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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Do you have any reason to doubt the numbers" - yes. no disclosure of number of donations made. if they got $20,000 $5 at a time, they would be crowing about how many people donated. they are not. the amount of downloads is also remarkable (and if true, a clear indication of the widespread potential for damage on other material that violates copyright).

    the numbers are also pretty weird: 450,000 downloads, and at $5 a donation, they would be getting 1 in 4000 downloaders to donate. that is a pretty high number overall, especially with the minimum donation being a fairly high amount (close to the average radiohead claims they got for their album download).

    what is more likely is that they either got a few very large donations, or spiked the donation pile up front to make it look like they were getting more donation money, to try to encourage donations. it is sort of like putting some money in a tip jar to start, so people know to give a tip.

    the other part of course is "is the sustainable"? the cute factor of doing it once is nice, but are people going to routinely shell out for more episodes? will that 1 in 4000 people be willing to be a sucker for everyone else to watch for free?

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