BitTorent Used as a Market Research Tool by Media Giant
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Unsatisfied with the growing cost of licensing video for its new TV site, Australia’s Fairfax Media turns to BitTorrent to add popular content for its audience
According to The Australian, Fairfax TV has adopted a somewhat surprising strategy to improve its business. The media giant is using the P2P protocol to search for popular videos and find out what people are interested in watching. Then the Sydney Morning Herald publisher contacts the rights owners of those videos and tries to make a deal with them for making that content available on its smh.tv video site.
The information was made public during a government broadband conference in Sydney last week by Fairfax’s chief Ricky Sutton. In a very open statement, Sutton told about how the company’s approach in acquiring content that would help its video site gain popularity:
“One of our major ways to get content is going to BitTorrent, and other BitTorrent sites, and find what people are illegally downloading to then go to the content owner and say, ‘hey, I watched this last night it’s going awesome on BitTorrent’ and then say ‘how about giving it to us?”‘
“We then bring it over here and we advertise on BitTorrent that it’s legally available on our platform, and then pay some revenue share based on it. That’s worked quite effectively.”
Putting it differently, through smh.tv, FairFax intends to use this window of great opportunity and license documentaries to monetize them, attracting their producers with the prospect of benefiting as well from the process. The main twist here is that the company also advertises to BitTorrent users, splitting the profit from pirates turned into consumers with the BitTorrent platforms.
All in all, given that the move is likely cheaper for the company than contracting shows in the usual manner, this new strategy may be a very inspired one.
Whether or not this way of identifying consumer demand is already used by the entertainment industry (who are we kidding?) it is likely to escalate pretty soon in my opinion.
So, once again, even from an illegal angle, Bittorent manages to be quite relevant for the media industry’s profit and FairFax’s decision to go at the filesharing trends with respect to the content they want to offer could shake some (new) ground for the videocontent-offering sites.