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
    darryl, 2 Jul 2010 @ 8:13am

    Pre-paid pay for view

    And you dont even know what you are going to get, the only indication of quality is the pilot, and that is no indication that the rest of the shows will be any good.

    $20,000, that might pay for a camera, or some of the insurance, but it is not any where near an indication of success.

    What is there to insure that if we donate that something will be produced ? Ie, that they dont just pocket the money and go on holls ?

    How many people downloaded the program, as a ratio to how many people payed money ?

    That would be a specific ratio, and would be a good indicator of possible future success.

    As those figures are not announced, I can only assume the ratio of downloaders to freeloaders is very hight.

    Remember "the simpsons" epesode there Homer was watchnig a brittish comedy of PBS, and they would not show the end of the program until a certain amount of donation were received.

    If you think that is a good way to do something I cant agree.

    What happens when news gets like that, will be find news (and techdirt) creating stories with the specific bias that its readers appear to respond too ?

    Or would you remain objective and balanced without the influence of all those lobbyists trying to shape you show ?

    I noticed that on the failed Boycott Novell web site, Roy is asking his readers what 'stories' they would most like to hear about. As if the popularity of the 'news' overrides the actual news.

    This is the tail wagging the dog, the reason why these system do not work, is simply, they do not work.

    So when cuban says we did not get enough money to make another show, and we cant give all that money back, so we will just have to keep it !!

    (thanks for the cast,,,,, suckers)..

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