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. identicon
    Wolfie, 25 Sep 2010 @ 3:15pm

    The real way to do this

    You are all missing an important point, the only valuable point if you ask me. Television networks make most of their money from commercials. In fact, many make ALL their money from commercials. So how about instead of depending on donations they release everything online, and to compensate for commercial breaks perhaps release it in a format where, say, a widescreen episode is adapted to 4:3 and the black space above or below can be filled with banners like on websites, say two above two below. Have them switch 10 times in a 25 min. episode and you can have 40 ads with 2.5 mins each of airtime, and you know the viewer won't be leaving the couch during breaks. In 2.5 mins, no matter how into the episode you are, you will have seen the banner at least enough to see what the product is for. Then put one or two commercials before the episode, short enough for the viewer not to bother fast forwarding and BAM you have two spots and 40 banners paying for each episode.

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