Digital Bazaar CEO: P2P can improve media economics


Can P2P change media distribution? Manu Sporny — CEO of Digital Bazaar, which runs a legal online digital content distribution and sales network — says it can, for the benefit of both consumers and creators.


In an in-depth essay on his blog, Sporny lays out a compelling argument for the use of P2P technology to fundamentally change the marketpace for digital media, mainly by using technology to cut out expensive facets like advertising and mass-media distribution methods. But Sporny’s plan will be a tough row to hoe, since big-time content providers will likely be wary to take the plunge into P2P without some proven success stories of a similar scale to their projects.

While Sparny has the concept (Collaborative Content Distribution) and the tool (Bitmunk) to make P2P distribution happen, for success he needs to convince content providers that they “…must start offering their content to more than just the cable providers. Exclusivity is no longer in the best interest of the content creators.”

Right now, most of Bitmunk’s content partners are small- or no-label musicians — to whom any distribution method is worth the risk because the alternative is not selling anything. Distributing bigger fare legally via P2P, such as a television show or movie, would be a whole new ballgame because of the risk on such a large investment and traditional distribution agreements hinging on exclusivity.

Still, it’s an exciting new way to look at how content creators could bypass middlemen like network broadcasters to offer content directly to their audience. If thorny problems like how to effectively promote new material offered through the service, how to manage the expectations of providers who want DRM or other restrictions, and how to build the user base into a large enough pool of potential customers can be overcome, many aspects of Sporny’s vision could become reality.


NewTeeVee » Could P2P Save the Internet?

[…] That’s what Wade Roush, writing for the MIT Technology Review, argues in this piece about peer-to-peer technology. And not only should distributors get on board, but network operators may want to embrace it, too. Considering how much more efficiently it distributes large amounts of data, it’s likely become as core a component to networking as data compression and encryption. While content distributors are starting to get it, and a number of legitimate P2P business models have emerged, what’s got the carriers worried is the sheer volume — estimated anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent of all Internet traffic — of P2P traffic.Hui Zhang, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies broadband networks, says that “2006 will be remembered as the year of Internet video. Consumers have shown that they basically want unlimited access to the content owners’ video. But what if the entire Internet gets swamped in video traffic?”Just as video compression advances like DivX have revolutionized video delivery, so will peer-to-peer sharing. What’s interesting is that of all the keys to web content delivery, DRM is the furthest behind. Even Bill Gates thinks it’s “too complicated.” […]

Reg Crandall

Not just P2P! The answer for Digital Content Profit is solved with an incredible company that will take digital media to new heights in profit: The 9thXchange marketplace is the newest way to bring together buyers and sellers of digital content. The service dramatically reduces content piracy by offering the seller lifetime royalties — even on exchanges between consumers. Moreover, the service accommodates all technology platforms, file types and creators. I read about The 9thxchange in Crains Detroit recently as well. It’s new and exciting – Reg Crandall

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