Pioneer One: A New Media Model Success Story

Less than a month ago, Pioneer One, an original made for BitTorrent series, debuted on VODO.net (a BitTorrent Inc. partner). Its creators Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith sought to create a quality sci-fi drama outside the traditional media model.

Using proven distribution channels on the Internet – like BitTorrent – to connect with viewers, Josh and Bracey saw their pilot episode downloaded over 500,000 times and they raised $20,000 in donations and $10,000 in sponsorship from MOFILM. All within 10 days! Their results are especially impressive when you consider that most filmmakers cannot expect to get more than $50,000 for a twenty-year all-media license for a non-genre feature, according to Ted Hope, producer of such films as Adventureland and 21 Grams.

Pioneer One achieved this success at a time when many remain skeptical about content creators ability to monetize content online. So, it is no surprise that there has been a lot of interest in this alternative media model (See: TorrentFreak, NewTeeVee, TechDirt, New York Times). Moreover, BitTorrent allowed Josh and Bracey to tap into online communities and reach millions of people who might otherwise be inaccessible, while also helping them create buzz on social networks like Twitter. These communities are powerful and provide intrinsic value for any indie filmmaker trying to build a fan base.

For creators, the Internet and distribution platforms like BitTorrent also create a model of empowerment that allows them to take control of their own future. We look forward to more episodes of Pioneer One, as well as working with other creators who are interested in new media models.

- Simon -

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