Skip to main content

BitTorrent hopes to monetize and fund creative work by adding a paywall to its 'Bundle'

BitTorrent hopes to monetize and fund creative work by adding a paywall to its 'Bundle'


Are BitTorrent users generous enough to fund a sci-fi series?

Share this story

BitTorrent is getting into original content. This fall, the company will release a pilot episode of Children of the Machine, produced in collaboration with Rapid Eye Studios, via its BitTorrent Bundle technology. Bundles let artists distribute their content directly to web users who are willing to provide an email address in exchange for the free stuff. They've been downloaded over 100 million times to this point, and it's not just small-time artists taking part. Major acts like Moby and even Madonna have created their own bundles. But with its new show, BitTorrent is hoping the Bundle will prove to be a viable way of funding new creative work.

After 100M bundle downloads, it's time to start paying

Starting in the summer, artists will have the ability to set up "paygates" in their bundles. BitTorrent says this will let fans buy projects directly from the people responsible for creating them. Artists will decide how much users must pay for access, with BitTorrent taking a cut of the fee they settle on. The company says paywalls will give "publishers choice and control when it comes to funding their work." Marco Weber of Rapid Eye Studios sees them as the hybrid between video-on-demand and crowdfunding services. "I looked at how Kickstarter evolved, and the success of Netflix," he said today. "And my idea was to marry these two concepts."

The pilot episode of Children of the Machine is being privately funded, but BitTorrent users will ultimately decide on its fate from there. Weber claims it will take roughly 250,000 people chipping in $9.95 each to fund an entire season. That's asking quite a bit of people who've seen just a single episode, so to help round up support for its first original show, BitTorrent will offer a paid "music Bundle from what the company says will be a major artist," according to The New York Times. The artist involved with the paygate Bundle hasn't yet been revealed. As for what you can expect from Children of the Machine, BitTorrent says it "tells the story of young adulthood on Earth, after a major tech upheaval."