Echo's Sling Deal
Sling Media and EchoStar Communications Corp. said on Monday that Echostar, an investor in the Foster City, Calif.-based Sling for the past two years, will acquire the entrepreneurial company for $380 million in cash and EchoStar options.
For any of you who don’t know, Sling Media makes it possible to take your cable or satellite TV service and “sling” it to your laptop or your cell phone. That becomes very handy if you are traveling, or, as the Krikorian brothers like to point out, if you are at your kids’ baseball game but you also want to watch your beloved Giants or Mets or Cardinals or Cubs play.
The only downside is that you can’t watch what you want on your Sling if your spouse or partner or son is watching what s/he wants to watch at home. Only one person at a time can control the remote, no matter where you are.
Anyway, it’s a cool technology that single-handedly caused the coining of the term place-shifting, much like TiVo brought about time-shifting. Sling’s also created other cool stuff like Clip + Sling, which lets subscribers pull clips from TV shows and send them to friends and family via email. So if you want your dad to watch this particular scene from Ken Burns’ The War, for example, you could just clip and sling it instead of getting him to watch the entire episode.
In his canned quote, Blake Krikorian, Sling’s co-founder, chairman and CEO said: “We are psyched to make this announcement.”
Well, of course you are. You are now wildly rich.
Anyway, proceeding with the quote: “We have worked closely with EchoStar for more than two years, and have come to realize that both companies have similar entrepreneurial cultures and mutual dedication and passion for creating empowering experiences that benefit the consumer and the media industry. By combining strategies, resources and technologies with EchoStar, Sling Media will be able to rapidly expand our open multi-platform product offerings, not only for DISH Network subscribers, but for digital media enthusiasts around the globe.”
This probably isn’t a bad deal for either Echo or Sling, but for some reason it bums me out – like this small entrepreneurial company I’ve been so fascinated by sold out so quickly to the big bad corporation. If you are going to sell out, however, EchoStar’s probably not a bad company to sell to. EchoStar is big these days, but maverick Charlie Ergen still tries to run it like a nimble little firm.