Boxee has announced that from summer 2010, it'll be introducing a payments platform for content. Boxee reckons that introducing the option for publishers to charge for content will make the service more appealing to bigger studios who aren't prepared to make an ad-supported gamble.
The company said, in a blog post, "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 then take less than 30% of the transaction as a fee - the beginnings of a business model for the service. "Our goal is to equip the content providers that we’ve spoken with over the past year, both big and small, with a way to monetize their content above and beyond the advertising-only model", says the company.
Boxee's concession to pay-per-view and subscription content and Spotify's alleged difficulties persuading US labels to sign up to a free version of its offering indicate that big content companies are increasingly reluctant to experiment with ad-supported business models. However, there's still a lot of uncertainty, and it'll be interesting to see how the marketplace evolves over the next few years - particularly in the UK where the presence of the free iPlayer distorts things.