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BitTorrent Inc. Introduces Ad-Supported Downloads 115

Posted by Zonk
from the sure-to-be-popular dept.
BTJunkie writes "BitTorrent Inc. is experimenting with alternatives to paid downloads on their Entertainment Network, and is now experimenting with advertising supported downloads. This news comes nearly one month after the initial release of the Entertainment Network, a possible sign of failure.'The ad-supported model is currently being tested on episodes by the video gamers network G4, but is likely to be tested on episodes from other publishers in the future. The video ads are short video clips delivered by YuMe Networks, a company that is specialized in IP based video ads. YuMe CEO Jayant Kadambi said that the company expects to deliver more user targeted video ads as soon as BitTorrent Inc. signs more deals with publishers that want to experiment with ad-supported downloads.'"
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BitTorrent Inc. Introduces Ad-Supported Downloads

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  • SellaBand uses a 'DRM-free and ad supported downloads' business model for their music. You can read how it works http://www.sellaband.com/site/how-it-works.html [slashdot.org]">h ere (steps 6-7):

    That together with their crowdfunding business model to fund the recording will be the future I think, or at least will play a big role in it.
    • The great thing about Sellaband's approach is that it focuses on the part of the equation that really is scarce and valuable: the artist's time and talent. You can easily copy an MP3 file, so it's hard to get people to pay for one.. but you can't copy an artist's time. If you want him to record a song for you, you have to pay him. There's no way around it (unless you kidnap him and force him into slavery, I guess).

      However, their model could still use some improvements. For example, they currently set the sa
  • Yuk (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:17PM (#18590255) Homepage Journal
    Anyone else around here sick of all the ads we get bombarded with on a nearly constant basis?

    Road signs, radio, tv, t-shirts, hell, even the back of police cars in some cities.

    Personally i try to avoid doing businesses with companies that practice 'flooding advertisement'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In general I don't like unsolicited ads, but that is generally limited to things I pay for. I still don't like ads even on free things, but I can at least understand why they exist, especially if a non-free option exists without ads.

      Just as long as they realize they *still* can't force me to look at or pay attention to their ads.
      • by BiggyP (466507)
        Well that's the point, i'd like to think that advertising, no matter how clever it is, will not convince me that i want or need a product in which i've had no previous interest. I don't enjoy watching adverts and thankfully most of the television i watch has no advertising but i generally don't do go out of my way to avoid them because i don't perceive any risk from ad exposure, and struggle to understand those who do, considering that they're already acutely aware of the purpose and presence of advertising
      • I think the future of advertisement is in two different approaches: 1) for standard, fixed advertisement use product placement. A growing segment of people is going out of their way to avoid ads, so make them unavoidable. Characters wearing prominent labels of sponsors. Characters talking about the sponsor. 2) Dynamic targeted advertising ala Google. If in the not too distant future they could shot over bluescreens and just dynamically place the ads in the background of the film/series to match the demograp
    • Re:Yuk (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Normal Dan (1053064) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:24PM (#18590355)
      I agree. Unfortunately, there is not much one can do about it. Advertising is a way to make a product cheaper and the people want things to be cheep. We are slowly turning into an ad based economy where payment is now offered in the form of ad space. People are already selling their bodies [chinadaily.com.cn] as ad space. I admit it is getting rather ridiculous. But we will continue on this path until we can find a more profitable solution. Companies do follow the profits you know.
      • Re:Yuk (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:02PM (#18590965) Homepage
        Watching an advertisement for Nike (for instance) on television only make watching television cheaper, it doesn't make buying shoes any cheaper, it actually increases the cost of the shoes. So here's the real question. Would you rather have cheaper TV/Internet/Magazines, or would you rather have cheaper "everything else"?
        • by zolaar (764683)
          I choose cheaper TV.

          How else is Hammer gonna rap to me about how rad my British Knights are?
        • it doesn't make buying shoes any cheaper, it actually increases the cost of the shoes
          The point of the advertising is to pay for itself with the increased flow of profits. If anything, it should make it cheaper.
        • Watching an advertisement for Nike (for instance) on television only make watching television cheaper, it doesn't make buying shoes any cheaper, it actually increases the cost of the shoes. So here's the real question. Would you rather have cheaper TV/Internet/Magazines, or would you rather have cheaper "everything else"?

          I'll take the cheaper TV (not that my cable rates HAVE EVER dropped) please. I will never buy a pair of Nike(tm) shoes but if their advertising keeps broadcast television "free" then I'm OK with that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Deagol (323173)

        Advertising is a way to make a product cheaper and the people want things to be cheep.

        Umm.... advertising is a way to influence people buy stuff. See the generic/store brands at your favorite grocer. Cheaper *and* no advertising needed.

        In the absence of ads, people are generally smart enough to know what they need, when they need it. The world as we know it wouldn't grind to a financial halt if advertisers were to die off in some mass extinction, in spite of what sales people would like you to thin

        • Re:Yuk (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ortholattice (175065) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:56PM (#18591951)
          The world as we know it wouldn't grind to a financial halt if advertisers were to die off in some mass extinction, in spite of what sales people would like you to think.

          Without advertising, I doubt so many people would be buying things they don't need and overextending their credit to do so. While the world wouldn't grind to a financial halt, it would slow down significantly, probably causing a major recession/depression. The economy is unfortunately very dependent on the stupid people of the world who use their paycheck as a ticket to shop till they drop for useless crap.

          I used to be married to someone like that.

          • Re:Yuk (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:50PM (#18592955) Homepage Journal
            I'm very uncomfortable with this current notion that advertising is the solution to every market imbalance or inefficiency. The traditional model for distributing movies and videos isn't working? "Use Advertising"? Broadcast TV losing viewership to the web? "Put advertising on the web". People not buying newspapers? "Advertising". Video Games? "Advertising".

            As ortholattice says, one of the most intractable problems for the US economy today is the extension of expensive credit. The savings rate is MINUS ONE PERCENT. We are told that this is a great and booming economy, but everybody owes more this year than they did last year, and the cost of carrying that credit is more expensive than ever.

            We have just started to see an unprecedented level of mortgage forfeiture. People will lose their homes like never before because they used the little bit of equity they had built up in their houses to pay off their credit cards, and they did so by snapping up all the insane adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only home equity loans. It all worked as long as prices went up. With just the merest contraction in the housing market, hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people are going to get hurt when their monthly mortgage payments quadruple.

            Advertising. Making you want something you don't need, making you want something you don't want. Making you want something that's bad for you. It's the economic equivalent to religious fanaticism. The "free-market" radicals that have been driving this country and our economy since WWII have lied to us. The free market only serves to shrink the number of people who have power and wealth. The only way this game ends is by the vast majority of us living in near poverty, working 60 hours a week just to live.

            I'm looking at a graph published in the Detroit Free Press that was made using US Census data. Since 2000, the average income of Americans has gone down by between 6 and 9 percent. That takes into account the nice raise that you think you got back in January. Yet, your president tells you that we've got the strongest economy in years. What he leaves out is that it's strongest for him and his pals. You and me? Not so much.

            Sure, you've got a swell 42" HDTV screen, a nice car, and a couple of the latest game consoles. But only because your credit cards are working harder than ever before. What you really have is indenture to the credit industry. We're getting screwed and advertising is the pimp. As long as you can keep moving up, getting those raises, avoiding layoffs, moving those balances from card to card it'll seem like it's all working. Do you know what those in the credit industry call people who pay their credit card balances in full every month? "Deadbeats". Seriously. They hate people who pay their bills on time and are responsible.

            Advertising is not your friend. Neither is "faith-based" finance.
          • Let me highlight some things in your comment.

            Without advertising, I doubt so many people would be buying things they don't need and overextending their credit to do so. While the world wouldn't grind to a financial halt, it would slow down significantly, probably causing a major recession/depression. The economy is unfortunately very dependent on the stupid people of the world who use their paycheck as a ticket to shop till they drop for useless crap.

            I can't figure out why you hold a grudge against a group

      • For what its worth, I think I've seen enough ads in my life to have paid for every movie, tv show, and cd I've ever stolen off of bittorent. Honestly, I think the equation is still a bit unbalanced, for that reason I'm going to ignore this new service just like I ignored the pay services of Apple, RealNetworks, and bittorrent. Not to mention the pay services of the movie theaters -- at $8 a pop for over the last decade, $6-$7 before for as far back as I can remember -- I'm still busy getting my money's wort
        • by adona1 (1078711)
          I like that...."My downloads are paid for by the billboards I'm inundated with everywhere".
          Nifty ;)
        • by bangenge (514660)

          Dude...

          I think I've seen enough ads in my life to have paid for every movie, tv show, and cd I've ever stolen off of bittorent

          But the ads aren't there to pay for the tv show, movie etc. They're there to *hopefully* pay for those shows, that people might think of their products when they need buy something. The ads don't pay, but the ads are there to boost sales. So effectively, we still pay for those, it's just that it's been spread over stuff that we always have bought (which in turn we bought becau

          • Ahem. It's hardly my fault they didn't squirrel away a bit more of that ad revenue they were seeing back in the glorious days of captive audiences. It would be simply heartbreaking if the major networks and labels all collapsed. I don't know how I'd live with myself knowing that my irresponsible manhandling of their profit margin might have contributed to the fall.
      • by Larus (983617)

        Unfortunately, there is not much one can do about it.

        That's not completely true. Remember the days when pr0n was rampant and carelessly visiting websites at work could be detrimental for your employment? The users as a whole tagged the responsibility on the ISPs to get rid of the obnoxious behavior of such sites. The ISPs either fix it or go bust. Presto, the problem was gone.

        The evil solution is to find someone who has the most to lose. Instead of enforcing telemarketing laws, legislatures can

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rucs_hack (784150)
      Anyone else around here sick of all the ads we get bombarded with on a nearly constant basis?

      Not really.

      I use adblock while web browsing, and any site that manages to piss me off with lots of advertising never gets visited twice.

      And yet I am still, through my own targeted browsing, led to devices/things I wish to purchase on-line.

      I guess this is because, contrary to the statistically defined web browsing individual, I am in fact already aware of the things I want to buy, and quite capable of convincing myse
      • by VEGETA_GT (255721)
        To be honest, eh whatever, I have seen so many adds that they relay do not affect me much at all. Really I can't think of 1 occurrence when a add made me want to go with a specific product or anything. I literally ignore adds as they have become non effective because of the MASS overdose of adds we all see on a daily basses. When I go to buy something I spend my time doing research, do I buy this brand or that, well I look up the info, O look this has 5 year warranty this one 1 year, guess what I get. And a
        • Re:Yuk (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:16PM (#18592281) Journal
          You're wrong.

          Advertising is designed by the worlds best psychologists to make you feel unhappy with your life as it is, so you will go buy something. They work even if you ignore them. What you are experiencing is the surrendering to their influence that happens when you just give up under the bombardment and the accompanying rationalization. If you cut yourself off from the constant bombardment of ads for a little while, you'll be shocked.

          Advertisers, with knowledge and intent, systematically manipulate people to react according to their primitive responses instead of with reasoned responses, contrary to peoples larger self interest and for personal gain.

          And they've carved an industry for themselves out of the fact that "Superior Performing Product A" will be ignored in the face of competition from "Inferior Performing Product B" assisted by the pervasive advertising machine.

          Their tactics are so effective that to a certain extent they've made themselves the gatekeepers of the so called free market economy.

          They're fucking evil.
          • by Kingrames (858416)
            I think slashdot has found the most bitter person alive(tm).

            Wow, like seriously, you wiped the smile off my face and made me regret feeling good all this morning.
            • by neerolyte (878983)
              I felt great reading that, maybe it's just you.

              I've got ad blocking software in my browser so I see (almost) none while online. I watch almost no TV now, listen to radio that has no commercial ads and live in a city (Canberra Australia) that has very few (if any?) billboards etc.

              It's great! I stopped watching TV and have actually made choices that I don't think I would have otherwise, I've become more creative in visual and musical arts and I'm enjoying life more. I recommend it to everyone.

              You don't

          • by rucs_hack (784150)
            one slight problem with your analysis. I don't own a television.

            Why? Because I was married to a lazy biatch who sat in front of it and neglected our child for years before I finally divorced her and got my kid.

            Since then I haven't been able to stand television. For my SF video needs I rely on getting dvds of series I particularly want.
          • I don't see anything wrong here. Advertising is fair game, and if you aren't "intelligent" enough(since whether or not you like to shop is the be-all and end-all of intelligence measurements), then you may end up holding up the economy! Shocking no? And this manufactured desire, once satiated, will provide the person with some manufactured happiness, at least for a short time. Most people win from this arrangement, yet there is so much resentment here. Why?
          • by AmiMoJo (196126)
            I am still hopeful that advertising in it's current (evil) form will die off. There are two ways this will happen.

            1. People realise it's evil. One day, the next big scary thing will be advertising. Ironicly this fact will be heavily advertised. It will become the new paedophiles or cigarettes or trans-fats. People will come to realise that avoiding it is part of a healthy lifestyle.

            2. One major company will break ranks and block ads. For example, an ISP will start offering Firefox with AdBlock installed as
        • The fact that you think that way means advertising is working well on you...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nurb432 (527695)
        Does adblock work in the car? Or while you are walking down the sidewalk?

        Online ads are just one small part of the problem.
        • by rucs_hack (784150)
          not really, I don't drive.

          However, I make a point of not buying anything that pisses me off through obtrusive advertising.
      • by zappepcs (820751)
        I use adblock too, and have to stop and think about it when people complain of ads. I just don't see them anymore. For the most part, network television convinced me a LONG time ago that if it needs to be advertised there is a >90% chance that you don't need it. I'm tired of people making up diseases to sell me shit http://www.havidol.com/ [havidol.com].

        I pretty much not only ignore advertisements but put those items on my 'not going to buy it' list.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I took their test. Wow, looks like I need to see my doctorB. They are just looking to get people on medication they don't need, just look at some of the questions. I stress for success? I like to feel special? I don't like feeling like a wallflower? Life seems better when I have more than others? Really I think about everybody in the world has this condition.
          • by zappepcs (820751)
            Not to burst your bubble, but your humor is drier than the British, or you didn't realize that was a joke site..... hmmmm
    • It's only when they put ads on paid-for stuff that it gets irritating. Tasteful, unobtrusive, contextual ads are just fine with me. Of course, I still block them anyway.

      Frankly, I think their best bet would be to make ads that people want to watch. If you go on youtube, a compilation of funny ads is one of the top videos of all time. Put another way, you create a self-replicating meme, and tag on a payload.

      Of course, Bittorrent Inc. is probably screwed. The kind of people who use bittorrent are usually not
      • Frankly, I think their best bet would be to make ads that people want to watch.

        This is the same logic as "Their best bet is to have a shower and dress up nice before raping my wife."
    • by tuxic (769908) *
      Road signs and police cars? That advertising doesn't exist in Sweden, sounds terribly awful. That's supposed to be paid entirely with tax money when done right, no?
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        Commercial ads using tax money? I dont think that is right.

        But yes, we got both types over here in the states. Public busses have done it for decades. Rather disgusting if you ask me.

        Even our license plates are advertisements in many cases. ( for the state one lives in )
        • by tuxic (769908) *
          No no no ... tax money *avoids* having any ads. It would be a scandal to have ads supported by tax money, that doesn't make any rational sense :). Public buses here introduced ads sometime around 2000 maybe, it was pretty recently in a historic perspective. Now they have ads both in and outside of the buses. That public bus company has been around since the 1970s (before that I think this city was not big enough to fill that need, I live in a city that is tiny in comparison to United States population and
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wildclaw (15718)
      Advertising is an incredible drain on the captialistic society. The costs (to society) of advertising comes from several directions.

      * The first is the obvious costs of creating and distributing the advertising including the administration surrounding that process. Note, that when I say the cost to distribute the advertisment, I am talking about the cost for the distributor to distribute the advertisment.

      * The second cost is the time wasted by those looking at (or just avoiding) the advertisments. This is an
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Anyone else around here sick of all the ads we get bombarded with on a nearly constant basis?

      No, it's just you. Everybody else loves ads. And telemarketers.

    • by trawg (308495)
      I'll happily accept ad-supported TV shows if it means I don't have to pay for them.

      I'd happily download an xvid with embedded ads of the latest Sopranos episode, especially if I have the right to format shift it. I wouldn't bother removing the ads - sure, I might skip through them, but they're THERE and I'd probably see them.

      This means I wouldn't have to shell out AU$60 to buy part one of Season 6 on DVD.
  • Patch (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:20PM (#18590307)

    Patch to bypass advertising to be released in about a week. Probably on Bittorrent.

    • by Butisol (994224)
      I'd rate that more insightful than funny. I moved to Firefox primarily because of the enhanced ad blocking functionality. The extra security and those juicy extensions was just icing on the cake.

      If I'm looking for free shit, what makes them think I want to see ads for shit I have to pay for? I wouldn't be blowing so much time on the internet downloading warez and porn site rips if I had money to blow.
  • by Sanity (1431) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:20PM (#18590309) Homepage Journal
    BitTorrent Inc's biggest problem, ironically, is the success of the BitTorrent protocol. The premise behind the company seems to have been no more sophisticated than "The BitTorrent protocol is a success, we must be able to build a business around it, lets get people to pay for downloads". It demonstrates a serious lack of critical thinking about their own business model (something that is unfortunately common among those that have an early success in their careers, at the BitTorrent guys did).

    The flaw in this logic is a failure to understand the success of the BitTorrent protocol. People use BitTorrent because they don't have the money to pay for the bandwidth to distribute what they are distributing because they don't have a revenue model.

    However, if you have a half-decent revenue model, such as advertising, revenue easily offsets the bandwidth costs of distributing video from a central server over HTTP, so why put your users through the pain of having to install a piece of client software?

    BitTorrent's problem is that anyone that can afford to pay them for their services can probably afford to distribute their content over HTTP from a centralized server, and why wouldn't they given the much lower barrier to entry for their users?

    • by Don Negro (1069) *
      (something that is unfortunately common among those that have an early success in their careers, at the BitTorrent guys did).

      Big words from the man who "invented" Freenet. *coughBrandonWileycough*
      • by Sanity (1431) *

        Big words from the man who "invented" Freenet. *coughBrandonWileycough*
        If you have something to say, you should say it clearly and I may respond to it. Otherwise, grow up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by stinerman (812158)
          I don't know Ian, his UID is lower than yours, so the onus is on you to disprove his remarks.

          </sarcasm>
    • Duh... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The success of the BitTorrent protocol was largely due to people who didn't want to pay for things to begin with. Since the protocol is open source, it would be really difficult to charge for a "better" client since the code would just be forked and the pay-for version abandoned. Unfortunately, with something as relatively simple as a BitTorrent there isn't really a support revenue model either. It seems a shame that Bram isn't getting anything out of BitTorrent, but that was his choice up front.
    • by DieNadel (550271) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:45PM (#18591715)

      BitTorrent's problem is that anyone that can afford to pay them for their services can probably afford to distribute their content over HTTP from a centralized server, and why wouldn't they given the much lower barrier to entry for their users?
      This is only true as long as the content is only moderately popular. For really popular content, they'd rather distribute the load among the users downloading it.

      Plus, if this turns out to be a highly desirable feature, browsers will soon support P2P without the need for external/plugin software.
      • by Sanity (1431) *
        Weird, I replied to this and my reply appears to have disappeared. Here we go again:

        This is only true as long as the content is only moderately popular. For really popular content, they'd rather distribute the load among the users downloading it.

        Not so, the more popular the content, the cheaper the bandwidth required for each individual download, meaning that it makes even more sense to distribute from a centralized server.

        Plus, if this turns out to be a highly desirable feature, browsers will soon suppo

      • Plus, if this turns out to be a highly desirable feature, browsers will soon support P2P without the need for external/plugin software.
        Opera already does this as of version 9 [opera.com].
        • by Sanity (1431) *

          Opera already does this as of version 9.
          Yeah, but Opera is what, 1.5% of browser market share (and not climbing)?
          • by hkmwbz (531650)
            Opera is gaining users, according to Net Applications, and has been steadily doing so for years. According to the 4th quarter results for 2006, Opera Software also saw an increase in desktop revenue of more than 100%.
      • Since Opera already does this, I can guarantee it will happen. In fact we can look at the history of the other features of Opera that other browsers inherited to get a time frame (Mouse gestures and tabbed browsing are used, though I imagine others can be used).

        Since Opera started including Bittorrent 2 months ago I predeict firefox will have it in, 4 months.

        I.E. should have it in 4 years...

        I 3 Microsoft.
    • BitTorrent Inc.'s problem is that if they don't look as if they are pursuing a business plan which is traditional in terms of what RIIA and MPAA think, they are liable to get their ass's sued to pieces.
      we all know that the RIAA and MPAA will sue even if they are just sueing to put BitTorrent Inc. out of business.
    • by GWBasic (900357)

      BitTorrent's problem is that anyone that can afford to pay them for their services can probably afford to distribute their content over HTTP from a centralized server, and why wouldn't they given the much lower barrier to entry for their users?

      Good point, something to consider is that a BitTorrent-like protocol can be used in conjunction with an ISP to keep costs under control and to improve performance.

      Let's say that 100 people on a street are watching American Idol. If everyone has to open a unique con

  • Will it pan out? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kelbear (870538) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:26PM (#18590379)
    I had spoken with a friend about this sort of thing. I download tv shows because I don't want to watch tv shows on their schedule. And air times for shows are a constant battle of popularity. I don't even mind the commercials. I basically want the equivalent of free tivo. But all the TV shows are generally bittorrented without the commercials.

    However, the tv shows need ad-revenue to keep going, even if the could offer the episodes with commercials, they still need to keep cycling the commercials for a flow of revenue. Plus bandwidth problems if using direct downloads for HD quality episodes.

    I hoped for something like this. I loathe the current internet-based offerings on the network websites. Small resolutions, and constant re-buffering and queuing the next clip.

    I just wonder if they will be able to pull this off without having the commercials easily circumvented. I have no doubt that the commercials can be circumvented, the key word here is /easily/. So that advertisers will still pay to keep the show going as long as those who don't want to go through the fuss of dodging commercials will still sit through it.
    • Re:Will it pan out? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mattwolf7 (633112) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:13PM (#18591157)
      ABC.com you can watch most of their shows online with about 3 (unskipable) 30 second commercials, they aren't HD, but I haven't had any re-buffering problems from their website like you say you have.
    • by LordNimon (85072)
      You could also subscribe to Netflix. About a year after each season is broadcast, it's made available on DVD to rent. That way, you'll have high-quality video, no ads, and you'll be supporting the content creators. Plus, the DVDs often contain uncut episodes, and in the case of a cancelled show, unaired episodes.
    • by Jeff85 (710722)
      Commercials aren't a huge deal for me, but I really don't want to wait more to download the extra X megabytes per commercial, especially seeing as how my crummy "high-speed" internet connection my apartment provides becomes as slow as dial-up at times. While it hasn't been incredibly bad lately, my speed does seem to get capped at 40-50 KB/sec frequently.
    • by Torvaun (1040898)
      This is one of the many great things about Heroes. NBC has all the episodes available to watch free online. Each episode will get maybe 3 minutes of advertising, total. And while the advertisement is running, the next section is loading. It's stuff like this that makes me happy as a consumer.
      If anyone reading this knows who thought that up, tell them that they get kudos.
  • Er? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:26PM (#18590383)
    So the users provide all the bandwidth, and BitTorrent Inc. keeps all the revenues? Great business model!
  • Interesting. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flitty (981864)
    Entertainment is going to have to come up with SOME way to make money. TiVo has killed tv advertising. People (like me) don't want to pay for something like Television. I wouldn't mind a 2 minute commercial at the beginning of my LOST download if I could get it Legally, As fast (or faster) as i can through other means, and without commercials every 10 minutes.

    Sounds like a sustainable formula to me. No DRM though, I want to be able to burn it onto a cd and watch it on my Tele, not just my small compu
    • There seem to be a few comments around here along the lines of "advertisements suck" and the occasional "bring back firefly"

      Does anyone have any idea how much ressurecting Firefly would cost? That money has to come from somewhere and if we aren't paying for it up front (straight-to-video, cinema or the idealogical subscription-but-ad-free-cable) then it has to be paid for by advertising.

      I havent seen Firefly, i could have torrented the lot but havent, not one second of it has passed my corneas and will not
  • G4 (Score:5, Funny)

    by businessnerd (1009815) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:27PM (#18590403)

    The ad-supported model is currently being tested on episodes by the video gamers network G4
    Why would you test this on content that no one wants to see? Seems like they're just setting themselves up for failure.
  • How will this work? (Link is, predictably blocked at work for having *torrent* in the url).

    Downloads only happen when the client is full-screen/ad playing?
    Workaround: shut off monitor/speakers, make sandwich

    Videos interspersed with ads?
    Workaround: Annoying, but use virtualdub to take them out.

    Popups/software required?
    Workaround: figure it out or just stick to Paarrite Bay
    • by flitty (981864)
      Shhhh. don't tell advertisers that advertising doesn't work. They'll stop paying for stuff.
      • by WoZzeR (1081201)
        As someone who works in the advertising research field, I'll let you in on a little secret.... Advertising DOES work. What people don't seem to realize is that different advertising mediums (web/TV/Print) are geared towards different markets. It's easy to say that the world would be all fine and dandy without ads, but the truth is that advertising actually help bring down the price on many of the products that you are probably using at the moment. Advertisers actually understand this (for the most part)
        • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thrillseeker (518224) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:29PM (#18591465)
          advertising actually help bring down the price on many of the products

          Not really - it merely shifts the costs, and costs more because of implementation expense. Advertising requires significant expenditure in the people who work in the field. That expense is borne out by the customer - as all expenses eventually are. Advertising is overhead. Overhead should always be minimized.
        • Think about your phone company (cell or landline), what made you go with that service plan.

          I moved to a different building on campus about 1.5 years ago and lost my cell signal at my desk from my current provider. Now that my contract is up, I'm switching to the only cell provider that provides a cell signal to my desk. Advertising doesn't matter. Of the four providers in my area, only one provides a signal to my desk.
    • Ever watch Cable TV? Satellite?

      It's not enough to interrupt you every five minutes (I'm not joking) to show you ads. It's not enough to have product placement that's really only vaguely relevant (Bond's electric razor in "Die Another Day"). They now have to randomly cut into your show -- take over a fucking quarter of the screen, WITH SOUND, to show you an ad while your show is still playing.

      This is not just virtualdub. There's no way to remove these without butchering the content, or resorting to DVDs. Whi
  • It's dead, Jim.
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @01:42PM (#18590615)
    I've seen it twice already. First, in financial troubles, over the air TV broadcasters began to pack the transmission with endless and annoying advertisements. Here in Portugal the 3 major channels (RTP, SIC, TVI) use to roll out ads for 15, 20 minutes, for goodness sake! It is not that rare for people to forget completely what they were watching *, when zapping through the channels. That pushed a lot of people to cable, as initially they were mostly ad free and, thus, worth the price. But as budgets got short, spendings got high and greed kicked in, they began to pack paid channels (like AXN, History Channel and Discovery for instance) with publicity too, not in volume, but enough to annoy. At the same time, cable companies began to offer premium channels with less or no advertisement on them, but you have to pay extra to get them ...

    Then, came the internet, and the most tech savvy people began to get access to what they want, ad free and faster than over the legal channels of distribution, going around the artificial international syndication delay, that used to be 12, even 18 months! Most people still don't have access to such goodies, but it is a matter of time until someone with guts and technology creates a high quality YouTube-like system for movies and series.

    Trying to push advertisement to this internet target audience will not work, as getting rid of ads is one of the reasons people go to the internet to look for things. People would even pay for content, they do it every time by buying complete season DVDs (although 70/$60 is kinda bitter to shell out in a single season), as long as the price is not extortive. People will not pay $4 to rent an episode for 24 hours. They can buy the whole season for, let's say, $60, what in the average 22 episodes season + 8 extras mean that they can *own* the goddamn thing for $2/episode. People will not download it to watch ads, they can watch with ads TV already, without the hassle of having to download, or watch it without ads, jumping through a few hoops.

    Bottom line is: sell an episode of a serie in an ITunes like system (preferentially without the DRM) for $ 0.99 (fixed price) and people will buy it. Better yet, along with the file transfer, let people watch what they bought in an YouTube style interface, so people don't need to bother with media players, codecs or moving the file around.

    * By time I was writing this, I remembered I was watching my favorite soap opera ( gasp!) but the advertisement ran for so long that I completely forgot about it, and lost the whole second half. Damn.
    • by symes (835608)

      Here in Portugal the 3 major channels (RTP, SIC, TVI) use to roll out ads for 15, 20 minutes, for goodness sake!

      Seriously?! I guess we are kind of lucky here in the UK as we have the BBC. But it would be interesting to see channels' market share by %adverts (controlling for content, etc.) to see if the intangible cost to viewers can be worked out... i.e. how much extra would you pay for a reduction in x minutes of advertising? My worry is that content providers are working under the assumption that more ads does not equal less viewing pleasure - which might mean we are all heading for the Portugese model.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by beckerist (985855)
        I will never call 30 minute commercials "infomercials" again! Instead, I will now forever call them "Portugercials!"
  • by VEGETA_GT (255721)
    When do most smart people use bit torrents. Well if you are like me you do not sit there and watch a linux iso, video game you bought, or whatever download for 3 hours. you either let it run in the background or you start it before going to bed. So hoe effective is this if any of us would start the download and go play a game, watch tv or surf the net.
  • Wait, G4 is a video gamer's network? When did this happen?
  • Now your warez experience is going to be subsidized by advertisers!
  • Well, it gives you something to do -- read and click on ads -- while waiting for you download completes. That's Entertainment Value.
  • If they'd brought this out years, before Youtube and before illegally torrenting shows for free became so widespread, they might have had a winner. Watching a few ads first is probably sufficiently minor that a lot of people would just live with it...if the ad-free alternatives weren't as easy or easier. Now, pretty much anyone that knows what BitTorrent means, knows where and how to get the illegal stuff, and there's nothing BitTorrent, Inc. can do that can compete with that.
  • do they help seed, or are you fucked if no one else that likes the same shows as you is stupid enough to seed?
  • I have always said that £1 is too much to download a TV show, and here is the evidence.

    How much can watching an ad be worth in revenue? Certainly not £1 per customer. It's the same on TV - they don't make anything like £1 per viewer on a show. Sure, there are bandwidth costs, but since it's BT you take on some of those yourself anyway (or your ISP does).

    I'd pay 10p for a half hour TV show. No DRM, good quality xvid. Plays on everything with my choice of software.
    • by dangitman (862676)

      It's the same on TV - they don't make anything like £1 per viewer on a show.

      Are you sure about that? Advertisers pay millions of dollars during an hour's TV. And that doesn't even include other sources of income that are derived from the show.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo (196126)
        From here: http://www.gaebler.com/Television-Advertising-Cos t s.htm [gaebler.com]

        "For example, a 30-second spot during the 2005 Superbowl sold for $2.4 million. Commercials during less-watched programs are more affordable, but the cost of those commercials may still run in excess of $100,000 per 30-seconds."

        About 95 million people watched the Superbowl. That would seem to put it at much less than $1/viewer, or about 2.5 cents (1.25p in real money). Considering they want to charge a few pounds per program...
        • by dangitman (862676)
          But how many pepole are actually watching the shows, and don't just have the TV on in the background?
  • by hexix (9514) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @02:35PM (#18591579) Homepage

    The ad-supported downloads don't even appear to be full episodes of the G4 shows, just segments. These are already available for free via G4's podcasts, so why in the world would anyone want to go through the trouble of downloading them over bittorrent?

    Plus, to make matters worse, the download rate was only 65K/sec, which is pretty very slow for my internet connection. The video quality wasn't even that good, something that would have made the bittorrent.com version better than the podcast version.

    Bittorrent.com really needs to stop treating their potential customers like idiots and offer some incentive to use their products instead of the competition. The fact that they use the bittorrent protocol should lower their costs on the bandwidth side, but it increases the complexity on the customer's side. They really need to do something to make up for that (much lower prices or extremely high quality).

  • by monopole (44023) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:12PM (#18592221)
    The problem is that Madison avenue is focused on push advertising rather than pull.

    Look at all the ads that are on YouTube as content and actively downloaded. Even on my PVR I rewind and watch again good commercials. The problem with advertising and IPTV is that they force stupid, annoying, and pointless ads in a shotgun fashion assuming a captive audience. Run creative ads and use search terms and the like to target them. I figure Google is going to clean up big time on this on YouTube very soon.

    I'm a single guy who doesn't drive but loves anime. If they would kill all the car ads, and the tampon ads and run anime and asian film ads I'd be as happy as a clam, toss in a link to the online store or ticket purchase and I'd be even happier. My democracy player downloads these ads automatically.

    In the same fashion NewType magazine runs a DVD in every issue which has about three single anime episodes and a pile of trailers. While it's effectively pure advertising, its one of the most popular features, and when they discontinued it, readers made them bring it back. I've ended up buying many entire series based on the previews on those disks. That's focused and effective advertising.

    The most effective email advertising I've ever encountered is the favorites search option on eBay. I get emails on a regular basis for stuff I'm actively seeking. I read every email and end up purchasing a reasonable percentage of items.
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Even on my PVR I rewind and watch again good commercials.

      Goog commercials? Sir, such a thing does not exist.

  • I totally foresee a future in which bittorrent becomes the "mainstream" medium, television is rendered obsolete, and big-name television producers stop "broadcasting" shows, they just upload them to bittorrent -- with the commercial breaks put right into the video file. As it is now, when people rip video from television and upload it, they take the time to remove the commercials -- because hey, you're already going to all of the trouble to rip it, upload it, and attach your name to it, why not make it qua
  • I totally foresee a future in which bittorrent becomes the "mainstream" medium, television is rendered obsolete, and big-name television producers stop "broadcasting" shows, they just upload them to bittorrent -- with the commercial breaks put right into the video file.

    As it is now, when people rip video from television and upload it, they take the time to remove the commercials -- because hey, you're already going to all of the trouble to rip it, upload it, and attach your name to it, why not make it qua

    • Of course, people would probably be quite likely to skip the commercials while watching, but whether or not they skip them would probably depend on the product being advertised -- a commercial would probably have about 5 seconds to grab the viewer's attention, lest it be skipped.

      This already happens with TiVo -- but they've moved on to the next thing already: Sliders. Audiovisual ads which invade a RUNNING show and take up a quarter of the screen WHILE YOU'RE TRYING TO WATCH THE SHOW.

      I simply refuse to pa

  • Well sorry, I wrote a long post but decided it is too close to my own business. Anyway these guys are just getting started, or else they have tunnel vision. All they need to do is talk to people who have already done the market research and have seen lower tech systems actually now working and drawing money. I'd be really surprised if they don't have some successes, the question is probably how to do so while maintaining flexibility for the future. FWIW the market already exists in Japan and I've been think
  • What is it with these people, I get the tv i want now with no commercials, (thank you all you bt posters, i love each and everyone of ya), have for over 2yrs now, why go back. I tell you what, bring back Dead Like Me and Serenity, and I'll watch your commercial laden swill... til someone posts it elsewhere with the ads cut... :) CAT OUT OF BAG, these are not code words they are old adages, they get that way for a reason. We got a taste of free music, we still have it; we now have free tv and I don't want to
  • I think i've heard of this somewhere before...
    Hmmm...download free stuff for just the price of seeing a few ads. Its brilliant!! Hey we could call it Adware...
    Oh, wait...Never mind.

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