Avner Ronen, CEO of fast-growing media aggregation and social networking startup Boxee, doesn’t shy from speaking his mind, and he didn’t when he came by Naked Media: revealing that the fast-growing and much-noticed video aggregator and social recommendation engine plans to have an e-commerce component, a way for people to buy media through it, as of early next year, and will launch in Beta test version this Fall.
He talked of the challenges of dealing with TV networks and big company executives, with legal wrangles, and negotiating open-source software rules and restrictions.
Betsy Morgan, the former CEO of Huffington Post who led the digital team at CBS talked about leaving HuffPo, her future plans (“the beach”), how she thinks publishers need to do a better job of valuing technology along with editorial content, and why she thinks Boxee is catching fire.
Thanks to everyone who asked questions during the live webcast. Avner and Betsy answered your questions as well as things on our minds, such as: Can Boxee negotiate the TV network demands and ongoing disputes with Hulu? What’s up with their recently-announced redesign and new features? Can Comcast’s attempts to challenge Hulu possibly succeed? Why did Betsy leave (was she really booted?) the HuffPost and what’s next for her? Whither HuffPost now that a venture capital executive is in charge? And money money money: who’s making it, how to make it, and much much more.
The Huffington Post
Until mid-June, Betsy Morgan was CEO of the fast-growing news website The Huffington Post. She led the site through record-breaking traffic during the recent presidential election campaign and inauguration, and introduced new lifestyle and celebrity areas to the site that helped bring it back to those audience levels this spring. Prior to joining HuffPost, she was SVP and GM of CBSNews.com, and was also in charge of business development and new television ventures. She has worked for News Corporation’s American Sky Broadcasting and in investment banking. She is a graduate of Colby College and the Harvard Business School.
founder and CEO
Boxee launched in 2008, and has garnered more than a half-million users, called “Alpha testers.” Boxee calls itself a “social” media center, whose free, open source downloadable software allows computer users to enjoy movies, TV, music and photos, and Web content and to post messages about the content through social networks like Twitter and Friendfeed. Avner was named one of Rolling Stone’s “Agents of Change” for 2009. Prior to Boxee he was Head of Corporate Development and M&A for Comverse, Inc. a leading provider of software and service to telecom service providers. He served for 4.5 years in the Israeli Defense Force in the special computer unit, MAMRAM.