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BitTorrent Moves into B2B with DNA

In a significant move that could usher in faster and cheaper streaming video delivery, online video startup BitTorrent today made available a product it’s calling BitTorrent Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA). The service, which is being offered to commercial content publishers, builds on BitTorrent’s popular peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol to aid video streaming and downloads. This marks a change for BitTorrent, which had previously tried to capitalize on the technology by launching a consumer download service.

“This is a serious disruptor to services like Akamai,” Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent’s president, told us this morning. “BitTorrent improves user experiences for streaming by peer-accelerating those transfers.”

BitTorrent has already signed one client: Brightcove, which will implement the technology as part of its new high-quality Internet TV initiative, called Brightcove Show.

Content publishers can implement DNA through a line of JavaScript that detects whether or not the user has the BitTorrent client. If the user does, BitTorrent kicks in, if not, it will revert back to the publisher’s default content delivery network (CDN).

BitTorrent has been working on the product for a long time, but launched now because “video is not a great business when you look at cost and revenue opportunity,” according to Navin. “If you’re a top-tier salesforce, selling ads against a streaming video, you collect about 15 cents to 20 cents per view on a $40 CPM. The cost to support that video is substantially higher.” BitTorrent believes it can reduce those supporting costs drastically.

While this latest move reaches out to other businesses, Navin doesn’t see this as a radical change in strategy. “Technically, we’ve always been B2B,” said Navin. “We’ve been a tool for people to reach other people effectively.” And BitTorrent is not giving up on its consumer plays like the BitTorrent store, which offers a number of movies and TV shows for download. Navin said that side of the business continues to grow, as does installed client base.

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