BitTorrent Live, a virtual MVPD-like service that was shut down in 2017, is coming back as a social livestreaming app based on a decentralized blockchain architecture.
BitTorrent Live, which is currently accepting signups for a beta trial, said it will allow users to “create live video content, connect with people who share the same passions, earn money by expressing your creativity and connect with friends all around the world.”
That direction is vastly different than the original plan for BitTorrent Live. In 2016, the company showed off BitTorrent Live at the INTX show and described it as a multichannel, live and linear video streaming platform spanning news, sports, music, tech, and youth culture. The service at that point had a free tier of streaming channels and promised to add subscription-based, ad-supported, and pay-per-view premium tiers.
In 2017, one year after shutting down its AVOD service BitTorrent Now and firing both CEOs, BitTorrent pulled the plug on BitTorrent Live. According to Variety, the company tried and failed to raise enough funds to spin off BitTorrent Live as a separate company.
Now BitTorrent Live is coming back and though the service will be drastically different than it was in its original incarnation, VentureBeat points out that the tech platform behind it remains mostly the same.
BitTorrent Live will still be using the same peer-to-peer technology that the company previously said would allow for large audiences to view live video with sub-10-second latency and without the need for CDNs or preprovisioning.
“Last year Bob Bowman (head of MLBAM) told Walt Mossberg in regards to the difficulty of large scale live video streaming of sports, declaring, ‘Is that a business model or is that a stunt? I don’t know?’ Well, BitTorrent Live is the platform that can turn large scale live streaming into a business model,” Erik Schwartz, vice president of media for BitTorrent Live, said back in 2016.
Of course, since that time several vMVPDs including Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, fubo TV and Hulu with Live TV have emerged.