Miro Internet TV Blog

Democracy Now! Saves $1,000 a month with bittorrent

February 22nd, 2008 by Dean Jansen

In preparing for Monday’s public FCC hearing, I decided to do a bit of research into how much money an organization can save by using bittorrent. It turns out that the savings are pretty amazing!

As you will see Democracy Now! has a fixed cost of roughly $200 per month (the service is donated) for distributing their news program at full resolution. Compare that to a bill for serving direct HTTP downloads using Amazon’s S3 service, which would currently sit at roughly $1200 per month and would increase with viewership.


Arriving at these numbers began with an email to Democracy Now!’s resident hacker, Mike Castleman. Based on the information he sent me, I calculated the following:

Current Traffic of Full-Res Video @ Democracy Now!

  • Viewers/Downloaders per Day: 400-1000
  • Average Video Size: 440 MB
  • Total Bandwidth Transfer per Month: 7-8 Terabytes

As for the cost, they priced out a dedicated server for bittorrent delivery and found that it would be about $200 per month (someone donated the service in the mean time). I decided to compare this to Amazon’s S3 hosting and delivery service, which would be a pretty standard choice for an organization of this size.

Cost: HTTP

  • Total Bandwidth Transfer per Month: 7-8 Terabytes
  • Price per Gigabyte of Transfer (@ < 10 Terabytes): 18 cents
  • Monthly Cost for Amazon S3: $1100 – $1500 (increasing with viewership)

Cost: Bittorrent

  • Total Bandwidth Transfer per Month: irrelevant
  • Monthly Cost for Bittorrent Server: $200 (doesn’t increase with viewership)

Interesting Note: Amazon S3 supports the bittorrent protocol. In the right situation, this can serve as a great solution for saving money on bandwidth.

7 Responses to “Democracy Now! Saves $1,000 a month with bittorrent”

  1. [...] There are some side issues here, but a big part of it is peer to peer. Which brings me to this story from today that online video distributors can save a lot of money by using peer to peer protocols [...]

  2. [...] The Miro journal fresh reported that Democracy Now is action 1000 bucks per period by using Bittorrent to dispense its recording downloads. [...]

  3. [...] to fill seats at FCC Net Neutrality hearing Comcast Blocking First the Internet Now the Public Democracy Now Saves $1000/Month Using BitTorrent Participate! Leave your [...]

  4. børge says:

    This is great! You should also take a look at the article about how much torrents saved the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK over at their blog NRKbeta:

    Here’s the money quote, so to speak:

    Yes, meaning that using BitTorrent saves the license fee payers 95% of the distribution cost.

  5. paulo says:

    The small costs of Bit torrent is why we went with it for our IPTV. VisionOnTv is using streaming to build up an audience until the corporate servers go but then we concentrate solely on Bittorrent

  6. [...] dish belonging to the Brazilian government on our roof. Unfortunately, the provider blocks not just Bittorrent but also IMAP, SMTP, SSH, Jabber/Gtalk, and VPNs (yes I [...]

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