Slingbox Campaign Targets Limitations Of TV Everywhere

Sling Media is taking aim at some of the limitations of today’s slate of authenticated TV Everywhere services in the form of a new, humorous consumer campaign aimed at driving retail sales of company’s line of place-shifting Slingbox devices.  

The campaign, expected to be in full force next year, features the fictitious Dr. Jurgen Tittade (he’s on Twitter, by the way!), 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,” Sling Media explains on this web site that serves as a teaser for the upcoming consumer campaign.  

The cure for this condition? A Slingbox, of course.

Sling Media, part of EchoStar and a corporate cousin to Dish Network, 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 are saddled with geographic restrictions (limitations that are primarily due to the distribution rights they have), while a retail-bought Slingbox, when connected to an MVPD-supplied set-top, isn’t hindered by such restrictions.

“C.W.A.P. can lead to symptoms like confusion, frustration, even chronic cable fatigue,” Dr. Tittade explains in this marketing campaign video. “Are you up to your eyeballs in C.W.A.P.? Because, if so, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault.”

C.W.A.P. “patients” featured in the campaign include “John,” a sports fan who can’t use his TVE app to watch his home team while he’s out of town.

In addition to the Twitter handle, which makes ample use of the #dontgetcwap hashtag, other elements of the social media-facing aspects of the campaign include a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a presence on Vine, where one can watch several short, looping videos about C.W.A.P., including one of an apparent Denver Broncos fan lamenting: “It’s Sunday afternoon, Peyton’s playing, and they’re showing the Vikings! C.W.A.P.!”

Sling Media is booting up the campaign as the company tries to appeal to the consumer mainstream and expand beyond its current primary base of relatively tech-savvy users. It introduced that broader initiative in July with the launch of the Slingbox M1, a compact, entry-level device that sells for $149.99 and complements the company’s top-end SlingTV (formerly known as the Slingbox 500).  

While Sling Media’s new campaign takes aims at “Big Cable,” it’s not without some irony, because the company is also trying to sell its place-shifting products to cable operators via an exclusive distribution and technology licensing deal Sling Media has with Arris. Those early efforts have focused on the MS4000, a stand-alone Slingbox tailored for cable operators and other MVPDs. At least two MSOs – Service Electric Cable TV and Comporium – have signed up to use the MS4000.

And Sling Media’s campaign enters view as the cable industry tries to improve the image and capabilities of TV Everywhere offerings. Among recent moves, CTAM and a coalition of programmers and MSOs recently launched a marketing campaign aimed at promoting the “tv everywhere” brand and providing recommended practices for authenticated, multiscreen pay-TV services.  

And despite some of TVE’s challenges, which include consumer awareness in addition to broader access to programming, usage has been on the rise.

FreeWheel, the Comcast-owned advanced advertising company, reported last month that authenticated ad viewing jumped 368% year-over-year, with 46% of all video ad views on long-form content (20 minutes or more) and live content coming from behind authentication walls.