The BBC has just made the groundbreaking decision to release Doctor Who on BitTorrent as a legal download. This is fantastic news for fans worldwide and will hopefully pave the way for more legal BBC content via BitTorrent in the future.
In fact, this is surely a win for everybody involved.
While BitTorrent is commonly known for the illegal content available to download, it is trying to legitimize itself by offering legal bundles, both paid and unpaid. The addition of legal BBC content to the paid BitTorrent bundles is an incredible boon for them, as more people will become aware of the legal content available via torrents.
Doctor Who Fans Win
There are Doctor Who fans located all around the world, and many of them do not have access to timely TV broadcasts of their favorite show. By putting the content on BitTorrent, any fan with Internet access will be able to pay a small fee and download the whole bundle… legally.
People downloading the Doctor Who bundle also have the pleasure of knowing the money is going back to the BBC for the purpose of making more great content, and that the files they’ve downloaded will be of high quality. This cannot be said of other ways of watching BBC content, including the illegal methods of obtaining Doctor Who, such as paying for a VPN so you can use iPlayer (bypassing the georestrictions), and torrenting illegal files of the show.
It’s also much easier for Doctor Who fans to get the content they want, in a format they want, ready for storing on their media server and watching via XBMC (now Kodi), Plex or something similar. With many Doctor Who fans being young, tech-savvy types, this is important.
The BBC Wins
Thanks to this initiative to sell bundles via BitTorrent, the BBC will finally be able to get funds from fans worldwide for a product they love. I have often said I would love to pay the BBC my hard-earned money for their content, and now it’s possible. In an interview with The Guardian, Nick Coulter, BBC’s head of digital, said that this was a core reason behind the decision.
“The technology is very interesting and used in lots of different ways, but for us what’s particularly appealing is that the BitTorrent clients have a huge global reach, and that’s something we don’t necessarily have. We don’t have routes to market in every single market in the world, so it seemed like something worth exploring.” — Nick Coulter, BBC.
All Fans Everywhere Win
The most important thing to note here is that this is a major TV producer trying out a new way of delivering content for a fee. It’s a method that transcends international borders, avoids the costs of producing and delivering physical goods, and can be put on the market very quickly. If the experiment goes well, not only will the BBC consider delivering more content via BitTorrent, but other major television and movie producers may consider it as well.
Where Do I Get the Doctor Who Bundle?
Head over to BitTorrent’s bundle gallery to get your copy of A Decade Of The Doctor for $12. It’s 7.6 GB with 21 files, two of which can be downloaded for free: an introduction from Peter Capaldi and a 10 minute preview of the episode Rose.
The premium content includes some of the best episodes of the last decade: Rose, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink, The End Of Time (Parts 1 & 2), The Vampires Of Venice, The Doctor’s Wife, The Rings Of Akhaten, The Day Of The Doctor (50th Anniversary Episode), and Listen. It also includes a documentary called Doctor Who: Earth Conquest – The World Tour and introductions for each episode from Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, who helped choose the bundle content.
Julia Kenyon, the BBC Worldwide’s director of drama brands, told The Guardian that this is part of a move to combat online piracy by making the corporation’s shows accessible to as many people as possible.
“Our entire mission is to get content out legitimately to as many fans as we can around the world. We’re in a lot of territories, but we’re not everywhere, and not everybody has access to paid-for TV” — Julia Kenyon, BBC.
What Do You Think of the Doctor Who BitTorrent Bundle?
You have no doubt got strong opinions on this Doctor Who BitTorrent bundle, so we would love to hear them. Do you think it represents value for money? Should the BBC release seasons of the show in their entirety? What shows should be next? And do you think this will catch on with other big TV and movie producers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.