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Boxee CEO: Blocking Google TV Makes No Sense

With networks like CBS (s CBS) and ABC s DIS) blocking Google TV (s GOOG) devices from accessing its full episodes, one has to wonder what’s in store for future owners of the Boxee Box, some of which will receive their device as early as November 11. Boxee got in trouble for accessing Hulu content early on, and it’s hard to imagine that some of the networks that decided to block Google TV won’t try to prevent access from the Boxee Box as well.

So what do the folks at Boxee think about the current Google TV incident? I got in touch with Boxee CEO Avner Ronen, who sent me a statement straight from Israel, where a good part of Boxee’s development is being done. Here’s what he had to say:

“We think that it makes much more sense for the business model to be based on the content and not on the device or the screen size. If someone paid for a video (or is watching the video with ads) it should not matter which device (or) browser he is using.”

While we’re at it, check out the video interview I recently did with Ronen:

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required):

10 Responses to “Boxee CEO: Blocking Google TV Makes No Sense”

  1. “Paradigm shifters? Far from it. If and when they become a threat to the broadcasters, the broadcasters would just buy them out eliminating the threat.”

    Timekeeper, this sounds like something that might have been said in the late 90s/early 2000s about Napster and Kazaa. The future of TV is in the internet pipes. If Boxee, Google TV or somebody else gets “bought out” (hard to imagine Google being bought out by the way) or faced with a legal action, something else will arrive and take their place. Boxee/Google TV/Apple TV are still in their infancy. As more and more young people and the the “first adopters” switch to these “new” technologies, the bigger the snowball will grow.

  2. timekeeper

    Agreed – old media is old but they have also been at this game for longer than any of these new media types. They control a multi-billion dollar industry and will not give up control that easily.

    They have been locking up the rights to content for decades now. Having seen what increases in speed to the internet did to the music industry, they knew that it was just a matter of time before the internet would get fast enough to efficiently distribute video en masse.

    Broadcasters sit in the control room right now, turning the technology dial when they see fit and slapping the hands of “youngsters” who try and touch that dial.

    For video, I don’t think you’ll see them go after the “fan” as the music industry has done but to go after the rogue distributors who are showing content without proper rights to do so. Blocking Google TV, Boxee and such is what they have up their sleeve right now. There will be more to come.

    Don’t count them out just yet. None of the “new technology” companies have committed the BILLIONS that the broadcasters have to new content development. None have libraries full of quality (legal) content ready to stream at a moment’s notice. And none of them have a vision for creating content. They only asset they have is technology and you can see how fast, and relatively inexpensive, it is to get leapfrogged and left in the dust.

    Google TV, Boxee and such are interesting platforms. Paradigm shifters? Far from it. If and when they become a threat to the broadcasters, the broadcasters would just buy them out eliminating the threat. Until then, they will operate in a gray area dangling the hope of cutting the chord in front of an audience that oh so wants it to happen but don’t make up a significant portion of the market to have much effect.

    I too want to cut the chord but the solutions out there right now are just ports of the old paradigm to a new platform. Same old, same old. Go back to the drawing board and redefine how we will consume media. Only then will they overthrow the incumbents.

  3. In other news, old media is old.

    The networks don’t care if you watch a show on your laptop, the way most people under 20 currently do… but if you try to replace their business model ($$$ commercials on big TV screens), they react in a predictable way. Evolution is not a business ideal for these fools.

    Like the recorded music industry of 1999, the TV networks have about two years of life left, but they’re going to keep fighting every second of it. Instead of finding ways to work with this technology (hey, you mean I can target individual ads to users, and not show Depends ads to people watching from a college campus address?), they’re going to just obstinately try to protect their old ways — failing miserably, and scorching the Earth behind them.

    90% of this is generational. If the baby boomers would just get the eff out of the way for once, they might learn a few things about content distribution. The me generation is now old and in the way, but they still don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, and they don’t believe that anyone else could possibly have a better idea.