Warner Bros. to Sell Movies, Show Via BitTorrent

Posted on May 9, 2006

BitTorrent logo The New York Times reports that Warner Bros. has announced to plans to sell movies and tv show episodes online using BitTorrent software. BitTorrent is peer-to-peer file transfer protocol that is used by many web users to share files, including video content. In the past it has had a reputation for carrying illegal video files.
The service will begin sometime this summer, with prices beginning at about $1 for some television programs and increasing to about the price of a DVD or video rental for full-length movies.

The initial offerings will include movies like "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Rumor Has It" and "Natural Born Killers." The television shows will include older fare like "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Babylon 5."

To use the service, consumers will visit www.bittorrent.com, download the software and then browse the selections on the Web site. They will be prevented from copying and distributing files they purchase through two mechanisms: one that requires them to enter a password before watching a file, and another that allows the file to be viewed only on the computer to which it was downloaded.

Online piracy has become increasingly vexing for Hollywood studio executives as faster Internet connections have made it easier to copy large movie files. A study commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America concluded that piracy cost the studios about $2.3 billion in revenue in 2005.

The article also says tv shows will cost around $1 and movie downloads will be priced similar to movie rentals.