Boxee Payments

Well I'm stuck at the Virgin America terminal at JFK this morning. Due to the stormy weather today in SF, my flight has been pushed back by three hours. Fortunately, I've got my laptop, wifi, my sleeper hoodie with headphones cranking, and some interesting stuff to write about.

Our portfolio company Boxee announced its payments service this morning with this line:

Users want to see more content on Boxee. Content owners want to be paid for what they produce (whether that’s TV Shows, movies, music, or applications). We don’t believe these are conflicting interests.

Contrary to what Boxee's competitors have been telling big media for the past year, Boxee aren't pirates. They have always respected rights holders and their desires to find a new business model on the open internet. And this payment platform should make that abundantly clear.

Here's how it will work:

users will be able to make purchases with one click on the remote. The content partners we launch with will offer shows, movies and channels that were previously not available to Boxee users. The content owners will be able to package and price as they wish, including pay-per-view and subscription. Content partners will have the flexibility to decide what they make available, whether it’s premium content, content from their existing library, or extras that will never make it “on air”…. Boxee will charge a small fee (i.e. lower than the 30% charged by many app stores) for transactions which we enable. 

For those who don't know, Boxee is free open source software that you can download and run on Windows, Mac, and Linux powered devices that are connected to your TV. Boxee's software is also free for consumer electronics companies to build connected devices and TVs for the family room and living room. I like to think of Boxee as "android for TVs."

I watch my kids and here's what I've seen. There is almost no difference between a laptop and a TV to them. They move seamlessly between the two. The only difference is what content is available on each. What do they want? They want all the content in the entire world available to them on their laptop and their TV. They want them to be the same thing. And they are very willing to pay for content. What they are not accepting of is content owners prohibiting them to watch what they want to watch where they want to watch it.

The new model for entertainment is "over the top" and it's going to happen. As Avner Ronen says in the Boxee payments blog post:

It’s our belief that the Internet is ready to become the 4th method of distribution for broadcast & premium content after Cable, Satellite, and IPTV (FiOS, u-Verse, etc.). In the case of Satellite and IPTV, it took an act of congress to open up these delivery methods. This time it’s people who are demanding this change.

If you are a content owner and want to partcipate in this new open model for content distribution, either free and ad supported or subscriptions powered by Boxee payments, please reach out to Boxee. They will be happy to help you make the transition and make money doing it.

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