Sling Media nets cable, DBS distribution partners
Sling Media, maker of the "place-shifting" Slingbox device, has notched its first pair of direct distribution relationships with pay-TV operators - Viasat, a satellite TV operator based in Sweden; and TVA, one of Brazil's largest cable MSOs.
Under those deals, the operators are marketing the Slingbox directly to their customer base.
In the case of TVA, the operator is offering it for no additional fee, and going as far as making truck rolls to install the Slingbox and hooking it into the customer's home network.
ViaSat of Sweden, meanwhile, is selling the Slingbox to customers directly and at retail at a subsidized price, marketing it under the "ViaSat Everywhere" brand.
The operator launched the offer in Sweden, but expects to extend it to customers in Denmark and Norway, as well.
"We think this is the perfect offering that melds their high-speed and their TV products together," said Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian. "As we've talked about, selling this...at retail makes sense as a service add-on or as an additional offering from a cable operator, or satellite operator or mobile operator."
Krikorian did not go into the specific business models, revenue sharing or otherwise, with ViaSat and TVA, but said several "feasible models" could be applied to such deals. An operator could, for example, offer the Slingbox for a monthly fee, sell it for a flat rate, simply distribute it as a value-add, or put together a technology licensing agreement.
"We don't have to make all of our money out front. We can do some speculation, as well," he said, in reference to the different arrangements that could be put together between Sling, operators and even consumer electronics companies.
Although TVA and ViaSat mark Sling's first direct distribution relationships with pay-TV operators, it does have other ties. In January, EchoStar Communications and Liberty Media Corp. helped to lead up a $46.6 million round of funding in Sling Media. Beyond the investment, the companies have yet to announce specifically how they might collaborate with Sling or incorporate its place-shifting abilities.
Privately-held Sling, which launched the Slingbox last July, has not released specific sales figures, but has disclosed it has shipped units in the range of "six figures."