Popular file-sharing program BitTorrent is set to throw its hat in the original video programming ring.
Wait, what? BitTorrent?
It's true. The San Francisco-based developer whose software is more known for the peer-to-peer sharing of music and movie files announced a partnership with Rapid Eye Studios to release BitTorrent Originals. Its debut show: an original miniseries called Children of the Machine.
Due to release late this year, Children of the Machine centers around a teen-aged pair in a near-future, post-apocalyptic setting. The first eight hour-long episodes, written and produced by Marco Weber, CEO of Red Eye Studios, and Jeff Stockwell will be free with an advertiser-supported model that could include product placement, production credits, or integrating brands into storylines. You will also have the option to pay $9.95 for an ad-free, premium version with bonus content.
BitTorrent Originals, including Children of the Machine, will be exclusive through BitTorrent Bundles for 30 to 60 days, after which they will be available through other distribution methods. Like other BitTorrent-distributed content (such as Thom Yorke's recent solo album), BitTorrent will take a 10 percent cut from sales; the rest goes to the creators.
BitTorrent will also distribute a separate Children of the Machine video game bundle in the future.
"This is our next step forward toward becoming what is very much a media company in many senses," said Matt Mason, BitTorrent's chief content officer, in a statement.
This is a another signpost in the growing trend of companies creating original video content rather than simply distributing it. But rather than competing with stalwarts that provide content for broad audiences like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, BitTorrent hopes to appeal to the "young, creative, and influential group of 14-to-25-year-olds that make up the BitTorrent audience of 170 million monthly active users." With Children of the Machine's Hunger Games-like premise, complete with production design and artwork by Stockholm Design, which worked on the J-Law blockbusters, BitTorrent may accomplish exactly that.