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BitTorrent Is Looking to Launch a TV News Network (EXCLUSIVE)

BitTorrent is considering the launch of a TV news network for its live streaming service in time for the election this fall, Variety has learned. The San Francisco-based company is currently looking to hire a news director tasked with building out and running a team of journalists to launch “BitTorrent News.”

“If you had a blank slate to start a live-streaming TV news network, what would you build,” a recently published job posting asks. “BitTorrent has recently launched a live video streaming platform. Now we need a team to create a tent-pole live news channel to run on it.”

A BitTorrent spokesperson declined to comment on the specifics of this effort, and instead told Variety: “We have a lot of exciting initiatives focused on media across all of our platforms. This includes on-demand entertainment as well as live programming.”

BitTorrent  launched a P2P-powered live video service called BitTorrent Live in May. BitTorrent Live carries a number of niche channels, including Clubbing TV, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV and TWiT. BitTorrent Live VP of Media Erik Schwartz told Variety at the time that the goal of these efforts was to “build a virtual MVPD,” and add more premium programming and even subscription networks over time.

BitTorrent hasn’t much talked about its own efforts to create programming for the platform yet, but the company has plans to build out a Los Angeles-based office and production space. BitTorrent also briefly experimented with producing its own news content around the primaries earlier this year.

This time around, the company’s ambitions look quite a bit bigger. BitTorrent’s news director will “hire a team of San Francisco based journalists and presenters, and create and maintain a worldwide network of stringers,” according to the job description.

Last week, BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen seemed to get involved in recruiting talent for the news operation as well when he looked on Twitter for a prediction market expert “for a news program.”

However, don’t expect BitTorrent to launch a newsroom that would compete with the likes of CNN and MSNBC any time soon. “We’re building a lean team to start, and early on we expect everyone will wear many hats,” the job posting reads. The network may also not broadcast 24/7, but instead focus its coverage on breaking news events, including “political campaigns, sporting events, tech and cultural events.”

BitTorrent’s plans for a news network come on the heels of a restructuring that aims to refocus the company on the media business. Last week, BitTorrent announced the spin-off of its enterprise file sharing tool Sync into a new company called Resilio, which is led by BitTorrent’s former CEO Eric Klinker. Variety first reported about the impending spin-off earlier this month.


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