When I think of BitTorrent, the first word that comes to my mind is illegal. While it is generally used for illegally downloading movies among other things, BitTorrent is hoping that at least one-third of the 135 million people who have downloaded their software are willing to pay for it. That’s why they are launching a store where they will rent videos and sell TV shows at prices of $3.99 for new movies and $2.99 for older movies. TV shows will be 1.99 which will be downloaded for keeps.
The problem that they are going to run into is simply that the people who know how to use BitTorrent are already cozy with getting their movies for free. The general public are not going to be willing to download the software and try to familiarize themselves with using it when there are other easier services offering the same type of thing. It will definitely come as a surprise if they’re able to get their goal of 45 million people who are willing to pay for the content that they previously got for free. From a cost standpoint, you’re better off going with something like Netflix where you have the option of getting movies in mail and/or download.
There’s also another catch. The movies will be protected by Windows Media DRM (this means you can only play them in Windows Media Player) and will automatically destroy in 24 hours. Although, at some point, someone is bound to break the Windows Media DRM protection which will would possibly allow people to keep the downloads for an indefinite period of time. If people are willing to go to those lengths to get the full video on their computers for keeps, they’ll just download it illegally anyways.
They’ve got deals with some of the major studios like 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, MTV Networks, Paramount, and others. The content will be plentiful, but will the customers?
Source: Associated Press [via Yahoo]