Now Sporting Leagues Think Sling Needs Their Permission To Innovate

from the permission-to-innovate dept

What is it about Sling Media that makes everyone else think they need to give it “permission” for the company to offer its place shifting offering? The company offers a little box that hooks up to your TV and lets you “place shift” your TV service to a computer or mobile device using their software. It’s a clear case of fair use, where someone is making use of the content they have legal access to… and everyone’s upset. First it was the mobile operators who for some reason wanted Sling to sign deals with them, when there was no reason to. If people had mobile data access and a compatible mobile device, that’s all that was needed. Next, were the broadcasters. The TV industry is supposed investigating its options with Sling Media, while HBO has already indicated it might sue. Who else might be annoyed? How about sports leagues? Yup. That’s right. All the various sports leagues are apparently concerned about what this could mean for them. The fear is that someone who legally has a subscription to watch games in NY, will hook it up to his TV and (horror of horrors!) be able to still watch the same game when he’s traveling in California. Why this is a problem is not clear. The guy is still paying for the content, and Sling is actually making that content more valuable by making it so the guy can use it in more ways. The sports leagues should be thrilled about this, rather than worried.

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Comments on “Now Sporting Leagues Think Sling Needs Their Permission To Innovate”

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Scared of the MAN says:

Here we go again....

You remember when MP3 Players first came out….How RIO had its ass sued by everyone under the sun, and RIO won. (I think it was RIO)….and now we can thank them for itunes, and all the labels are counting the new revenue.

So Sling media makes a cool box that does cool things…that disrupts other people’s business models…..booo hooo, sports leagues… you don’t like it, make your own…or better yet… offer your broadcasts over the internet with some partner. Give the consumers what they want…and you will ultimately win. Don’t they realize why people buy these $200 boxes….cause they WANT the service.

Smart organizations realize when a new technology comes along that disrupts your model, you have 2 choices…innovate…or hang on to your model….and pass away into irrelevance. Suing only prolongs your company’s demise

thomas says:

One Possible Problem

To play devil’s advocate for just a moment, It’s easy right now for a cable company or direct tv to know when a bar or other public place want’s to get a Pay Per View item and charges them more for the public showing. I can see there being a concern that if you had a sling box, you could order it ‘at home’, and then just hook up a pc in your bar,with it connected to a big screen / large plasma / or projector, and actually show it there, cutting them out of their revenue.

taxcollector (user link) says:

rationing access

a big part of the pay media model is to restrict access down to the least number of people. Ever see the Superbowl on the NFL Channel? Ever see the original satellite feed of The Weather Channel turn off scrambling during hurricanes threatening thousands of people? Their belief is that to maintain it’s value, they will go to any length to restrict distribution by any means possible. They think that if pay tv is allowed to distribute freely, it totally looses it’s value and would end the pay-TV model. By contract, they are obligated to enforce distribution rules, even when they make no sense to the casual viewer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: rationing access

its just as limited as it was before though. aside from that pay-per-view in a bar situation. though, when it comes down to it, you can’t restrict something just because it can be used illegaly. if you’re gonna break the law, you can get pay-per-view stuff in bars already anyway. if a bar is already paying for everything when a cheaper alternative is available, why would they start breaking the law now anyway?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sport leagues would also be concerned about people using Sling to get around media blackouts of local teams. Why pay a high ticket price if you could gat your out of town friend to sling the game to you?

Well, first off, this is a whole different issue. The concept that media blackouts actually drive more people to games is fundamentally ridiculous.

Second, since Slingmedia only lets a single user watch a program, it’s not like very many people would be unable to watch the blacked out offering.

Plus, getting a friend with a Sling elsewhere to get it set up so you can watch the game seems like a pretty involved process that it seems unlikely more than a few people would do.

Greg says:

In other news, Mirror manufacturers...

…received “Cease & Desist” orders from content providers on the contention that end-users might be able to glance at the content from another room. “We have no objection to mirrors being used for their primary intent,” said a sporting league spokesman, “but, it’s obviouis to us that this technology could be used in ways…which…could potentially deprive us from fractions of dollars of revenue.”

More coverage on this breaking (HA!) story as it unfolds…


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