BitTorrent takes on cable with live news network on Apple TV and OS X

BitTorrent News aims to bring an "independent voice" to election coverage, starting with the Republican National Convention.

We’re at the point in the election cycle where everyone is a little tired of cable TV’s talking heads analyzing every move presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make. BitTorrent is wading into the chaos, offering what the peer-to-peer protocol company calls a “welcome independent voice” in the form of a live-streaming news channel. Beginning July 18 at the Republic National Convention, BitTorrent News will stream live from Cleveland on the BitTorrent Live app for Apple TV and OS X.

Former CNN and Vice producer Harrison Bohrman will be leading the BitTorrent News team, which includes a handful of former Al Jazeera America journalists and political science professor Doc Stodden. The journalists and commentators will be covering RNC news as it unfolds for 10 to 12 hours a day, first for two hours in the morning and then picking up again at 2 p.m. for evening coverage throughout the convention.

BitTorrent News isn’t a one-time effort. The team will continue to cover the lead-up to the election after the convention ends, and also plans to expand its coverage to areas outside of politics. The company said it’s tapping athletes from alternative sports to “tell their stories directly” to viewers, starting with a segment on motocross racer Sara Price.

BitTorrent starting testing the news waters back in February, when the company partnered with independent news organization OTT News to broadcast from the New Hampshire primary using BitTorrent’s torrent-powered live-streaming technology.

The story behind the story: BitTorrent is taking an unconventional approach to building a 21st century media company. After developing the peer-to-peer protocol that gave BitTorrent its name, the company fought its reputation as a piracy enabler by giving artists tools to share and/or sell their work. That led to the creation of BitTorrent Now, a content discovery and distribution platform. Now the company is wading into news. We’ll be tuning in on July 18 to see how BitTorrent’s indie approach compares to the traditional cable networks and to live-streaming convention coverage on Twitter.

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Caitlin McGarry
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