Sling Takes a Swing at TV Everywhere

Looking to spur retail sales of its video place-shifting products among the consumer mainstream, Sling Media is gearing up to take advantage of the disadvantages of today’s slate of TV everywhere services — chiefly, that most pay TV operators don’t yet offer their full live TV lineups and other video service features via their authenticated apps.

Sling Media will talk up those current limitations in the in the form of a humorous new consumer campaign designed to drive sales of Slingboxes and create more accurate perceptions of the product.

The campaign, expected to be in full force next year, features a character named Dr. Jurgen Tittade, who pokes fun at a made-up condition called “Can’t Watch Anywhere Pain,” or C.W.A.P. “Those with C.W.A.P. suffer from the false belief that they can watch live television anywhere, anytime they like. The truth is — they can’t,” the campaign explains. “C.W.A.P.” is pronounced “quap.”

Sling’s cure for this condition is, of course, a Slingbox. The campaign follows the recent launch of the Slingbox M1, a compact, entry-level device that complements the company’s top-shelf SlingTV product.

Sling Media has already teed up the campaign on a website (, and has introduced it on various social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

Sling is still formulating its media strategy, but it will predominantly use online channels to get the message out, Mark Vena, vice president of worldwide marketing, said.

Part of EchoStar and a corporate cousin to Dish Network, Sling Media is backing up its message with stats showing that TVE offerings from several major U.S. MVPDs typically limit the number of live TV channels and other features that are accessible to customers outside the home or saddle subscribers with geographic restrictions (limitations that are primarily due to the distribution rights they have), while a retail-bought Slingbox, when connected to an MVPDsupplied set-top, isn’t hindered by such restrictions.

Although the campaign is critical of TVE, Sling Media executives said it’s not out to disparage pay TV operators, but to tell consumers that a Slingbox is the best way to access and view their full pay TV service while they’re on the go.

Sling Media also believes its approach is necessary to clear up confusion about the product’s capabilities. When the company asked consumers, generically, which was the best device to get live TV on a mobile platform, TV on a mobile platform, the top answer was an Apple TV, followed by the Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Chromecast — which all happen to be TV-connected devices. Slingbox was fifth on that list.

Sling Media’s campaign is also getting underway as the cable industry tries to improve the image and capabilities of its TVE products. CTAM and its programmer and MSO partners have launched a campaign promoting the “tv everywhere” brand and providing recommended practices for TVE; the effort has already had some success with respect to awareness and usage of TVE.