BitTorrent, the file-sharing service that has a bad rap because its technology gets mentioned in the same breath as piracy, cites a studyshowing that file-sharers are four times more likely to purchase digital music than people who don’t use such services. BitTorrent says its own business has around 170 million users.
For many media content marketers, file-sharing can be a good thing -- when it comes to movie and TV trailers, promos and even music. All this can help create buzz, marketing and promotion for specific bits of content, making those who share content into so-called "entertainment ambassadors."
Still, at least concerning "independent" artists, BitTorrent is now looking to offer "gated content" limiting the content that file-sharing consumers can access. For example, only limited footage of a music documentary is being made available to fans.
Long-term? According to BitTorrent, this could be business model for a "pay" service that would use its technology to, among other things, drive fans to the likes of pay-media areas such as Netflix or iTunes.
But the move has another intent: BitTorrent wants more artists to give away content to file sharers because those artists will also have the ability to sell them content.
Piracy is still a major issue for traditional media content owners. So BitTorrent’s move seem like a shift in the digital environment. Recent reports said YouTube --which had also been linked to housing copyrighted content without permission -- will soon offer pay-TV channels.
Marketing-wise, media content still needs scale -- that is, a large number of digital media users -- to push success. Media content creators will always want consumers to "share" their opinions, their content. But this shouldn't come completely freely for content owners. This can go hand-in-hand with sharing actual content.