TV Show Released On BitTorrent Raises $20,000 Pretty Damn Fast

from the but-there-are-no-business-models dept

You may have seen the recent stories about the "TV show" Pioneer One that was made with the plan all along to release the show on BitTorrent, and to set up a tiered system to fund future episodes. While some people insist that BitTorrent users never download authorized content, after the show was released, it quickly became a top download beating out lots of more "famous" competitors. On top of that, it appears that people are donating. Zubin Madon alerts us to the news that in just about a week, the producers of the show have hit their goal of raising $20,000 to produce the next batch of episodes. This isn't a "give it away and pray" sort of deal. It's a recognition that the first episode is the "pilot" and the scarcities that are being sold are the creation of more episodes. This is one of the more complicated scarcities for people to understand: content, once created and released to the world, is infinite. However, content not yet created is scarce. So it's a perfectly reasonable business model to try to sell the creation of new content, which is exactly what the producers here have done successfully.

And, to cut off the expected usual crew of Hollywood defenders in the comments, no I'm not saying that all TV shows/movies/etc. should or could be funded this way. And, yes, $20,000 is definitely a very low budget. But it is an example of this sort of model working, and there's certainly no indication that it can't or won't scale.

Filed Under: bittorrent, crowdfunding, funding, pioneer one, tv shows

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  1. icon
    Niall (profile), 3 Jul 2010 @ 8:20am

    re: why suckers?

    Well, here we get to choose where we spend our money, IF we think something isn't crap, unlike whatever is fired down the cable at us by clueless execs. Most of the time, we pay our subscriptions, and hope that what comes on isn't utter drivel. Sometimes we are even pleasantly surprised. That information then allows us to make spending decisions in the future. (Yes, Buffy, Angel and Firefly mean I will forgive Joss for Dollhouse, even if it starred the lovely Eliza Dushku.)

    Yes, a one-off attempt is a 'model'. Whether it is a *successful* model is another matter - although this isn't the first time it has been tried, nor the first time it has been successful. So please, come up with something a bit better than a weak negative than that.

    We *all* agree (I hope!) that rubbish isn't valuable at any price. But free =/= rubbish automatically, and just because someone makes a show for astronomical sums or 'values' it highly, doesn't mean that enough of the public will to make it worthwhile.

    So you pay for what you *hope* to get. In this case, you get to see something ahead of time.

    As an aside, I would be interested if this model allows producers to sidestep all that silly geographical licensing crap and allow distribution in many countries (and formats), and without stupid windows.

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