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Summary:

If you are a baseball fanatic like yours truly, then you can only watch the masterful pitching of Japanese pitcher Dice-K with a sense of sheer amazement, regardless of the fact that he toils for the much loathed Red Sox (at least in my one person […]

If you are a baseball fanatic like yours truly, then you can only watch the masterful pitching of Japanese pitcher Dice-K with a sense of sheer amazement, regardless of the fact that he toils for the much loathed Red Sox (at least in my one person household.) And yet, the major league hitters are slowly figuring him out, and denying him wins.

slinglogo.gifThere might be a parallel (admittedly an obtuse one) between the pitcher and Sling Media, the place shifting start-up that I have tracked from the day of its inception. Just when you think fate is throwing them a “screw-ball,” Blake and his boys pull a proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

Take their recent run-in with Major League Baseball, which alleged that Sling shifting violated its contract with cable and satellite providers, and called their service illegal. HBO feels that way as well. (I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with watching your TV being streamed to your computer across the planet.)

And while the luddites bicker over the legality of the service maybe up for debate, SlingMedia is likely to announce an arrangement with a major sports league, most likely National Hockey League, that would allow users to Clip+Sling some of their broadcasts.

The Clip+Sling technology allows viewers to share short segments of programming, live or recorded, with other Slingbox customers as well as the audience at-large. The Sling spokesperson was not available for comment.

A deal with NHL, could open doors for agreements with other sports leagues and content owners, allowing them to capture the viral buzz generated through sharing of short video clips, and build communities around those web-clips.

As an aside, I have often wondered if content owners are failing to realize the fact that clips on YouTube are the 21st century version of cooler-talk. Instead of just talking about say, last night’s game (Red Sox vs Oakland)where Dice-K pitched so beautifully (and lost,) how about sharing a moment with coworkers or fellow fans.

Our previous Sling Media stories.

By Om Malik

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  1. Om, I love the idea of being able to subscribe to a service, content, whatever and access it anywhere. In the long run I think that’s where we will end up for everything, not just TV. Because they might be able to accelerate this trend, I hope Sling prevails.

    I do think they are exposed in at least one area that most reporters miss, and that’s Slingbox swapping. About 2 years ago, I was on Lakersground.net (a basketball message community) and someone started a thread “get out of market games for free.” The guy claimed to be a Sling rep and was suggesting swapping boxes with someone in a sports market to get access to Laker games without having to purchase NBA LeaguePass. Sling hit all of the sports message boards very heavy in its early development phase, because let’s face it the compelling application for Sling is out of market sports (and a few expats). Because of Grokster, if Sling can be found to have induced consumers to violate a law, then they will be guilty of secondary liability. Sling’s first course of action must be to cut deals with all of the sports leagues and keep this out of the courts.

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  2. Om, you’re absolutely right about this being the new water cooler.

    At least in my circles, it’s replaced the water cooler. I remember even a few years ago, people gathering to talk about what happened on LOST, the Sopranos, etc.

    Now it’s rare. More often than not I hear “don’t say anything, it’s on my Tivo and I haven’t watched it yet.”

    Contrast with the YouTube clip, which you ping to someone and they respond right away.

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  3. Dice-K will be fine :)

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  4. I agree. Dice-K will be fine. Om, Please don’t tell me you’re a Yankees fan.

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  5. It is a natural for fan interaction to merge with anywhere, anytime Internet broadcasting of games. Every MLB team has a message board site where fans gather to discuss their teams games in real time while they are watching on TV. So…fans are watching games AND they are talking about them online. It seems that Joost is headed in this direction (not necessarily for sports exclusively), integrating viewing with interactive chatter, but I’m not sure we’ll get there for a bit.

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