BitTorrent for Brands

Last month I wrote about how I think email is not used enough by brands. This month I’ve been thinking about other channels and platforms marketers don’t leverage enough.

And the big one that keeps coming back to me is why have we never seen a brand use torrents?

Yes it falls into a gray area that not a lot of brands could get way with, but we need to remember of course that torrenting itself is not illegal, only the torrenting of illegal content.

Although most media usage reports seem to ignore it, we know video consumption through torrents is prevalent, and in many demographics ubiquitous. So why don’t we see any brands playing in this space?

Even if they don’t have quality branded content to release through torrents, why are no brands leveraging torrent sites through display media? Surely the lack of competition makes them fairly cheap placements and I imagine a “real” banner ad would stand out among the rest of the spam.

It would be pretty ballsy for a brand to do either of these, but it would be pretty effing awesome.

No Comments
  • Bill Gates
    Posted at November 9, 2012 4:30pm, 09 November Reply

    What kind of idiot are you?

    Brands that produce media content generally don't distribute it via bit torrent as it lacks the sweet, sweet DRM which they crave. Independents have been using the protocol for over a decade.

    Brands don't advertise on torrent sites for the same reason brands don't advertise on porn sites – they don't want their brand associated with the site.

    For someone who claims to work in digital strategy you seem to lack any real understanding of the digital space. If I were you I would stop posting your brain farts for the entire industry to see – it can't be helping CumminsRoss' brand.

  • Ro
    Posted at December 14, 2012 11:48am, 14 December Reply

    It's an interesting seed-thought, and I'll add the following on it:

    Global and local brands are making awesome video content already like the Big Beer Ad, Dove's real Beauty campaign, and Heineken's 'The Date' etc and people aren't torrenting it in huge volumes. Permission has never been a factor for torrents, but there's a lack of 'corporate content' on torrents, so why is that?

    I don't believe it's that 'marketers don't leverage torrents enough' I'd suggest that as there's nothing stopping people torrenting any kind of content at the moment, there's a lack of interest from the global/local community in doing it.

    So why aren't people torrenting this kind of content on-mass? There's a multitude of answers, and some of my quick thoughts are:
    – Torrenting is still fairly niche in the broad community context.
    – Sharing to a bigger audience via YouTube / Vimeo requires less technically from the audience.
    – they're short(er) pieces of content, more easily and quickly shared from more places and on more devices on the likes of YouTube, Vimeo etc.
    – There's very little demand in a real sense for 'corporate' style content in torrenting communities – even the very best, longer, corporate content is rarely shared in huge volumes within torrenting communities.
    – It's easier to download from YouTube and Vimeo with any one of a handful of free Chrome and Firefox add-ons (in HD if the video is provided in that format) than it is to torrent.
    – The content is good and attention grabbing, but not memorable and valuable enough to want to store it.
    – If the user wants to re-experience it later, YouTube is a click away and available from anywhere – not stuck on a single machine.
    – Time. If you're a frequent user of torrents and you have the choice of spending your time finding a good torrent with seeds for a TVC, or finding one for Skyfall, for example, I know which one people are going to go with.
    And finally:
    – Most people can't torrent at work, but could justify watching a YouTube video – meaning Tubes are a better platforms for content sharing.

    This isn't to dump on the idea – anything is possible – but the technical requirements, lack of anywhere access and the ability to more easily share the kind of content companies produce via Tubes and other social sites, to a mass audience probably means leveraging torrents as a distribution or leveraging platform is probably a way off.

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