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BitTorrent Inc. Offers Digital Release Bundle of ‘The Interview’ Film to Sony

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The days may be dark at Sony lately, but finally someone is stepping up to give the company a platform to release their highly controversial Seth Rogan film The Interview. It may be unconventional, but BitTorrent Inc. says their platform is perfect for Sony.

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After weeks of personal information being hacked and leaked by a group called the Guardians of Peace, alleged to be working on behalf of North Korea, Sony caved and pulled the movie. The decision was made after theater chains like Carmike Cinemas and AMC decided not to show the film amid terrorist threats.

Once Sony felt the financial pressure coupled with the personal pressure, they decided not to release The Interview and took criticism from President Obama, who said:

Sony is a corporation, it suffered significant damage, there were some threats against employees, I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that: yes, I think they made a mistake.

Also read: Sony Hack Drama Continues: Washington Wants North Korea to Compensate Sony for The Interview

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After taking the backlash, Sony announced that they were open to an online release if a service could provide them with one. Obviously, someone like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime stepping up to the plate would be a costly endeavor, but a major step forward for the online streaming community.

Unless any of these services is negotiating behind closed doors though, it doesn’t look like anyone is stepping forward. The fear of another costly company attack still looms overhead as the Guardians of Peace have not backed down from their attack on Sony.

BitTorrent Offering Their Services to Sony

BitTorrentAmidst the looming fear, BitTorrent Inc. told Venture Beat that their platform is open to Sony utilizing their technology to distribute the content.

“A trend has emerged among commentary in the days since Sony announced they would not release the motion picture, ‘The Interview.’ There have been calls for Sony to release the film online. And many have contacted us asking: Would they be able to release the movie using BitTorrent? Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes. BitTorrent Bundle is, in fact, the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorist threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.”

BitTorrent Sony Bundle

Utilizing BitTorrent Bundle would be a highly unconventional release, but legal. Sony would be able to publish their content through BitTorrent Inc. and charge their price. With terrorist attacks on theaters still considered legitimate, viewers could watch the content from their homes rather than risk their lives if they want to see the film.

The Plot Holes in the BitTorrent Offer

There is a hole in the plan though. Anyone who uses BitTorrent also knows how to use piracy sites, much like the late Pirate Bay. Within a matter of hours, The Interview would most likely be uploaded to any of these piracy services and people wouldn’t have to pay Sony at all, costing them possible millions.

Also read: In the Wake of The Pirate Bay Shutdown, Tribler Makes BitTorrent Completely Anonymous and Impossible to Compromise

Because of the threat of piracy soon after a digital download is made available, some people in the torrent community have even proposed the idea of releasing the film directly to pirate sites at a financial loss. The notion of uploading to piracy sites is something BitTorrent disagrees with entirely.

We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors. It’s also important to make the distinction that these piracy sites are not ‘torrent sites.’ They are piracy sites that are wrongfully exploiting torrent technology.

If Sony did make a deal with BitTorrent Inc., it would be a mighty stand in favor of the torrent community. BitTorrent believes it to be a strong note for free speech, but Sony risks a massive financial loss if they decide to allow the film for digital download anywhere.

Sony hasn’t released a statement of how they plan on releasing the film yet, but if they choose any platform other than the movie theaters it will be monumental; whether it be torrent, online streaming or simply video-on-demand.

Images from BitTorrent, Ken Wolter and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Clay Gillespie a writer and reporter for many different platforms across the tech industry. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Ball State University, and freelances for different clients in technology and cryptocurrency. For more information, visit his personal website, claygillespie.com.




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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Renioctib

    December 23, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Dear relatives, articles undated and without a writers name attached would (should) normally be treated as spam. Bittorrent is of course the ideal method of distribution, but most people ‘arn’t there yet’. Nevermind though.. “We have never given up on releasing The Interview, and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment.

  2. Rick Mac Gillis

    December 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Sony should get in touch with The Pirate Bay when they reopen. TPB is notorious for financially helping those who give away their products. A video game who first launched on TPB had the community’s support on Stream Green light and they made millions from that. If Sony accepts Bitcoin, they can pay their donation address in the torrent.

    If Sony makes it known that they’re teaming up with Bitcoin and Piracy activists, they stand to make more money from this movie than any other they’ve ever released, especially due to its controversial nature. It’ll show Sony in a massively positive and revolutionary light.

    • TokyoWomenAreAmazing

      December 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      I agree with the first paragraph, but the second part is just wrong. Single Sony movie releases have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars just in theaters. There is no way they will make that much through TPB. I agree they will make millions, and if they support Bitcoin by accepting it, I’m sure Bitcoin will support them in turn (I will certainly buy a copy if Bitcoin is accepted, and ironically, I would have been the first to download this on TPB for free if they went the traditional route). If they go the BitTorrent release route in general, I will buy a copy. I absolutely 100% believe this is the way all movies should be released. Movie theaters are so obsolete it’s disgusting.

    • Giulio Prisco

      December 25, 2014 at 6:40 am

      Rick, Sony is a large mainstream company, and therefore invested in the establishment. If they betray the establishment and team up with pirates, they will be ostracized and attacked by all their former allies. They will never do that.

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Walmart’s Flipkart Deal: The Dawn of a New Day in India

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It’s the dawn of a new day in India, particularly cross-border investment, thanks to Walmart’s groundbreaking controlling stake in Bengaluru-based e-commerce darling Flipkart. Walmart has tried for years to no avail to enter the South Asian country, until now.

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As a result of the deal, Walmart now has five seats on the online retailer’s board and is poised to play an influential role on the direction of the company — including a possible Flipkart IPO — setting the tone for further investments into the region in the interim.

It’s $16 billion deal values Flipkart at a whopping $21 billion and helps the Arkansas-based big-box retailer to compete more fiercely with Amazon, considering that the integration goes smoothly. Walmart has chosen a controversial target company to kick things off. Flipkart has been at the center of a saga ironically surrounding a previous cross-border investment.

Amazon is fighting back, however, as evidenced by it reaching into the belly of western India including Gujarat’s Bhuj, where some residents don’t even have online access. Amazon is taking an Etsy-like approach there with a focus on handmake craft items that are unique to this corner of the world.

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No doubt corporations around the world have it on their radar as a possible harbinger of more cross-border investment activity to unfold in the region.

Gopal Jain of Mumbai-based private equity firm Gaja Capital told The Financial Times: “India continues to be perceived in global boardrooms as a tough place to do business in.” But he also said that as a result of this deal, global executives have gone from “being on the heels to being on the toes.”

India’s Cross-Border Investment

The overhaul of India’s international investment has been two decades in the making. And while India Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his administration has opened the doors to foreign investment, there still hasn’t been much evidence of that. For instance, cross-border M&A into India totaled $14.5 billion last year, lagging the performance of other developing countries including Brazil and China by as much as 50%, as per Dealogic data cited in the FT.

Indeed, the last time that a deal of anything close to the size of Walmart’s Flipkart acquisition was more than a decade ago in the telecom space when Vodafone took a majority position in Hutchison Essar. That deal left a sour taste in the mouths of would-be pursuers given hostile tax environment in which Vodafone was forced to operate.

Prime Minister Modi has the opportunity to prove to the rest of the world that India indeed is open for investment. If the Walmart deal can somehow help to shake the stigma that is attached to foreign investment into India, as evidenced by the “tax terrorism” that’s been attached with the region, it, in fact, could reflect the dawn of a new day for cross-border M&A in India.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 7 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. Full disclosure, she's invested in bitcoin.




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Netflix Shares Surge After Hours amid Record Growth in Subscriptions

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Netlix Inc. (NFLX) has proved it can raise prices and still attract a record number of new users. The Los Gatos, California-based streaming service added 7.41 million customers in the first quarter, smashing analysts’ forecasts by about 1.7 million.

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Netflix Earnings

In addition to adding a record number of subscribers, Netflix posted per-share earnings of 64 cents on revenue of $3.7 billion. Analysts in a consensus estimate called for earnings of 64 cents per share on sales of $3.69 billion.

International streaming dominated subscription growth with a net gain of 5.46 million new users. Europe and Latin America were largely responsible for the better than expected growth. U.S. additions totaled 1.96 million.

Netflix succeeded in adding new subscribers even as it hiked the price of its streaming service, a sign the company was delivering desirable content. In addition tot he 700 titles planned for release this year, the company is investing billions into original content. Moving to in-house production will allow Netflix to save money by avoiding hefty markups charged by rival studios.

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After falling 1.2% on Monday, share prices spiked 5.2% in after-hours trading. At $323.70 per share, the company should surpass $140 billion in market cap at the start of trading on Tuesday. That’s a 600% increase since 2014.

Share prices are recovering after a difficult stretch for so-called FAANG stocks, an abbreviation that represents Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet. FAANG investments lost more than $320 billion over a three-week stretch ending Apr. 2.

At the close:

Dominance of Over-the-Top Content

Netfix has established a dominant position in the market for over-the-top content, or OTT, which generally refers to internet-based streaming services. Cord cutters in the U.S. market alone topped 22 million between 2016 and 2017, bringing the total number of consumers without pay TV to about 57 million.

High-speed internet is not only disrupting traditional media, it is destroying it. This extends far beyond the entertainment segment to also include broadcast news and other mainstream media outlets.

OTT content could be worth $62 billion by 2020, putting companies like Netflix at the top of the heap for investors looking for promising plays during the tail end of the bull market.

The success of Netflix has spawned several paid and free alternatives, including emerging juggernauts like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV. Traditional media companies like HBO have also adopted the subscription streaming model.

As cord-cutting continues, price elasticity of demand could grow for streaming services. In other words, companies can charge more for their service without fear of lost revenue. That was certainly the case with Netflix during the past quarter.

 

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 417 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Revolut: Apps For Cryptocurrencies

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For the last few months, it seems like we have been transfixed in the collapse of crypto prices, trying to figure out what is going to cause the next move up.  The answer is not easy to find. So I thought it might be an interesting change of pace to look at a fintech company that is participating in the crypto movement but has a few other cool things going as well.

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This may not fatten your investment account immediately but it should take your mind off bitcoin for a few minutes.  After that, who knows.

Big Valuation

Revolut is a UK based payments company in business since July 2015.  Last summer Revolut founders Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko raised over $66 million in VC funding and another $23 million from crowdfunding.  Yes, the Crypto buzz had something to do with their success. But there is quite a bit more.

Storonsky must be pretty good with a pitch deck considering the implied $200-$400 million valuation of the company.  He and his partner have deep experience in the global payments business. Nikolay spent years as a currency trader with Credit Suisse so he understands the absurd level of fees charged by the current system.

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The technical wizardry, however, rests with his partner Yatsenko. Vlad spent over ten years building financial systems for major Wall Street investment banks.  He serves as the company’s CTO.

Crypto Link: An Interesting Approach

According to company literature, the Revolut app allows customers to open a current account in under a minute, and includes a prepaid contactless MasterCard debit card.  So far there is nothing unusual about Revolut. But wait, there’s more.

The firm launched personal international bank account numbers (IBANs) across Europe just recently, and plans to integrate virtual currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin in the future.  This includes plans to add a wealth of new services in the coming months from the integration of cryptocurrency to pay-as-you-go travel insurance at the tap of a button.

Even before this gets accomplished, Revolut offers a currency exchange with 25 different currencies and a peer-to-peer payments service.  As Storonsky tells his story, “ . . . what we are demonstrating goes beyond banking.”

The one question investors are raising is how all these wonderful free services will be monetized.  An announcement this week should provide at least some answers.

CNP Fraud Prevention

Revolut has a new product aimed at tackling online card fraud. The mobile-only bank unveiled a virtual card that wipes a user’s card details and introduces new details each time they make a payment.

When people make an online payment, they enter card details and most often online retailers hold onto the data. This is where fraudsters have a field day.

In the trade it is known as Card Not Present (CNP) fraud.  As online shopping has increased steadily, CNP fraud has risen exponentially – something like 50% annually.

What happens is, every time you make a transaction, Revolut software deletes the card details so it’s impossible to make any transaction after that.  Just in case you were wondering, all the data remains in the browser of the customer. So the quality of customer service is not sacrificed.

Full Disclosure  

Revolut is not your typical ICO (i.e., all whitepaper and no product).  It is not fueled by any cryptocurrency or token. I first came across Revolut following their VC round last year and was impressed with the valuation, background of the founders and the business model.  I have no vested interest in the company. Someday the VC will want to cash out most likely through an IPO. So Revolut is a name you will want to keep track of.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 76 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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