Blog Post

Sling Team Leaving the Building

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

UPDATED paidContent is reporting that Sling Media co-founders Blake and Jason Krikorian, as well as Sling Media Entertainment Group President Jason Hirschhorn and Chief Creative Officer Ben White, are all leaving the company, just a little over a year after its acquisition by Echostar for $380 million. More to come…

Here’s the video and live-blog from Blake Krikorian’s appearance at NewTeeVee Live in November, when he was still Sling’s CEO.

Update: The fact that Jason, Blake, Ben and Jason left together could lead to speculation that there was some sort of disagreement with the corporate masters at Echostar. Of course, there’s also the possibility that they are off to start a new company. “It was time for us to move on, ” Blake told me. He said that, after a very hectic year-and-a-half that saw SlingMedia launch six products, including the upcoming Sling for iPhone, it was time to just kick back. “I have not quite decided I will do next, except that I want to chill out and bounce some ideas around.”

It is a strange kind of feeling for me personally, as well. I have followed SlingMedia very closely from the time it was still a concept. Blake and Jason spent hours at length with me talking about “anywhere TV” and “place shifting.” I was enthralled by their product then, and I continue to be fascinated by their innovations. Blake, who was a frequent visitor to our events and a guest on The GigaOM Show, is leaving behind a pretty solid company, one that will keep coming up with some interesting products over next few years.

The way I see it, the Sling Media functionality will be built into EchoStar’s set-top boxes and in a few years there won’t be need for a standalone Sling box.

Liz Gannes also contributed to this story.

Related Stories:

1. Sling Media Goes Mobile, Finally
2. Sling Goes HD, Adds Blackberry Support
3. Echostar Buys SlingMedia for $380 Million
4. Almost Must-See TV
5. Slingbox Comes Out Slinging

12 Responses to “Sling Team Leaving the Building”

  1. Woah! Was that a confirmation that the SlingBox App for iPhone is on it’s way soon? I’ve heard rumors for months now and even saw a demo on YouTube but this is the first I’ve heard something being mentioned as if it’s a done deal. Anyone know a potential release date? I need that app ASAP!!!

  2. I warned Sling last year that their technology would eventually become obsolete. Blake thanked me via email. In 10 years everything will be delivered wirelessly over wimax internet: television, phone, data. Goodbye cable, satellite, fiber, cell-phones, landlines, etc.

  3. Om, that’s exactly what they announced at CES. And no new retail hardware. The writing’s on the wall.

    I assume the marching orders came from above. 4-5 executives (on two coasts) don’t coincidentally all leave on the same day. And every severance agreement I’ve heard of includes language that prevents them from speaking frankly…

  4. @Davis

    I think it is clear – the time is now for company to execute on all the cool new products that have been announced. they will do rather well for sometime. My guess is that sooner or later Sling just becomes a feature of Echostar settop boxes and stops being a standalone product.

  5. You can’t fault Sling’s founders for getting while the gettins good, but you do have to wonder how long it will be before Dish has to take an impairment charge on their Sling acquisition. Post Wall St. collapse, $380 million sounds like a pretty big number for a company with modest revenue and little to no profits.

  6. Why is this sad news? The Blake and Jason team are great innovators, and Echostar is an operations company that is about cutting costs and reducing customer churn.

    These are mutually exclusive and fundamentally juxtaposed initiatives. The 922 is a great box, that they launched at CES, so their work was done.

    Here’s my take at a mini-review on its capabilities:

    The software still needs to be worked out on this, but I hope it ships and firmware updates continue. As for the Krikorians, I wish them the best. They were great to work with, but it’s time for them to innovate again.