That Start Up Show. 

An Australian variety show created for the internet is released today on BitTorrent Bundle in an experiment to test consumers’ willingness to pay for content.

The 6-episode That Start Up Show features budding entrepreneurs filmed in front of an audience at the Savoy Tavern in Melbourne, mixed with pre-recorded footage.

The first two pilot episodes are being offered free as an enticement to persuade users to fork out $US2.99 to buy the series. The producers will get 90% of the revenues.

Launched in 2013, the direct-to-fan publishing platform is used by more than 30,000 creators, mostly in the fields of music and documentaries, and has a global reach of 170 million people.

“It’s a bit of an experiment as we try out a new avenue for content creators,” the show’s creator, co-producer and showrunner Anna Reeves tells IF.

Hosted by Dan Ilic (Studio Ten, Can of Worms, Hungry Beast) the show explores the ups and downs of being a start-up intermixed with comic sketches, interviews and start-up pitches.

The two pilots were released on YouTube last August and had more than 125,000 views. However the producers found themselves homeless when YouTube changed its policy, outlawing sponsors from appearing in the pre-roll credits.

Then they heard BitTorrent Bundle was starting to engage with filmmakers and video producers, most notably when a deal was struck with BBC Worldwide to release a digital box-set of 10 episodes of Doctor Who on the file-sharing platform.

That Start Up Show’s co-producer Ahmed Salama was the executive producer of cult horror movie The Tunnel, which was the the first feature to be distributed via BitTorrent, with more than 15 million free downloads.

The producers say theirs is the first Australian online show to premiere exclusively on BitTorrent.

A seventh episode featuring a pitching competition in which the prize is a mentored trip to Silicon Valley to meet global players who can help make his or her start-up dream a reality will be filmed soon.

Illustrating the platform’s potential, Thom Yorke’s 2014 album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes has been downloaded more than 4.5 million times at $US6 a pop.

Straith Schreder, BitTorrent’s San Francisco-based director of content strategy, said: “BitTorrent Bundle was built to support creativity: our goal is to share the stories of emerging artists and innovators; to invite fans into the invention process.

“That Start Up Show provides an original and compelling look into innovation culture — the culture that moves and connects our global user base.”

The producers are so confident about the initiative they are preparing a second series.


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