Sling Media, the makers of SlingBox — a device which connects to a home’s TV signal (cable box, digital tuner or PVR) and then ’slings’ that signal over a broadband connection to either a PC or cell phone — has signed a deal to partner with the National Hockey League.
Under the NHL deal, Slingbox owners would be able to record their favorite hockey moments and post the clips on Sling’s Web site. The clips will be searchable by each club, and the NHL plans to offer its own long- and short-form programming.
The new SlingBox feature called “Clip+Sling” which will launch later this summer, allows Slingbox users to ‘clip’ short segments from live or recorded television shows and post them on Sling’s new video destination site for others to view. The NHL is the first major sports league to sign onto the service — CBS joined earlier in the year — and is in stark contrast to the Major Baseball League’s recent objections to SlingBox (see our post ‘SlingBox: television networks’ friend or foe?‘). Furthermore, the “Clip+Sling” feature is potentially more controversial as footage uploaded can be shared with anybody (where SlingBox’s placeshifting functionality is restricted to personal use only) and seems to move the service into YouTube territory.
In an interview with Sling Community last November, Jason Hirschhorn (head of Sling’s Media Entertainment Group), suggested that more big media partnerships are on their way:
There are obviously some concerns over rights issues and other things, but they want to do it. We’re in deep, deep discussions with about ten of the major network and cable network owners, and I imagine when we launch we’ll have most deals done, if not a lot of the major ones.
Hirschhorn’s pitch to media companies is that their content is already out there, and yet it’s difficult to track and monetize. Sling Media’s technology allows the audience to do exactly what they’re already doing, he says, but with a business model that will benefit content owners such as selling advertising and offering full length paid-for content.