Help Boxee Build Its Pitch To Content Owners

I blogged last week my thoughts on why Hulu and other content owners should want to work with, not against, our portfolio company Boxee.

Boxee's management team has been working hard on its pitch to content owners and took the extra step this weekend of creating a wiki so that the entire Boxee community of users and developers can help them with the pitch.

I spent some time on the wiki yesterday adding my thoughts and editing others' thoughts and am a big fan of this idea of engaging the community in the pitch to content owners.

If you have thoughts to share, please jump into the wiki and add them.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Chris Yeh

    Cool idea, Fred. And please thank the team for choosing PBwiki to host this!Mind if we blog about this on our corporate blog?

    1. fredwilson

      please do

  2. Brett Wilson

    Partner with TubeMogul. We have 68,000 content creators using our service to deploy and track their videos.

  3. rkorba

    Howdy, sir — still one of the best blogs extant, and more so as you have always had a high standard of highlighting enlightenment and enlightened self-interest for your industry and companies. So, stay way ahead of T*chcrunch in my estimation and don’t follow them down the “bad grammar in the lede” path. You have a very acute pen and set a high standard for written “skillz” (as, honestly, your wife and daughter seem to), so help boxee build *its* pitch — *it’s* a good thing. And keep the goodness coming!

    1. fredwilson

      ugh i have this enormous blind spot with it’s and itsi need peer produced copy editing!!thanks for the catch. i fixed it.

      1. rkorba

        always wondered by sixapart or automattic or such don’t have such…. would be great upsell, no?Also, the kudos were sincere. And being “of an age”, let’s say born in the 60’s, appreciate good writing. Maybe more so for the rare times it’s evidenced online, and even seems your progeny have it — very rare for that generation, I think, though they communicate so adeptly in 60 ways we can’t.

  4. delbert norton

    C’mon dude, your grammar is off (and in the headline, no less.) No, it’s not “it’s.” You should have written “its.”

    1. fredwilson

      see my comment above. this is a big issue for me. thanks, i’ll fix it.

  5. BmoreWire

    know what would be a home run? if they could get a deal with HBO. Even if it were $10 per month, most people would pay it and it would be a land mark deal that would set the tone for the industry. Other content providers would be embarrassed that they didn’t take advantage of the pipe that boxee is building.

    1. Dan T

      I would pay it direct to HBO. I won’t pay for it via comcast. How long till someone does this?

      1. markslater

        yes – this would be huge. I am a big fan of HBO as opposed to many other networks (real language, no adds) then again i don’t have kids (well not until august). paying $25 to comcast is a shocker however.Wont happen though – a move like this would cannibalize their existing distribution channels. Sound familiar to another industry? Boxee and to an extent predecessors like the time shifters are slowly shaking the foundations of the TV and Movie industry – and it wont be long before rocks start falling. Boxee is IMO complimentary not necessarily disruptive – but try telling that to the Siamese twins of the record label business.

    2. fredwilson

      I agree that the premium channels are good potential partners for them.They are talking to a bunch of them.

  6. im2b_dl

    FredThe problem is a question of permanence. I am pretty sure Boxee has a very specific problem. In 2 maybe 3 years…it will be redundant. I hate to say that to you…but your investment could have been in a much smarter locale on betting before convergence. There are three or four factors that will make a company money out of the convergence of “transmedia” (none of which I would put here) but you can’t get around the fact that Boxee is not Comcast or Firefox or Panasonic or Nintendo. Not trying to trash your investment but there is a time to change fast…and that time is right now… but for Boxee it would be like asking a toaster… to become a “cerial maker” or put it this way… Boxee is like inventing a little device with egg shaped cups for keeping eggs cold and protected so as to not go bad…when pretty soon the frig maker is going to sell a shelf that takes care of that problem. So what advice would you give the manufacturer that built a whole system just for keeping eggs cold? ya know?

  7. Morgan Warstler

    I think there is a slick way to pitch Boxee to the cable companies themselves.

    1. im2b_dl

      problem is…the cable companies are already working on a “boxee” type tech themselves. In their own boxee. The only Xfactor in all of this is content and how it is able to incorporate the interactivity into it’s story structure without selling out and with a simplicity that makes it as close to effortless as possible. No proprietary technology will hold with the resources that comcast, NBC, Fox has now with the pieces of that technology they can either license or get for free.It is time that investors have to start looking at the risk of innovative and professional content ownership…because that is the harder work. The dirty little secret is a new industry is coming…and web dev has to learn about content development…and content creators have to come up with an even trickier issue …how to navigate the small ad dollars of interactive programming with unions, massive exec salaries and quality (which they were having a tough time anyway…but as the internet crowd is learning…it is MUCH harder than they thought as the internet programming is almost 99.9999999999% horrible).

    2. fredwilson

      If you have a minute, it would be great if you could post that to the wiki

      1. Morgan Warstler

        I did:…I also reached out to a Comcast VC (you might know) to try and get his feedback. It is aggressive and out of the box(ee), but frankly, I do think there is a way for cable to carry two products in the same house.

  8. Nate

    Not a good sign that Boxee must appeal to the wisdom and goodwill of BigContent.Everyone saw how Apple disintermediated the music industry. The TV industry will fight to make sure it doesn’t happen to them.

  9. garth

    This has been so frustrating… just last week I got my HDTV and Linux+boxee home media center set up. I love it, and there is no way I’m going back to traditional TV. I might log into HULU with Firefox to watch something now since it’s not on boxee but frankly, it’s easier on my setup just to get those episodes on torrents.

  10. Parand

    “It’s” should be “Its”. I’m not too much of a stickler with these things but this one is in the title of the post.

    1. fredwilson

      thanksjust fixed it

      1. mrcai

        “adding my thoughts and editing others’ thoughts”There’s something about that line that doesn’t sound right either 🙂

  11. Jeremy

    ask a cable programmer if they want to trade their programming fees from cable/sat/telco for the benefits of Boxee?video to the pc is one thing. once you get it to the TV, the whole traditional distribution model is endangered. now, if the government mandated a la carte, you would see the game change and a lot of programmers unable to survive on only advertising revenues and significantly limited subscription fees. how many cable networks would you pay for and how much would you pay for them each month? does it add up to what you are paying for the television part of your cable bill?

  12. Chris Dodge

    My assumption would be that the discussions would ultimately have to revolve around commercial terms (e.g. rev share, access to usage analytics, etc.) and not so much end-user testamonials. I believe that it’s pretty well accepted that Boxee has a well-engaged user base.

  13. JRS

    SNL Kagan estimates overall subscription revenue from telecoms, satellite cos and MSOs at $22.5 billion in 2008. Affiliate revenue for Fox cable nets alone is more than $3 billion annually. Any successful pitch to cable nets must address realistically the scale of the license fee business model as it exists today and for at least the near future.

  14. Steven Kressler

    I have another idea– why not put together a petition?? You can get hundreds of names of people who hacked AppleTV to get Boxee on there. Then your long, impressive list of college kids will convince the networks that the billions they get from the cable companies no longer matter. If that does not work, you can always arrange some street protests. Good luck.

    1. JRS

      “Then your long, impressive list of college kids will convince the networks that the billions they get from the cable companies no longer matter.”You’re suggesting hundreds or even thousands of college hackers (who are not prime cable consumers to begin with) will help networks rationalize cannibalizing a multi-billion revenue stream?This isn’t religion, it’s business. The “right” side of this issue is about maximizing value, not about racing toward the future.

  15. eire1130

    I think boxee should ask one question about the user everytime the user wants to watch a video. With this sort of demographic DB advertisers (And hence content providers) should salivate at the opportunity to use Boxee. I personally love testing it (windows user)

  16. Jeff Lu

    Fred-Best of luck with convincing the networks to open up content to Boxee. I love the wiki idea. I remember talking to Ben Elowitz last year about how his company, WetPaint, facilitated a campaign for a previously (and currently) canceled TV show, to be renewed. You can check out the campaign here:…I’m rooting for Boxee to be the disruptive technology that slays cable but it’s clearly going to be an uphill battle. The best solution would be for a cable provider to partner with Boxee. Comcast is the obvious choice here because of their investments in online content and services. They have been wanting to combine Online services and content with their traditional services and I see Boxee as a perfect conduit.Another out of the box idea is to talk to Sony. Sony is dying to bring their PS3 into more living rooms but for various reasons (price and un-compelling home entertainment software platform) they have been unable to do so. If boxee software could be effectively integrated into the PS3, it would instantly expose boxee to new and relatively large user base. It’s compelling to Sony because boxee is a better entertainment platform. The longer people are on that platform 1) the more likely they will buy content off of Sony’s marketplace and 2) provides positive word of mouth PR for PS3.-JLu

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks JLuGreat thoughts

  17. vincentvw

    Frankly, I didn’t agree with your last post on this, not because you’re not right, but because it entirely doesn’t make sense. TV, for better or for worse, is an institution, which reaches a wide audience and has long-standing contracts with content-providers. Boxee is a clear eye-sore for those kinds of companies, who have so far claimed exclusive domain on television. So any pitch you make will have to be with that in mind.I say, go the Apple TV / Xbox route, and offer TV shows for money. When/if you have enough market-share, you can renegotiate. Alternatively, negotiate for a Hulu-channel, designed exclusively for Boxee, possibly a pay-for version… again, dependent on market-share.