Norwegian State TV Launches BitTorrent Tracker

The government-owned Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has set up its very own BitTorrent tracker to distribute their TV-shows. After a successful test last year they plan to release more DRM-free TV-shows via BitTorrent, using the same tracker software currently in use at The Pirate Bay.

For its tracker, NRK has chosen the beerware licensed Opentracker software currently favored by The Pirate Bay. One of the reasons NRK set up their own tracker is so they can gather more statistics on their viewers downloading habits.

“With our own tracker we will get better statistics and gather important data about how this technology works. And as we did with our early tests we’ll also try to share the knowledge as we grow this service,” NRK’s Eirik Solheim writes in an article announcing the tracker.

The decision to go with BitTorrent was an easy one according to the broadcaster, as tests with traditional downloads crushed their servers. BitTorrent on the other had allows them to distribute their shows to millions of people without having to invest in extra bandwidth or hardware.

“This type of distribution is reliable, cheap and popular with our audience,” Solheim told TorrentFreak. “The main problem is the rights issues. We hope to be able to make television shows with a creative commons license in the future. That will make it easier for us to allow full freedom for our audience,” He added.

NRK understands that the traditional distribution methods are changing, and that their viewers want to consume television shows wherever and whenever they want. The way people consume music and video has changed, and NRK doesn’t want to fall behind.

“It is important for us to start experimenting with new distribution methods. We don’t want to do like the music industry. Running around thinking that people will keep driving down to a record store when they can have the content delivered with the push of a button at home,” Eirik Solheim said in an interview last year.

It is great to see traditional broadcasting companies starting to experiment with BitTorrent and we hope that many others will follow. Making TV-shows available online will only increase the viewership, and with BitTorrent it can be done relatively cheaply too.

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