News & Analysis

Why did That Startup Show premiere its first TV season on BitTorrent Bundle?

- April 22, 2015 3 MIN READ

The Startup Show, which announced its launch and six-episode schedule in July last year, revealed today that it will premiere its first season exclusively on BitTorrent Bundle. The television show, which was shot in front of a live audience at the Savoy Tavern in Melbourne and hosted by comedian and self-confessed technology geek Dan Ilic became a cult hit last year within the Australian startup ecosystem clocking up just over 120,000 views across its first two episodes which were available to view via YouTube and That Startup Show’s website.

The show was founded by media producer and lawyer Anna Reeves, startup communications and event management expert Sally Gatenby, founder of Larkspur Communications (Formerly head of Communications at Starfish Ventures) and Ahmed Salama an Executive Producer with a track record in the film space.

The That Startup Show Exec Team

The That Startup Show Exec Team

The format of the show has a vibe similar to that of John Oliver’s ‘last week tonight’ and the ‘Gruen Transfer’ where issues and topics surrounding the startup scene are discussed with a comedic undertone, something which Ilic was able to take the lead on and deliver strong results.

Last year, in multiple news reports, it was stated that the team was shopping the TV show around to companies such as Channel Nine and Netflix, but instead has chosen to house the content on BitTorrent Bundle in a move that’s been deemed as ‘going against the grain’ by the company itself.

“We’re thrilled to call BitTorrent home for That Start Up Show. What’s really exciting about the Bundle platform is that for the first time, producers like us can connect with audiences on BitTorrent in a way that is meaningful on many levels for both the fan and producer,” Salama said in a media release.

“Sustainability is one of the great questions artists of our time face, and we hope to share some of the answers on our journey.”

BitTorrent, which originated as a peer-to-peer file distribution network has put a great deal of time and effort over the last year in becoming a legitimate ‘friend’ to the content creation and publishing space. It is worth noting that although the term ‘BitTorrent’ has been connected with music and piracy for many years, customers and users of the platform understand that BitTorrent Inc (the company referred to in this article) is different to the open source file transfer protocol used by torrent sites such as Pirate Bay. BitTorrent Inc uses the file transfer protocol in a legal manner.

BitTorrent Bundle is starting to gain a track record distributing content such as Madonna’s documentary on human rights and Moby’s remix album, which received 8.9 million downloads. BBC has also used the platform to sell a 10-episode series of Doctor Who. Having said that, all of these content plays had multiple broadcast streams aside from the BitTorrent platform.

Straith Schreder, Director of Content Strategy at BitTorrent, said that one of the primary reasons the platform exists is to help share the stories of emerging artists and content creators.

“BitTorrent Bundle was built to support creativity: our goal is to share the stories of emerging artists and innovators; to invite fans into the invention process. That Start Up Show provides an original and compelling look into innovation culture, the culture that moves and connects our global user base,” said Schreder.

In being a technology startup themselves, it is obvious why BitTorrent Bundle would feel connected to such a project. The vertical also has very little competition on the platform, with downloads already taking over The Startup Kids that documents the startup journey of the founders of SoundCloud, Dropbox and Vimeo.

At the time of publication, That Startup Show has experienced a combination of a little over 4,200 free and paid downloads. At $2.99 to view the premium content (the last four episodes of the series), there would need to be a decent amount of paid downloading happening for the production to bring in decent money and turn a profit on all of its production costs.

Having said that, unlike Spotify and YouTube, BitTorrent Bundle does actually pay creators and publishers 90% of the revenue made on downloads; and for those that experience paid downloads at a high scale can actually make some decent revenue. RadioHead frontman Thom Yorke proved this last year when he released his debut solo album on the platform; it was he made an estimated $20 million from over 4 million downloads.

While Yorke undoubtedly has a larger fan base than That Startup Show, a push by BitTorrent Bundle featuring the content on its front page which it claims is visited by 170 million users per month would at the very least have a considerable impact on the downloads of the premium content, especially considering that guests on the show at the back end of production are more internationally renowned than the first couple of episodes. Making that point clearer in the background artwork would also help reach a wider audience, especially because a majority of BitTorrent users are not Australian.

Readers can access the That Startup Show Bundle here.

Update: Since launching this morning, public data available by BitTorrent says the That Startup Show has received just over 74,000 downloads on BitTorrent Bundle. This includes a mix of free and premium downloads.