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Transmission Films revs up P2P site

Rent or download digital pix with indie focus

Peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa that enable music and movie piracy may be stuck in never-ending litigation, but a new company is hoping to show independent filmmakers that P2P can be their friend.

New York-based Transmission Films has launched a Web site that offers a small library of indie and foreign films for digital rental or download. Company uses P2P technology from Edgeburst to distribute its films, significantly lowering costs compared with downloads from servers. In addition, much like the Altnet service on Kazaa, Transmission’s movies can be securely downloaded from the Overnet P2P network.

Users can rent films for five days for $1.99, permanently download them for $9.99 or gain access to all the films on the site for a month for $4.99. After recouping costs, company splits revenue with the pics’ owners.

Transmission offers about 100 films it acquired from distributors such as Northern Arts Entertainment, directly from filmmakers and from public domain libraries. While sites such as CinemaNow or the studio joint venture MovieLink offer a wide range of product, execs at Transmission hope to carefully curate the library in order to draw a niche aud of indie aficionados and convince independent producers and distribs to offer their films.

“We think we’re a great outlet for films that have done the festival circuit but didn’t get a bite,” said co-prexy Richard Matson. “After working with us, filmmakers can go to distributors and use the number of downloads to prove there is an audience for their movie. And for distributors that have already sold theatrical and television rights, we can be an additional revenue stream.”

One film offered during Transmission’s beta testing, German pic “The Wedding Cow,” has already received a theatrical distribution deal.