As Boxee prepares to roll out its branded set-top box, the streaming-music company is trying to sign up content owners for its first “payment platform” to be unveiled this summer. The pay wall will let content companies charge what they wish for access to their programs, movies, music, games, apps and other works on special Boxee channels. Users will be able to subscribe to particular program channels for either a monthly subscription or a pay-per-view stream. While the site currently has some subscription services, such as Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) and Suicide Girls, they’re only available to existing subs outside of Boxee’s system. In an interview with paidContent, Boxee CEO Avner Ronen said the company’s new pay wall will make it easier for content companies to reach and attract users in one place.
“There is a generational shift towards internet video” he said. “Recent college grads will tell you the internet is vital to them in a way [cable TV] never could be. Their social, professional and family lives are reinforced by — and sometimes wholly self-contained within — the social networks, blogs, and interaction the internet provides. It’s only fitting that home entertainment should enter that space as well.”
Even though Ronen mentions the iTunes Store as a successful model for paid content, he’s promising that Boxee’s pay platform will be more flexible to both content companies and consumers. In addition to letting content holders set the price of their works, Boxee will keep less than 30 percent of what a company charges to sell access to their content, Ronen said. “Today, only 10 percent of cable content is available online and that’s because content companies don’t have a lot of opportunity to make subscription revenue, outside of the cable operators,” Ronen said. “I think the subscription and pay-per-view models we’re going to offer will encourage all of them, including broadcast companies and independents, to experiment more online. They’ll be able to better test windowing of releases and see what consumers’ appetites for online content actually are.” More details on Boxee’s blog.