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
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2010 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Who cares who made the donations, the point is that the business model is sustainable. Perhaps they're not interested in collecting money from each person that downloads, why should that matter." - wow, two wild points here.

    first, the donations are important. if the bulk of the money comes from one guy (say mark cuban gives $19,950, and one other guys mother gave the other $50) then there is no indication that the model works. in fact, fronting it this way would be someone dishonest.

    second, and just as important, a single event is not a sustainable model. a sustainable model would be when they have about 100 shows in the can, have done this process over and over again, and have always seen similar results. until then, it is a nice one off, similar to the old radiohead 'give what you like' model, which remarkably they have not gone back to. for something to sustainable, it has to be able to be repeated over and over again. there is none of that here.

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