We’ve been predicting the end of the Network television since the earliest days of high-speed internet access. Now, some content producers are starting to realize they don’t need the airwaves for access either:

Mininova Closes Distribution Deal for TV-Show | TorrentFreak
The “old media” is slowly realizing that BitTorrent is a great distribution platform, and above all, an excellent marketing tool. Today, The Red Band Film Company and Mininova announce the first official deal to distribute a TV-show on the popular BitTorrent site.

The immense popularity of TV-shows on BitTorrent doesn’t go unnoticed, not even to TV-producers. Several TV-production companies already leaked their pilots on BitTorrent, but Red Band and Mininova take it one step further.

Mininova and Red Band made a distribution deal for the upcoming TV-show Pariah Island, a new comedy series which parodies reality TV shows like “Survivor” or “Pirate Master”. Although Red Band can’t be compared to billion dollar production studios such as 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros., it is a sign that times are changing and that TV-producers are looking for alternative distribution channels.

“We at Red Band recognize that downloading sites such as Mininova are a distribution medium, one which can be partnered with in a true participatory arrangement,” says the Red Band production team.

The Red Band team adds: “With this deal, Mininova gets overnight credibility as a partner of content producers, thereby disproving the notion that such sites are “pirates” seeking only to break copyrights. Mininova gets producer credit on Pariah Island, and their logo will eventually appear on Pariah Island. In exchange, Pariah Island gets advertising space and other promotional activities on Mininova.org.”

Erik, one of the founders of Mininova told TorrentFreak that the partnership will show that Mininova is more than a venue for pirated material, and hopes that more production companies will choose Mininova as a distribution platform in the future…

Would David Chase launch the Sopranos on BitTorrent? Probably not, unless he had major sponsorship (yes, we’re headed back to the day of “Soap Operas”- sponsor driven programming). Apple’s iTunes store is a more likely outlet, but this space is still in a shoot-out phase with Amazon, the networks and the billion pound Google gorilla in the corner.

If there is one player who dropped the ball- it was TiVo who had first mover opportunity- by having a user profile, a hard drive to store programs but no true Internet connection until recently. With the iPhone being Time’s gadget of the year, don’t count Apple out as becoming the leader in IPTV- and marketing targeting.

The end of the Network is near, we just don’t know exactly how the story will end.

Jan 2018 update : Mininova flamed out in April of 2017. However, there are plenty of new ways to distribute your own content- and be paid. YouTube has turned even mediocre content providers into viable businesses.