In BitTorrent's TV Show, People In The Dystopian Future Use BitTorrent

Illustration for article titled In BitTorrents TV Show, People In The Dystopian Future Use BitTorrent

Even as Netflix, Yahoo and YouTube are creating original science fiction series, BitTorrent is trying a new model: crowdfunding a futuristic miniseries by asking 250,000 people to pay $9.95 each. Children of the Machine takes place in a future dystopia, where people still use BitTorrent.

Here's the official synopsis for Children of the Machine, from the New York Times:

The story line, about teenagers in a near-future America ravaged by global warming and gripped by the rebellion of its own increasingly intelligent technology, is specifically tailored to young, technologically knowledgeable BitTorrent users.

Illustration for article titled In BitTorrents TV Show, People In The Dystopian Future Use BitTorrent

And apparently Torrents are featured in this dystopian near-future. "We used the torrents," co-writer Marc Weber, an experienced independent film producer, tells the Times. "We integrated some of their software in our plot." This isn't "bad product placement," BitTorrent's Chief Content Officer Matt Mason tells Motherboard. "That wasn't our idea."

The basic idea for BitTorrent's crowdfunding doesn't sound like a bad one — instead of having many tiers, or levels of support, there's a flat payment of $9.95. BitTorrent will release the first episode of Children of the Machine, co-written by Bridge to Terabithia writer Jeff Stockwell, online for free in December. And if that pilot (which will cost $1 million to make) spurs enough interest and 250,000 people want to pony up, then BitTorrent will make the other seven episodes.

Weber says this could be a proof of concept for future content creators: "We want to build community while we are shooting and producing the pilot," and after that, "there's nothing to stop a hundred other people uploading all kinds of pilots, then asking for money." But it's by no means certain that a lot of people, who use BitTorrent to get free content, will want to pony up $10 just for one miniseries. [via Motherboard]


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Erik Sofge

There's a quick scene in William Gibson's Virtual Light, where a younger character is befuddled by an older guy's griping about the fact that media content is now (in the future) indistinguishable from commercials. This is nonsense to her, since for as long as she's been old enough to notice, the two have always been the same.

Another feather for your cap, Mr. Gibson.

Also: Hey BitTorrent, don't ask people to pay $10 for your goddamn product placement vehicle.