Echostar/DISH Networks announced the acquisition of Sling Media yesterday, maker of the Slingbox. DISH is purchasing Sling Media for $380 million and they expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter. DISH clearly sees this acquisition as a means to create competitive advantage over DirecTV and its cable/IPTV competitors. “With today’s increasingly mobile lifestyle, EchoStar’s acquisition of Sling Media will allow us to offer innovative and convenient ways for our customers to enjoy their programming on more displays and locations, including TVs, computers and mobile phones, both inside and outside of the home. This combination paves the way for the development of a host of new innovative products and services for our subscribers, new digital media consumers and strategic partners,” said Echostar CEO Charlie Ergen.
Sling Media has developed some interesting products. Their value proposition is to allow consumers to view content anywhere and anytime. If DISH is able to integrate these products well, they could have some compelling features and applications to offer. Maybe more importantly, the acquisition of Sling talent into the Echostar fold should lead to more innovation and perhaps additional competitive advantage. Stay tuned.
For more insight, check out this post from Jeremy Toeman’s LIVEdigitally blog.
6 thoughts on “DISH Network Thinks Sling Has Special Sauce”
How soon before they integrate Sling into DISH’s DVR? I would think that will be the first move.
I know Sling gets a lot of press, but are their products gaining any real traction with consumers?
What’s the pool on somebody buying Tivo next?
While Sling may have a limited appeal (the nexus of sports fans and business travelers) this is still a smart move on Charlie’s part. It’s one more point of differentiation from cable and DirecTV. Smart for Sling to partner with a distributor too. Look how DVR adoption ticked up after being integrated with the satellite and cable set top boxes to the point where stand alone TiVO units now make up less than 10% of the installed DVR base. While the early adopters may be willing to deal with a modicum of complexity, the mass market wants a simple one provider “plug & play” solution. This partnership accomplishes that for Sling.
I agree with most of what you say, but I wonder if this move ultimately limits Sling. If you look at Tivo, they have been able to get multiple partnerships (i.e. DirecTV and Comcast), which helps diversify their channel strategy. With Sling hooking up with Dish as a subsidiary, will that limit their potential to partner with other competitors?