Bit Torrent announced this week that it is launching a legit live streaming service featuring 13 niche programmers and “plans” to offer more substantial packages this summer. To borrow a phrase from the great Lee Corso, Not so fast my friend. Bit Torrent? Sure. I’m certain that all of the major networks will be chomping at the bits, no pun intended, to get into a formal partnership with a company that has made its name via a file sharing technology that allows people to download copyrighted content for viewing for free.
There are now two major operations, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue offering the ability to stream live programming and they are regularly building new partnerships. Another legitimate operation, Hulu which is owned by three major content owners is also rumored to be looking at a live TV streaming option as is Youtube. Neither of the two are confirmed at the moment by the respective companies so we have no reason to believe that they are truly on the way at the moment, but the landscape could get much larger before long. And yet Bit Torrent, basically the Napster of Video content expects to sign distribution deals with major carriers. Statements from Bit Torrent executives are nearly comical. BitTorrent Live VP of Media Erik Schwartz told Variety that they would carry HBO but they were in no hurry to carry them. I have a feeling that HBO is no hurry to be on the service since it already has its own streaming service HBO Now.
Bit Torrent may well carve some sort of space for itself for smaller providers in a way similar to Amazon’s new partnerships with other streaming providers. But again why would any self-respecting streaming service align itself with Bit torrent? We know that Bit Torrent was not officially launched to be used to ferry pirated content from one user to the next. But there is a reason that the word torrent is a synonym for stealing content to more than a few generations at this point. Whether the company likes it or not this is their brand. Ask yourself, would you buy Michael Vick branded dog food? Would MSNBC sponsor The Rush Limbaugh memorial Golf Tournament? How about attending church services at the All New (non-apocalyptic) David Koresh Ministries. I really doubt it. And I furthermore really doubt that HBO, or any serious broadcaster would give an offer from Bit Torrent a second look. are