BitTorrent Fires CEOs, Closes Los Angeles Studio, Shutters BitTorrent Now (EXCLUSIVE)

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Courtesy of BitTorrent
October 6, 2016 | 12:49PM PT

BitTorrent has fired its two co-CEOs Robert Delamar and Jeremy Johnson and laid of an unknown number of staffers, Variety has learned from multiple sources. BitTorrent CFO Dipak Joshi has stepped in as interim CEO.

The company is also closing its Los Angeles-based production studio and shuttering its BitTorrent Now video streaming efforts. This comes just months after BitTorrent announced a renewed focus on media under the leadership of Delamar and Johnson.

BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen laid out the changes in an email to staff earlier this week, according to a source, but layoffs apparently began as early as two weeks ago. In addition to being ousted as CEOs, Delamar and Johnson were also removed from the company’s board of directors.

The company had officially announced the appointment of Delamar and Johnson as new co-CEOs in April. At the time, the duo laid out a renewed focus on media production and distribution, which involved the opening of a new Los Angeles-based production studio.

These efforts culminated in BitTorrent Now, an ad-supported music and video streaming platform that launched in June. BitTorrent Now built on the company’s efforts to strike media distribution deals with independent artists, but didn’t actually use BitTorrent’s P2P technology for streaming.

Insiders now say that the company spent millions of dollars on Now, with one source saying that spending was “out of control.”

This wouldn’t be the first time for BitTorrent to pull the plug on an ambitious and expensive media strategy: Back in 2008, the company shut down its BitTorrent Entertainment Store after spending millions for content from major Hollywood studios.

BitTorrent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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