SAN FRANCISCO — BitTorrent Inc., which invented the namesake peer-to-peer file-sharing technology, released last week the BitTorrent Bundle, a new kind of torrent format intended to include free content as well as additional material through gateways.
The freemium format could be a boon for the adult video business because producers could potentially sell additional material outside of traditional file-sharing methods.
The BitTorrent Bundle format allows distributors to require an action before users can download. In other words, distributors can require payment or email registration to access further material.
BitTorrent's new product is part of a new push by the company to legitimize the format in the eyes of the entertainment industry after years of negative publicity thanks to piracy.
In fact pirated adult content is mostly traded through BitTorrent formats, which is the top file-sharing protocol for transmitting large media files.
Some adult entertainment studios’ entire catalogs are available online illegally, and BitTorrent has been blamed for helping piracy to flourish when used in conjunction with copyright-infringing media sites.
But with BitTorrent Bundle, adult distributors could offer free content and create gateways for premium content like the electronic dance music DJ Kaskade recently did.
Kaskade, who has partnered up with BitTorrent on the launch of the Bundle, offers exclusive material in exchange for fans’ email addresses.
Once users download the BitTorrent Bundle file, they are asked for an email address. After responding to a verification email, users have access to a trailer, a Kaskade show, a remix by Swedish house duo Dada Life and additional material.
Matt Mason, BitTorrent's vice president of marketing, told the BBC that he believed the format had the potential to "revolutionize" viewing and listening habits.
"Since Edison invented the record player the idea has been you sell the record inside a store," Mason said. "What's different about this is that the 'record' is the store, or the 'movie' has the box office baked into it.
"The idea is that if you put the store or place to interact with the content creator inside the Bundle itself, then every creator stands to earn either money or a connection to a new fan every time that piece of content is shared," he said. "If you publish a Bundle as an artist you can get the email addresses from fans. You can get the money."
"Content creators and their fans can connect directly, and that's useful for anyone from a small band to Disney, who now won't need to use Facebook, Spotify or Netflix as a middleman."