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BitTorrent is committing more resources to the development of original content.
The peer-to-peer file sharing firm has partnered with Rapid Eye Studios to produce and distribute projects via its Bundle platform under the BitTorrent Originals banner. The first project to be released as part of those efforts is Children of the Machine, a sci-fi series that BitTorrent first announced last year. BitTorrent will also look for additional stories that will appeal to its core 14 to 25 demographic.
As part of the new agreement, BitTorrent content chief Matt Mason and some of his team will relocate from BitTorrent’s San Francisco headquarters to Los Angeles to work at the Rapid Eye Studio offices.
“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,” said BitTorrent chief executive Eric Klinker.
BitTorrent’s relationship with Rapid Eye Studios began last year with the development of Children, which was created by Rapid Eye Studios CEO Marco Weber (Igby Goes Down) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia). “We were hooked on Children of the Machine after reading the first script,” said Mason. “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.”
The eight-episode first season of Children, which begins shooting this spring, will be released in late 2015. The hourlong series, set in the future when androids have taken over the world, will be available via BitTorrent Bundle for free with ads or in a premium offering that costs $9.95.
BitTorrent introduced Bundle in 2013 as a pay-gated system for downloading content aimed at legitimizing the download space. Since then, Bundle was used to distribute Thom Yorke‘s recent album and will be the online distributor for David Cross‘ Hits, due out Feb. 13. BitTorrent also recently struck a deal with indie distributor FilmBuff to release 16 award-winning documentaries via Bundle.
With BitTorrent Originals, Bundle will be given an exclusive window of 30 to 60 days, after which Paradigm will shop the North American rights. Creators will receive a 90 percent cut of the revenue generated through sales on BitTorrent.
“I found it fascinating to watch how BitTorrent has grown into an enormous creative community over the course of the last few years,” said Weber. “It became obvious to me that original content would add a tremendous amount of value and engagement to the growing BitTorrent Bundle platform.”
Weber is represented by Paradigm and Paul Mayersohn of Surpin & Mayersohn. Stockwell is repped by UTA, Kaplan Perrone Entertainment and Jeff Frankel and Scott Whitehead of McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
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