BitTorrent Says Its Promotional Bundles Saw 60M Downloads In 2013

BitTorrent just published a blog post recapping its past year, particular the success it has seen with BitTorrent Bundles.

Those Bundles are basically promotional packages of content that creators or content companies share. For example, to promote the iTunes release of the director’s cut of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing, its makers released a BitTorrent Bundle last month that included videos, essays, and photos tied to the movie.

BitTorrent says The Act of Killing Bundle was downloaded 2.3 million times, and that its Bundles (a program that only launched in May) were downloaded 60 million times. The most popular Bundle was the one for Moby’s latest album innocents, which was downloaded 8.9 million times. Of those who downloaded it, 419,000 signed up for Moby’s email list and 130,000 went from the Bundle to the album on iTunes. Other popular Bundles include one for the show Epic Meal Time (8.6 million downloads) and another for the DJ Kaskade (4.1 million downloads).

How does that compare to pirated downloads? Well, TorrentFreak recently said that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the most pirated film of 2013, with 8.4 million downloads — though those numbers don’t include online streaming and cyberlocker downloads, so “the total piracy numbers will therefore be significantly higher.” (By the way, this year also saw BitTorrent trying to distance itself in the public’s perception with piracy.)

In the blog post, Vice President of Marketing Matt Mason argues that these numbers show a broader shift towards “viral content”:

This creative shift is massive. And so are the implications. Because viral content works differently from static content. Viral content is by definition content in motion. It has to travel. If your storefront, ad model and social strategy isn’t embedded into your file, you’re missing a revenue opportunity.

And viral content is by definition experiential. As The New Inquiry’s Rob Horning notes in a recent essay, the point of virality is participation in the emotion of the story, and participation in its popularity. This requires a different kind of creative good. What you make has to be a call to action: kinetic, visual, detachable.

As for what 2014 holds, Mason says that we’ll see Bundles with “pay gates, social gates, artist analytics tools, and more.”