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BitTorrent CEO: Web Movies, Packaged Media Will Coexist

13 Jul, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

At Tuesday's panel discussion on digital distribution, Ashwin Navin, co-founder and president of file-sharing service BitTorrent.com, navigated a tightrope between packaged media and digital distribution.HMR: Is there a future for packaged media?

Navin: Oh, yeah. There is always a future for offline retail. There will be a lot of hybrid services that allow people to [get] packaged media and the downloadable content.

The collector mentality is something that has driven the DVD business and the video business for a long time, and that is going to continue.

HMR: You are working with the studios to present a viable and secure file-sharing service. How does that distribution model affect the future of packaged media?

Navin: I think there is going to be a big audience for people who want to get their media at home both as a rental and a purchase. Burnable retail is going to be a growth sector over the next few years. And it is a user base that isn't going to offline retail today, at least in the early stages. Unfortunately, it is users who are turning to unlicensed downloads because it is the only way they can get their entertainment.

HMR: While DVD is portable, the evolution of media via portable devices would seem to be leaving the optical disc behind.

Navin: It is a big shortcoming of physical goods because it is painful to lug around your DVD collection. For those who want their media on the go, they will want it in a digital format. But that doesn't mean they can't take something that is physical and also have an ancillary digital service.

HMR: So digital distribution and packaged media can coexist?

Navin: They can, particularly because there is no standard for CSS protection on burned media and that is keeping burnability on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. So physical delivery will persist.

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