BitTorrent platform uTorrent is to become ad-supported, to find "that difficult balance between keeping our lights on and providing a positive user experience,” they explain.
The change was made public in a forum post last Wednesday (August 9) which announced that “sponsored torrents” will be added for all users in upcoming changes to the service.
This is the first time that advertisers will be able to reach millions of uTorrent users directly from within the client itself. Until now nearly all revenue came from the toolbar which users can install optionally when uTorrent is first downloaded.
The sponsored torrents will appear on top of the list of downloads and will be used to promote content from advertisers. They can’t be “turned off,” but users have the option to click away individual ads.
BitTorrent inc. said: “This new build will display a featured torrent at the top of your torrent list. This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content. We are working towards bringing you offers that are relevant to you.
“This means films, games, music, software…basically anything that you will find interesting. We may not get it right on the first try but we will continue to improve our efforts based on your feedback,”
Aside from ads the sponsored torrents will also be used to inform users about important updates and to promote artists.
According to reports from TorrentFreak, BitTorrent’s annual revenue is estimated at somewhere between $15 and $20 million and the company is backed by millions in venture capital.
With the new “sponsored torrents” the company could possibly bring in millions of added revenue and grow even further.
In a similar vain, BitTorrent has announced a number of partnerships with the music industry that will see artists gain revenue via downloads from the peer-to-peer platform in an attempt to 'monestise the torrent ecosystem'. The latest BitTorrent deal was done last month with DJ Shadow.