BitTorrent On TV: Piracy Issues Make For Complicated Marketing

Competition for space on the TV screen seems to be where the real battle is.

No, we are not talking about NBC having too many new comedies for too few time slots, nor about Fox having promising reality shows but unable to wedge out another weekly episode of "X Factor" or "American Idol" next January.

At issue are  apps like Netflix and Hulu that are increasingly finding their way onto connected TVs via deals with Sony, Samsung, LG, and others.

This week BitTorrent, the file-sharing company with a controversial history, has joined the hunt. BitTorrent says it has made deals with some 20 TV manufacturers.

Problem is,  those deals include some 2 million legal TV and movie titles, as well as "illegal" content, according to Multichannel News' Todd Spangler. How could the company do this? Though BitTorrent is pushing its legal downloading video efforts, some of the vestiges of its questionable past remain, Spangler notes. As a file-sharing platform, BitTorrent makes the point that "liabillty for illegal activities rests with users," writes Spangler. 



But BitTorrents biggest worry comes from an ever-increasing crowded traditional-looking, but connected TV screen filled with subscription and other video-on-demand alternatives like Netflix and Hulu. BitTorrent executives believe that is its real competition.

That may be some time coming in the U.S., since many of BitTorrents deals are in Asia and Europe, say company executives.

Eventually, the real work comes in convincing consumers to use BitTorrent, especially when it is competing with more established players. How does it market itself in a world where piracy of TV, movie, and other entertainment content is still a major concern?

Consumers are already familiar with a growing number of apps on smartphones and tablets. Having apps pop up on a TV screen will make for an easier transition. But new TV/video apps may need to come with clear warnings should some of the content be illegal for consumers to use.



1 comment about "BitTorrent On TV: Piracy Issues Make For Complicated Marketing ".
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  1. ethicalfan ethicalfan from ethicalfan, November 19, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

    BitTorrent is destroying the TV business just like it did the music business. ISP/Cable operators need to wake up and start following the law and terminating repeat infringers. No copyright enforcement = no media business. 42% of all US ISP upload traffic is illegal. Comcast cable subs are down 7% since BitTorrent as more people learn they can get everything they want for free with no commercials. US Home video sales (DVD, BluRay, PayTV, VOD, Streaming) are down 25% to $18.5B in 2011 from $25B in 2006.
    The first BitTorrent search engines debuted in 2004. Recorded music is down worldwide from $27B in 1999 (Napster) to $15B in 2011. Who is destroying these industries, ISPs who ignore the law 17 USC 512 (i) and do not terminate repeat infringers.

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