Betting big on the future monetization opportunities to be found in the “smart TV” ecosystem is boxPAY, a company which is now bringing the carrier billing option to TV apps and services. With boxPAY, consumers can pay for Smart TV apps or make in-app purchases by charging those purchases to their mobile phone, no registration or credit card required. Instead, the purchase would show up on the customers’ next monthly bill from their mobile operator.
Next week, the company will be demonstrating its service at the E3 conference in Los Angeles, where its software development kit (SDK) will be up-and-running on a Samsung Smart TV, the first platform the company plans to support. However, the team expects to have a version for Google TV in a month, which means it could also support the LG sets which are running Google TV (the newer models, that is). Although next week will be the company’s public debut, Gavin says they’ve already demonstrated the platform to a number of the biggest Smart TV manufacturers, but don’t have signed deals in place so can’t disclose names.
To be clear, the service will work on different types of Smart TV platforms, not just Samsung’s or Google’s. Explains boxPAY co-founder Gavin McConnon, “some Smart TV manufacturers have their own app stores, and some use Google TV, or the Google Play store. BoxPAY has built our in-app billing product to work in both environments,” he says. McConnon adds that the team would “love to work with Google Play” as its carrier billing partner, but Google already offers carrier billing. That, of course, could be a limiting factor for its growth, unless they can figure out how to strike a deal. (Or Google TV doesn’t take off, ahem). McConnon notes boxPAY already has over 200 carrier relationships in 60 countries, however, which should at least be enticing to potential partners. Customers are charged either by Direct Operator Billing, or, in some cases, Premium SMS. Gavin adds that the company plans to reach out to Boxee and Roku in the future, too.
BoxPAY was founded in 2011 in Dublin, Ireland by Gavin and his brother Iain McConnon, as an evolution of their previous premium mobile content company, which is currently how it’s being funded. The company now has offices in San Francisco, Sydney, and Johannesburg, and operates with a staff of 35. Gavin has been working in telecommunications for 10 years, and has launched four telecom businesses, including Global Billing Solutions, and, in 2006, Ireland’s first movie download service, Moviestar.ie (sold to ScreenClick in 2009).