Sling Media Anticipates Commoditization

Blake Krikorian, the co-founder and CEO of Sling Media, had an interesting and frank conversation with MarketWatch. Bottom line: Krikorian asserts he has a several year lead until other services add Slingbox features, during which time Sling hopes to innovate and partner before their technology becomes a commodity. Of course, having a healthy awareness of potential pitfalls doesn’t necessarily mean you can evade them…

I highly recommend the article — it’s good reading.

says: “How much time does Sling Media have before your product becomes a feature, like TiVo?” I asked Krikorian, during an interview earlier this week. “A couple years, at least,” he said, with a certain acceptance that if Sling Media’s service catches on, he will not be so arrogant to try and dominate the market alone. “A technologist has to realize that one day what’s been built is a product, the next day it’s a feature,” said Krikorian. “TiVo had religious issues,” he said, suggesting the personal-video-recording pioneer failed to accept that time-shifting would be a mere add-on. Does that mean place-shifting is a feature and will one day be embedded in cable and satellite boxes too?, I asked. “It could,” he responded. “But a set-top box can get embedded into a Slingbox,” he added in jest, but certainly with the quintessential wide-eyed optimism that entrepreneurs possess.

(via PVRWire)

3 thoughts on “Sling Media Anticipates Commoditization”

  1. hey dave,

    saying that we fear commoditization is a bit much…the most critical thing for us is to stay very focused on delivering great experiences to consumers…that’s what is in our control. in terms of predicting the future, we all know that’s futile…along the way of executing to the best of your abilities, you hope to also get some breaks and make some good decisions…and if you are lucky, you come out on the winning end over the course of years…simple as that.

    can we continue to the improve the slingbox? can we continue to make it easier and easier to set up? can we create additional products that consumers love and find entertaining and/or useful?…these are the things that we “worry” about.

    it is semi-amusing to get hypothetical / speculative questions like “how long until you are a feature in something else? or how long until you are commoditized?”…how the heck is someone supposed to answer that? i think i gave a stupid answer…but that’s the type of answer that is deserving of that type of question. at least that’s my $.02

    sling on,


  2. one other thing…i just read that interview in it’s entirety.

    since you and i have talked before, you know that i have nothing but the utmost respect for what tivo has done…my quote that ‘tivo had religious issues’ was taken a bit out of context…and to say that tivo or timeshifting is a ‘mere add-on’ to set top boxes is one of the largest understatements i have heard in long time. that certainly didn’t come from my mouth.

    the quote was taken while i was explaining my *general* belief that in the “convergence space”, products over time trend towards consolidation. i also made the point that is NOT always the case…for example, my desktop pc can act as a router, but do i use it that way? of course not…my netgear router does the job wonderfully (well, usually) and is at the right price point / value ratio to justify it’s stand alone existence.

    should tivo have embraced licensing their technology on more attractive terms earlier on? perhaps…did they let ‘religious issues’ get in the way of making some of those decisions? perhaps…but i wasn’t there and i don’t know for sure…and as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.

    the last time i checked, tivo was still in business, so that story aint over yet either :-)

  3. Thanks for taking the time to write in Blake! I appreciate your thoughts… and don’t forget I love you guys.

    Perhaps “anticipates” is more accurate than “fears.” I imagine the interviewer chose specific words you spoke and arranged them in a specific sequence for the same reason… it’s provocative – definitely got my attention!

    I will reiterate your point for the readers — the Sling folks dig, use, and respect TiVo.

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