TV networks are learning: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
CBS and SlingMedia announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a new partnership that will let viewers copy clips of CBS shows, upload them to a computer, and send them over the Web. Clip+Sling, as it's called, was demonstrated during a Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech by CBS president Leslie Moonves.
Clip+Sling lets Slingbox users record and share content directly from their televisions. Users will be able to clip and share content with other Slingbox users and computer users who don't have Slingboxes. CBS is the first network to consent to having its clips legally sent across the Web.
"CBS is interested in how new media solutions can help build communities around content," said Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, in a statement. "As we move forward into an increasingly digital and interactive future, that capability will sometimes come from unexpected places, products, and services that in the past might have been seen as disruptors, instead of enablers. The entrepreneurs at Sling have caught the attention of a lot of people. Part of our job as a major media company is to educate ourselves as to what our audience wants and investigate new ways of reaching them. We think this new capability, if done with consideration for the content owners, is intriguing and worthy of study. That's what we intend to do in this beta test."
Clip+Sling will become available for a beta test in the second quarter of 2007. The unit will retail for under $200, said SlingMedia cofounder Blake Krikorian.
"We have always wanted to empower the consumer with our technology," Krikorian said. "CBS Corporation and Sling Media understand that if you give customers control in an empowering, content-rich environment then both consumers and media companies can win big."
CBS is getting into the Web in a big way. The net also announced it will stream rehearsals of the sitcom The Class and is running a contest with YouTube. The contest, titled "15 Seconds," will let viewers create and upload their own videos with the hope of having it aired on CBS. The first user video will be aired during the Super Bowl.