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method77

BitTorrent Inc. Introduces Ad-Supported Downloads

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BitTorrent Inc. is experimenting with alternatives to paid downloads on their Entertainment Network, and is now experimenting with advertising supported downloads. Instead of paying for a download, BitTorrent’s customers now see ads before and after watching an episode.

The ad-supported model is currently being tested on episodes by the video gamers network G4, but is likely to be tested on episodes from other publishers in the future.

The video ads are short video clips delivered by YuMe Networks, a company that is specialized in IP based video ads. YuMe CEO Jayant Kadambi said that the company expects to deliver more user targeted video ads as soon as BitTorrent Inc. signs more deals with publishers that want to experiment with ad-supported downloads.

Two weeks ago BitTorrent Inc. announced that it will launch an ad-supported TV-network by the end of this year. This advertising supported TV-model is likely to be supported by YuMe Networks as well.

TorrentFreak

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It's not a bad idea really. They're bringing the advertising model of television to digital distribution, which has been happening for at least a little while anyway (most of the U.S. network TV stations have their own video areas on their Web sites where they stream episodes of prime time shows, with commercial support). While I detest Web site advertising of this nature, which at this point are Active Interstitial ads (which make me want to commit homicide via blunt force trauma), the adverts in video distribution don't effect me as much (probably because I've become desensitized to this kind of advertising from years of watching television).

The sticking point here is what a person is "allowed" to do with their downloads, and what format they're getting them in. They may not have DRM, but can they be shared with others without legal issues? Will people be getting, say for a video format, a WMV file? Or maybe some sort of low-quality video delivery system?

If they're going to do anything besides completely free and open (what P2P distribution is), they need to offer advantages. They have two right now, in the ease of obtaining these downloads, and the lack of legal issues; two things less P2P savy computer users are going to bite at.

Perhaps this will be enough.

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The entertainment industry is experimenting on a number of fronts, but most of that experimenation is coming from the movie studios; advertising is part of the mix. The RIAA are still sticking to some DRM model, but their time has past. Here's what I see:

P2P technological will make the delivery over the web much more efficient. But people want all kinds of media, they no longer want to buy in to a whole cd, a whole cable market to get one show. Eventually, we will have a system in which people are billed for the entertainment you use like you are for your Water and Power bill. The 99 cent a song, a couple bucks a show, will go by the wayside. What needs to happen is for someone to come up with a business model to make this happen.

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