Warner Bros. just announced a deal to distribute their movie and telelvision content via the file sharing platform Bit Torrent.
Bit Torrent is the heir to the Napster crown, a distributed p2p platform that people all over the world use to download content. Its unique architecture means it can handle huge files and thus is great for film content [Bit Torrent transfers have been estimated to make up 1/3 of all internet traffic].
While this seems like the movie studio moving in the right direction, developing a legal alternative before their entire business model comes under threat, they are still locking the content into a digital rights management [DRM] solution.
I recently saw Cory Doctrow [of Boing Boing] speak about DRM. He makes a compelling argument that DRM is intrinsically bad for the consumer - it turns technology into something that attempts to control its users.
Ultimately, honest users are the only ones affected by DRM, as they elect to buy the content. Pirates will never encounter the DRM in the first place. You can download the whole talk here.
The problem is that the studio is applying an anlogue model to the digital. In the connected world Piracy is Good. Instead of thinking about selling content and restricting access, think of a free broadcast model, where consumers select content they want.
If an advertiser provided the official version of the content, to be shared, with a little logo instead of those channel idents you get on a broadcast stream, think of the eyeballs, without any distribution costs.
That's content sponsorship for the connected generation.