BitTorrent discovering what Pirate Bay already knew. But with more money comes more responsibility…
With well over 125 million active users a month uTorrent is by far the most used BitTorrent client. Because of its success the software is also the main source of revenue for San Francisco based parent company BitTorrent Inc. It is estimated that the company currently generates between $15 and $20 million in annual revenue but this figure is expected to rise after it was quietly announced that uTorrent will become ad-supported.
After nearly seven years 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. However, BitTorrent Inc. sees the need to experiment with other revenue sources with “sponsored torrents” being added for all users in an upcoming release.
“You are all very familiar with how we have paid the bills so far. These new changes mark our next step towards finding that difficult balance between keeping our lights on and providing a positive user experience,” they explain.
The company explains that aside from ads the sponsored torrents will also be used to inform users about important updates and to promote artists.
BitTorrent previously informed TorrentFreak that people in different geographical locations will see different content. This means that uTorrent will use your IP-address to lookup where you are. Other than that, the company says that users’ privacy is guaranteed.
For BitTorrent Inc. the main motivation to add sponsored torrents is to generate extra revenue. The company added dozens of employees to its payroll in recent years, and these all have to be compensated.
However, a person close to the company told TorrentFreak that even without the uTorrent ads the company is doing very well. Current annual revenue is estimated at somewhere between $15 and $20 million and the company is backed by millions in venture capital.
With “sponsored torrents” BitTorrent Inc could possibly bring in millions of added revenue and grow even further.
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