BitTorrent Launches Live Streaming News Network

July 13, 2016, 5:00 PM UTC
Courtesy of BitTorrent

BitTorrent, a streaming-technology company more closely associated with file-sharing than journalism, announced on Wednesday that it is launching a live-streaming TV news network that the company says will be an “informed, independent voice on the news.”

The new network will go live on July 18 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It is being led by news director Harrison Bohrman, a former producer with Vice’s TV network Viceland and before that a writer and producer with CNN, who was recently hired by BitTorrent.

In addition to Bohrman, the company says its team on the ground for the political conventions will include several former reporters and producers from Al Jazeera America, including former chief political correspondent Michael Shure, reporter James Reinl, and producer Rita Chan. Al Jazeera America shut down earlier this year.

“Television news has been stagnating for some time,” Erik Schwartz, vice president of media for BitTorrent, said in a statement. “It’s having trouble appealing to a generation that grew up online. We are using superior data and tools and the Silicon Valley ethos of lean startup to build a nimble news organization that will learn quickly from user behavior.”

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The company says its convention coverage will include play-by-play commentary on all developments and speeches, along with guest commentary, and that it will provide 10 to 12 hours of live coverage every day, starting with 2 hours of live programming in the morning.

“We are marrying the Internet’s principles of open access to information with society’s need for unfetteredand unfilteredaccess to news,” said Jeremy Johnson, co-CEO of BitTorrent.

The company, whose main claim to fame is a peer-to-peer file-sharing technology that makes it easy to distribute and download large files, launched a streaming video service called BitTorrent Live in May that is available on the Apple TV.

In addition to the company’s news channel, the video service includes alternative networks and content providers such as Clubbing TV, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV, and TWiT. BitTorrent says its P2P technology allows it to scale faster and distribute content more easily than traditional TV companies.