TV is no longer just available through that box sitting in the corner of your living room. Nowadays you can create your own TV schedule, watching what you want when you want it online. In the past twelve months we've seen internet services such as Netflix and Amazon come on in leaps and bounds by analysing feedback from their users to commission original content. And today yet another site has joined the race to churn out their own programming...
BitTorrent – the online service allowing users to share copies of TV shows, films and musicals for free, both legally and illegally – has launched a new venture with Converge Studios, offering its 170 million users the chance to decide whether its first TV pilot gets made or not.
Fly or Die – a concept inspired by American production duo Rock Mafia - will take viewers on a tour of the music industry, from its glitzy facade to its less glamorous reality and featuring cameos from Vanessa Hudgens, Gavin DeGraw and Jesse McCartney. Rock Mafia's Tim James and Antonia Armato have collaborated with Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and No Doubt, and will be the basis of a script that "blurs the lines between truth and fiction".
The pilot will be pitched online as a BitTorrent Bundle - or, in simpler terms, a means of distributing legitimate content amongst users through a password. Once the Fly or Die bundle is accessed, it can be downloaded to devices for viewers to watch the trailer. Anyone then willing to share their email address will also be granted access to seven bonus videos, music, information about the characters and "an invitation to join the community that will creatively shape Fly or Die's future: impacting everything from storyline to distribution."
"We were working on a project and wanted to go direct-to-fan," said Converge CEO Tim Staples. "We came to BitTorrent with a crazy idea – a new way to get content developed and distributed. For us, it was an opportunity to take a great show and test it; to develop iteratively, together with our audience."
What's unique here is the file-sharing nature of BitTorrent's users, which the service will be relying upon to get their own un-pirated content available to a broad demographic. It's "television, built for the internet", according to the people behind Rock Mafia.