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Boxee’s Avner Ronen gives TV providers five years to figure out digital video

Avner Ronen, the founder and CEO of video platform Boxee, has a lot of opinions that traditional TV providers don’t like. He expressed more than a few of them during a heated debate with Mark Cuban in SXSW that’s still ongoing.

Today at the PSFK conference in New York, Ronen explained why he thinks charging different prices for the same content on different platforms isn’t going to work:

“TV is just one more connected screen.”

When you think about it that way, efforts to make up for lost ad revenue on television by charging for content online and in mobile don’t make a lot of sense. But that’s how a lot of content providers view digital delivery:

“They like to segregate it, but it’s all just screens connected to the same network. Soon content owners will be in a much more competitive landscape. They’ll need to put their content out there and find other ways for consumers to pay for content. Whether it’s HD or release dates, they’ll have to find those things users value.”

Unlike many traditional media purveyors, Ronen thinks that online is the future of video.

“The internet rather than proprietary networks will be the backbone for video.”

But he has good news for networks that think digital options will devalue video content.

“We don’t think the overall spend is going to change, it’s just what we’re going to spend it on.”

For starters, fragmentation is one thing the networks can’t avoid. Audiences simply aren’t collecting in front of televisions during prime time the way they once did.

Which means that networks and cable providers will have to work a lot harder for their revenues. But Ronen thinks this entire process will take between five to seven years, which gives them all some time.

“It will be a slow transition, so there is no reason to panic.”

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