When I say insane, I really mean it in the most positive of ways.
Over the summer Blake Krikorian (CEO) gave me a personal demo of a feature in the works… On his computer we fired up his Slingplayer to remotely view his satellite television feed and then he pointed out the record button. I thought that was somewhat cool — it’s not something I’d use, but I’m aware a certain percent of users have requested the ability to save clips or shows to the PC.
But then things got somewhat strange… You see, we weren’t scheduling a recording we were recording after the fact, via the buffer. And the video was being automagically sent somewhere. And then we watched the clip through a web page. That we could share with others.
I told him he was insane. I told him not enough people would be interested to offset the risk. Because, I also told him he would be sued into oblivion. Good thing for Sling Media he didn’t take my advice to bury it.
You see, in the last several months the industry has shifted. Media companies recognize the power of viral marketing, recognize the power of exposing millions to their properties, learning how to increase viewers and sell DVDs by giving away content online. YouTube exploded and after many legal threats eventually teamed up with content providers like NBC. And today CBS just endorsed this new Clip & Sling functionality.
Yesterday, I was briefed on Clip & Sling in the “Super Secret Classified” room pictured above. The scope and goals of this project are much larger than when I first learned of it and it truly is audacious and awesome. Is it possible to out-Google YouTube? I don’t know, but this is going to be huge.
The technology is slated for a mid-year release and a lot of the specifics (such as clip length – so far it sounds like we’re talking minutes, not seconds) are still being decided on, but here are the basics: You’re watching something you like, so you hit the Clip button to save it. A simple editor slides out allowing you to set the start and stop points, pick a video frame for the thumbnail, add a title and some tags, then upload it to Sling’s server farm without requiring any special software… in just a few seconds. Really! You can view the clip through your Slingplayer at any time OR through a web page. You can also initiate an email that will send along the URL of your clip(s) to friends or family. If that weren’t cool enough, all this functionality will also be built into your phone’s mobile client.
The app/functions I played with yesterday were pretty far along in development. This definitely isn’t vapor… So I’m assuming Sling wants a little more time to work out some of the details and get a few more endorsements before launch, hence the “mid-year” time frame.
Between Clip & Sling and the SlingCatcher announcement, I think it’s safe to say these guys are on fire in the digital media space and have brass balls. They definitely have my attention.