount, MTV and others, along with an additional $20 million in funding. BitTorrent joins an expanding group of players in the market including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Wal-Mart.

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Color me unimpressed
By on 2/26/2007 2:18:48 PM , Rating: 4
Movie rentals are $3.99 and $2.99 for new release and catalog titles, respectively.

Sorry, but this seems like a scheme to take money while forcing users to provide and share their own bandwidth so the content cartel can avoid online distribution costs. I sure would not keep someone else's commercial "bittorrent" stream available to leach off my machine and my 'net bandwidth. And those rates are already higher than my local video shop for "rentals".

Then it is locked to one PC. Useless to stream to your Tivo (via tivoserver or Tivo.NET) nor something like an AppleTV unit, which would use an actual TV. No thanks.

RE: Color me unimpressed
By TheDoc9 on 2/26/2007 5:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I especially liked the statement of how they kept prices low for the community that's already getting it for free. The downloads have cripling drm so you have to be connected to the net to view, and they will gaurunteed be low rez. I love it, modern capitalism is great.

RE: Color me unimpressed
By xphile on 2/26/2007 7:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well stated, pretty much exactly what I wanted to say myself. I will add though that in my opinion this whole scenario will only work under three scenarios - none of which have been presented.

1) The downloads are free, with the Studios making their money on a share of the huge advertising revenue split with Bit Torrent.

2) The downloads are paid for by the user, but there is no drm and the user can do whatever they wish with them, or at least to the point of making at least one dvd copy for use anywhere else.

3) The end user is given credit for every "block" of paid for content they shift on to someone else. Thus cutting my cost to download my next file if I hold my prev files and help the next one in the queue.

Tv and movie files are not audio - they are big, even SD is far bigger than audio. They are using an audio strategy AND taking advantage of the free bandwidth and expecting the user to jump at it and pay. It wont happen - not unless they start to give back as in the above examples.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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