BitTorrent, Inc. has entered into an exclusive partnership with Rapid Eye Studios to identify, produce, and distribute original video content for the BitTorrent Bundle platform, to be known as BitTorrent Originals.
BitTorrent Originals represent first-run video content debuting exclusively across the global Bundle platform for 30 to 60 days. After the BitTorrent exclusive window, each project will be available through any other distribution channel. Each BitTorrent Original will receive marketing support across the entire BitTorrent ecosystem in addition to a 90/10 split in favor of the content creator. Creators may choose to offer the content through an advertiser supported or EST (Electronic Sell Through) model.
“This landmark deal with Marco (Marco Weber, CEO of Rapid Eye Studios) is a major milestone for us and an aggressive expansion into the media space for BitTorrent, Inc.,” stated Eric Klinker, CEO for BitTorrent, Inc. “In the last two years, we’ve become a trusted and valid channel for creators and publishers to reach a monthly global audience of 170 million fans directly. Expanding into the world of original content is a move that makes us a serious player in the media business, and takes us another step closer toward our goal: creating a sustainable digital future for creators of all kinds.”
“This landmark deal with Marco (Marco Weber, CEO of Rapid Eye Studios) is a major milestone for us and an aggressive expansion into the media space for BitTorrent, Inc.,”
– Eric Klinker, CEO for BitTorrent, Inc.
Criteria for BitTorrent Originals will include a focus on stories appealing to a young, creative, and influential group of 14-25 year-olds that make up the BitTorrent audience of 170 million monthly active users. The first project, Children of the Machine, was announced in 2014 with additional BitTorrent Originals to be revealed in the coming months.
“We were hooked on Children of the Machine after reading the first script and we think our audience will be too,” said Matt Mason, Chief Content Officer, BitTorrent, Inc. “Since our launch in 2013, our users have streamed or downloaded hundreds of millions Bundles from the likes of Sony Pictures Classics, Universal, Cinedigm, FilmBuff and Drafthouse, in addition to work from musicians such as Thom Yorke, Madonna, Linkin Park, Kaskade and multiple projects from every one of the major labels. Marco’s vision for how far we can take original content adds a massive amount of value to the already burgeoning self-service Bundle platform, and that vision is now becoming a reality that will change the entire business. Others in the original content space such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu have made great progress, but we are starting out with a big advantage: We have a larger audience than all of those platforms combined.”
“Others in the original content space such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu have made great progress, but we are starting out with a big advantage: We have a larger audience than all of those platforms combined.”
– Matt Mason, Chief Content Officer, BitTorrent, Inc.
With Children of the Machine, which begins shooting this spring, BitTorrent has tapped creators Marco Weber (Igby goes Down, Unthinkable, The 13th Floor) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithea, The Dangerous Live of Altar Boys) to write and serve as Executive Producers of the sci-fi series.
Children of the Machine is slated to launch on BitTorrent Bundle in late 2015 for free with an advertiser supported model. The first season of eight 60-minute episodes is anticipated to reach 60-80 million view – exers worldwide. In addition, a premium version of the series will be available for $9.95 leveraging the same BitTorrent Bundle paygate feature Radiohead’s Thom Yorke used to sell Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.
“I found it fascinating to watch how BitTorrent has grown into an enormous creative community over the course of the last few years,” offered Marco Weber, CEO and Founder of Rapid Eye Studios. “Today they reach more than 170 million people; young, social, influential, and tech-savvy. It became obvious to me that original content would add a tremendous amount of value and engagement to the growing BitTorrent Bundle platform.
“When I approached Eric, Matt and the Bundle team with the concept for BitTorrent Originals, they immediately signed on,” Weber continued. “Once we started approaching major brands and advertisers with the series, the response was incredible. They were incredibly intrigued by the outlook of reaching an audience of 60-80 million fans per show in the most attractive demographic. The young and rebellious image of the brand certainly helped.”
“I’m looking forward to creating an alternative distribution ecosystem for creators, filmmakers, and talent — bringing new stories to a growing, influential millennial audience via BitTorrent,” added Weber.
“When I approached Eric, Matt and the Bundle team with the concept for BitTorrent Originals, they immediately signed on. Once we started approaching major brands and advertisers with the series, the response was incredible.”
– Marco Weber, Rapid Eye Studios
In addition to the series, a separate Bundle will offer a Children of the Machine video game, to be launched and distributed through the platform.
Global advertisers are in advanced negotiations with BitTorrent and Rapid Eye Studios for access to the BitTorrent Original content initiative via sponsorship, advertising, and brand integration opportunities.
“We have received an unprecedented and positive response from the largest global brands wanting to be a part of the BitTorrent Originals initiative,” added BitTorrent, Inc. Chief Operating Officer, Ro Choy. “Through BitTorrent Originals we enable brands to reach our massive, highly engaged, and coveted audience; not only through traditional standard ad placements but by integrating brands into the content itself.”
“We have received an unprecedented and positive response from the largest global brands wanting to be a part of the BitTorrent Original initiative.”
– Ro Choy, Chief Operating Officer, Ro Choy
North American rights outside the BitTorrent window will be shopped by Paradigm.
As part of the exclusive partnership between the two companies, BitTorrent’s Chief Content Officer Matt Mason and part of his team will relocate from San Francisco to Los Angeles and work jointly from Rapid Eye Studio’s offices.
Rapid Eye Studios and Marco Weber are represented by Paradigm and Attorney Paul Mayersohn of Surpin and Mayersohn LLP.
Jeff Stockwell is represented by UTA, Kaplan Perrone Entertainment and Attorney Jeff Frankel and Scott Whitehead of McKuin Frankel Whitehead LLP.