Whatever Happened to P2P?

With all of the excitement around online video and distributing digital content, you’d think peer-to-peer systems would be smack in the middle of things. But yesterday, when we visited a small conference for P2P companies, there was little of the excitement found elsewhere in the industry. It seems P2P, despite its being both efficient and entrenched, is still sorely in need of a business model.
At the conference, lawyers and an MPAA rep spoke of harsher legal precedents for hosting unauthorized content; CacheLogic and BigChampagne reiterated that P2P traffic is growing; Kontiki (now owned by VeriSign) said its long-planned distribution deal with the BBC still won’t be live till next year.
There was a token guy bragging about a new anonymous open P2P network, and a bunch of people talking about using advertising and marketing tools to support filesharing (we wrote about another such effort, Skyrider, yesterday). Sony exec Mitch Singer stopped by to discuss an multi-device token system for using your own content that he says he’s been working on for four years.
The legit P2P efforts such as StreamCast, iMesh, Mashboxx, and Wurld Media were apparently not in attendance. They didn’t come up in conversation except to contemplate StreamCast’s recent court loss (over an older version of its software).
Meanwhile, away from the conference, BitTorrent announced some small deals to incorporate its software into routers and said its long-planned big content store also won’t be up till next year. Same old, same old. What happened, guys? How come P2P didn’t get to come to the party?