BitTorrent Tests Ad-Supported Downloads

BitTorrent has begun testing ad-supported premium content downloads for the first time through its online store. Now, watching a 10-minute episode will cost you a pre-roll and post-roll ad instead of $1.99.

Currently only enabled for gaming network G4 TV, the new payment method is courtesy of startup YuMe Networks (see our launch coverage), which has developed means of dynamically inserting advertising within a piece of downloaded content as it is played.

YuMe’s ads, which can also be served against streamed content, use anonymous tracking information to monitor users’ views of a video and associated advertisements, said YuMe CEO Jayant Kadambi in a phone interview on Friday. Then decisions can be made on the fly about which advertisement to show and when — hypothetically, say, a longer version of an ad a user already saw online, or a pre-roll for a viewer who tends to skip past post-roll ads.

The first advertising campaign for the new BitTorrent revenue model, which is only on G4 TV, will be by game-maker Eidos, promoting its upcoming video and PC game “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary.”

Kadambi said he expected to provide ad support for additional content as BitTorrent signs licensing deals that support the model.