Thursday, March 20, 2008

CBC Wows by Offering TV Show Through BitTorrent

My, how the battle between music/video content producers and online download sites has taken a drastic turn. The CBC just announced that it will be offering TV show Canada's Next Great Prime Minister for free download via BitTorrent technology, which (to my knowledge) was once known as a fruitful method for downloading content illegally. There will be no DRM restrictions on the digital content, which means that downloaders can save the file to their PC, burn it to a CD, and even transfer it to a portable device for viewing on the go.

This is a far cry from a few years back when content producers were doing everything in their power to prevent the distribution of their programming and music online. This included, in many cases, lawsuits against Websites and technologies just like BitTorrent, or even YouTube. We then saw many producers take a lousy step forward with DRM-laden, pay-per-use content that virtually prevented downloaders from being able to fully enjoy what they just purchased. This move represents not so much defeat as it does the eventual understanding of the current state of the industry.

According to the CBC Website, it's an experimental move, prompted by the knowledge that the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. is doing something similar. "Do you think this is a good/bad idea?" CBC asks its Website visitors. "Would you like to see more shows distributed this way?" (Sidenote: if you wanted a prime example of the interactive element of media that I was discussing in the previous post, this is a great one!)

If all goes well, I wouldn't be surprised to see more popular CBC programming distributed this way. Congratulations to CBC on making this move. Hopefully it will prompt others to follow suit, although it looks like the majority of content producers are finally "getting it".

18 comments:

Bill - Vancouver, BC said...

I think this is a great step forward for CBC. CBC has always been thought of as a dinosaur, a relic of the past when government owned media are still in favor. This shows that CBC is still at the forefront of trends and will silence those critics of CBC. I think eventually this is the way forward of programs. That we can eventually download content ourselves DRM-free and have total access and control over it. To release the content free is but a bonus. I do not mind even paying a reasonable fee for the content because after all, the actors, directors do live off from it. Hurrah for Bittorrent and the CBC!

Anonymous said...

I already download a couple CBC shows on a regular basis... it's just not endorsed by the CBC of course :)

Evan Jennings said...

Peer-to-peer distribution is possibly the only way we're all going to get the future we want - high quality video when and where we want it.

There is no mismanagement or greed on behalf of broadband ISPs or the content owners, publishers or distributors at the root of this - it's just simple math. There are people smarter than I who argue that the hub-and-spoke model for distribution of digital content, despite what the content distribution networks might say, can't scale economically to meet demand. In other words, the Internet is getting busier and the performance is getting worse and it's going to cost too much to fix it without changing the way we distribute content.

Peer-to-peer distribution according to the BitTorrent model could fix the problem without costing capital and, as a bonus, in populous neighbourhoods could save telcos and cable companies "backhaul" costs for traffic outside the central offices or cable heads.

These statements of mine are purely speculative and are not based on any inside knowledge of the workings of the telecom or cable industries. For more info, check out Cringley's writings.

khaleroo said...

I think this is fantastic.
Also equally awesome would be uncancelling J-Pod.
Hey Derek, custom Torrent client?
Heh heh - I have one ;)
Who reads this stuff except us anyway?
lol

Anonymous said...

I download a few CBC shows on torrent sites, and I think CBC already endorses this for some shows, anyone who downloads Sophie sees the entire credits, No other shows do that. I think this would be CBC letting it out to have the credits!

Anonymous said...

Rock on, CBC!

Anonymous said...

Great of CBC to offer a show nobody will want to watch.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely the right move. Embrace the technology or pay the price.

khaleroo said...

I really think someone should mention that CBC using Flash Video on Jpod was great.
Secondly Torrents are kind of Old hat. Better if they had licensed Broadcast Machine, which indirectly is still Torrents.
Now the CBC techies know who I am , but I am saying it anyway,
Right now I am downloading Lost off of MegaUpload (direct download), Southpark from Binsearch (newsbinaries), and I hardly use torrents any more, but with the death of Stage6 and downloadable divX files (the majority of them), I will be mostly switching back to News Binaries (binsearch).

I find that torrents really slow down my surfing experience, and I hate that.

Also, this is really old stuff; IE "torrents," but I will wait to see the implementation before I comment further. I am not downloading that particular show however, except as a test.

I SURE WOULD HAVE TORRENTED _J_P_O_D <<< hint hint. (bring it back).

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. and btw, it wasn't "once known as a fruitful method for downloading content illegally" it STILL IS a fruitful method for downloading content illegally! :P

Anonymous said...

Could this be good news for Myka? ( http://www.myka.tv/ )
I think so!

Xtree86 said...

Yay for CBC. My tax dollars at work!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the CBC can go after I.S.P's who charge for bandwidth usage. It would be a way for them to re-coop production money.

If the CBC offers a Large product for Download free, and I.S.P.'s are charging people to download it(based on Bandwidth), then I.S.P's should pay a percentage to the CBC.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Way to go CBC. How will Bell Canada and Rogers highspeed be effected by this? They currently throtle bandwidth when they see .torrents go through. Great idea but these ISP's need to cooperate!

Anonymous said...

Why not just deliver it through iTunes?

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to see how many people actually download this show. :)

The only shows I watch on CBC are The Simpsons, The Hour, Doctor Who and Torchwood.

And we ALL know how slow CBC is to air Doctor Who and Torchwood. So slow, in fact, that BBC America is airing Torchwood Series 2 *before* the CBC, even though -- to the best of my understanding -- CBC co-produces the show! Needless to say, I know people who watch these shows on mediums other than CBC. :) But not me, as I can only afford dialup :(

I think it's time for CBC to air (or permit for download) shows that downloaders are actually demanding in high volumes already.

Anonymous said...

Its strange that this idea of distributing video would come from a PUBLIC broadcasting company. I would have expected this kind of innovation to come from a PRIVATE broadcaster. I guess it sucks to be CTV or Global TV.....

My god what has the world come to? The public sector being more innovative??

Anonymous said...

Not surprising at all. The Canadian private networks don't own most of the shows they televise. No way would the American business interests who own these shows would tolerate this.