Will BitTorrent Prove a Viable Marketing Tool for Hollywood?

Last week, Cinedigm announced it was partnering with BitTorrent to help promote the release of Dante Ariola’s “Arthur Newman,” starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, which debuted in limited release over the weekend. In less than five days, users of the file-sharing app downloaded one million copies of the film’s 10-minute preview. By comparison, the studio’s official trailer had less than 20,000 views on YouTube over the past three weeks.

“Studio last week announced promotional pact with the file-sharing software firm — long a bête noire of Hollywood and other content industries, many of which still view BitTorrent as facilitating rampant piracy,” reports Variety. “Cinedigm pact could be start of shift in that perception, as BitTorrent offers a base of 170 million active users monthly.”

According to BitTorrent marketing VP Matt Mason, 20 percent of those who viewed the “Arthur Newman” preview also clicked on the link to Cinedigm’s website for the film. BitTorrent’s package for the movie includes 52 set photos and a high-resolution poster.

“A year ago, we weren’t having a ton of conversations” with movie studios or music labels, said Mason. “Now we’re talking to everyone. We can bring the fans. Now we have to make it work for content creators.”

BitTorrent generates revenue via display ads and by selling ad-free premium versions.

“While BitTorrent is trying to change how Hollywood sees file-sharing platform, the software remains — and will continue to be — a primary way Internet users pilfer films and TV shows, as well as music, software, games and more,” concludes Variety. “Those pirated files, however, are independent of the content BitTorrent seeds through its own official tracker.”