How To Promote Your TV Show on P2P Networks

This summer’s TV season is creeping up on us, and the networks are once again trying to get us hooked on a bunch of new and not-so-new shows. A lot of money is being spent on traditional promotion, but you can also expect an increased number of free downloads from the iTunes store, Amazon Unbox and similar platforms. Some producers are even more brave (or desperate, depending on your point of view), leaking their material to YouTube and file-sharing networks.

Usually that’s something people don’t talk about. One exception is Spike TV’s new show, Factory. The network hired the P2P promoters of the Jun Group to distribute the show’s pilot on the Limewire file-sharing network, according to the LA Times. This might not have been the best choice. After all, Limewire is primarily used to download music, and the network is completely search-based, meaning users have to know what they are looking for, and who would search for a still-unknown TV show of a not-that-popular cable network? But don’t worry, it’s not all that complicated to get P2P promotion right. Here are five essential points to get your show popular with file-swappers.

Chose the right network. Limewire is a great file-sharing tool, it’s just not all that popular with the TV downloading crowd. People tend to download their shows via BitTorrent instead — if they’re in the U.S., that is. Other countries have other favorites, so the right choice really depends on the market you want to target. There’s a great overview about different global file-sharing habits in the Ipoque Internet Study 2007.

Go with the big guys.
There are tons of BitTorrent sites out there. Some are invite-only while others are open to everyone. While it would be great of you could slowly infiltrate a closed community of hard-core file sharers and then wait for your show to organically find its way onto the bigger platforms, chances are you don’t have the time for that. So relax, and just upload your content on the Pirate Bay, Isohunt and Mininova. Together these three sites generate a billion page views per month, according to TorrentFreak. Here’s a great guide to use Mininova, and this guide explains how to upload torrents to the Pirate Bay.

Be a good seeder. You really need to get the ball rolling yourself if you want to make content popular on P2P networks, and that means keeping your copy up 24/7. There is nothing as frustrating as a torrent download that gets stuck at 90 percent because the initial copy, also called “seed” in pirate lingo, goes offline. Luckily you won’t have to convert your home office into a file-sharing haven: There are tons of companies that offer dedicated servers just for running BitTorrent and seeding content. A long list of these so-called seed boxes can be found here.

Don’t seed from your office network. Now this might be obvious because you don’t want to get in trouble with IT security, but there’s another good reason to avoid that corporate network infrastructure for P2P promotion: Many file-swappers use so-called block lists nowadays that are supposed to protect them from getting sued. Block lists tend to contain a wide array of IP address lists from entertainment companies. Chances are your company is in there as well, and nobody would touch your torrent if you seeded it from your TV network’s network.

Utilize file-sharing blogs.
The great thing about BitTorrent downloads is that they can be linked to from regular web pages. This has led to a whole subculture of file-sharing blogs that link to and sometimes review new torrents. Blogs like Rlslog.net have thousands of TV-addicted readers, so this is a great way to get your show in front of huge audience and really get your P2P distribution going.

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