BitTorrent president and co-founder Ashwin Navin said in an interview yesterday that third-party products like the recently announced ‘Netgear Entertainment Box’, together with the upcoming BitTorrent Video Store, have the potential to knock out competitive products that Apple and Microsoft are currently developing.
However, BitTorrent Inc’s greatest competitors are not Microsoft or Apple, but BitTorrent sites like Torrentspy, mininova, and The Pirate Bay. Navin, once referred to as the “pirate king”, understands this and said in the MarketWatch interview, “We’re going into competition with piracy next month. And if we’re not competing effectively with piracy, we’re not going to win.”
If BitTorrent Inc really plans to compete with the pirates, the pricing of the content should be reasonable, the catalogue extensive, and all without DRM. If they can meet these ends they might have a good chance to convert some of the present BitTorrent users. Navin says that he hopes that BitTorrent users, all of whom he calls “members”, find the BitTorrent store a better experience than piracy.
The BitTorrent store will be launched next month, and videos will be ‘protected’ by Windows DRM. Ironically, Navin said on a panel at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that DRM inspires people to pirate content. So they have to find a way to convince their media partners to remove the DRM first, if they really want to compete with piracy. Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent and co-founder of BitTorrent Inc, told us last week, “Right now most of our content partners are insisting on DRM for the content we’re making available. It’s causing an awful lot of headaches, but we’re trying to minimize the impact on user experience and support”
The BitTorrent Video Store will be filled with movies and TV shows from Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, G4, Kadokawa Pictures USA, Lionsgate, MTV Networks (Comedy Central, MTV etc.), Palm Pictures and many other mainstream and independent content providers. In total there will be over 10,000 titles listed in their store, from classic TV shows to the latest blockbusters. According to Navin, this will make the BitTorrent store the biggest online video store on the Internet.
Ashwin Navin on the Netgear Entertainment Box, and the upcoming video store.