EchoStar Announces Agreement to Acquire Sling Media, Inc.

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2007 — 17 Comments

Combination Will Create Industry-Leading Digital Media Solutions Provider

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. and FOSTER CITY, Calif., September 24, 2007 – EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Sling Media, Inc., a privately-held digital lifestyle products company. EchoStar, through its DISH Network®, is the third largest pay-TV provider in the United States. The transaction values Sling Media at approximately $380 million and is payable in cash and EchoStar options. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Established in 2004, Sling Media has been a leading innovator in the digital lifestyle space through the introduction of the internationally-acclaimed, Emmy award-winning Slingbox™ and SlingPlayer™ software. Sling Media’s product line is distributed in over 5,000 retail stores in 11 countries.

In 2006, Sling Media created the Sling Entertainment Group with the mission of developing entertainment experiences and business models that reach beyond the Slingbox. The group also fosters and manages relationships with content creators and owners. Its first initiative, Clip+Sling™, dramatically changes the way consumers socialize around TV by enabling users to clip and share limited segments of their favorite television programming.

“As an early investor in Sling Media, EchoStar has been pleased with the progress and commitment the company has made establishing Sling Media and the Slingbox as powerful and beloved digital media brands,” said Charlie Ergen, CEO and co-founder of EchoStar. “With today’s increasingly mobile lifestyle, EchoStar’s acquisition of Sling Media will allow us to offer innovative and convenient ways for our customers to enjoy their programming on more displays and locations, including TVs, computers and mobile phones, both inside and outside of the home. This combination paves the way for the development of a host of new innovative products and services for our subscribers, new digital media consumers and strategic partners.”

“We are psyched to make this announcement. We have worked closely with EchoStar for more than two years, and have come to realize that both companies have similar entrepreneurial cultures and mutual dedication and passion for creating empowering experiences that benefit the consumer and the media industry,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sling Media. “By combining strategies, resources and technologies with EchoStar, Sling Media will be able to rapidly expand our open multi-platform product offerings, not only for DISH Network subscribers, but for digital media enthusiasts around the globe.”

About EchoStar Communications Corporation
EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: DISH) has been a leader for more than 26 years in satellite TV equipment sales and support worldwide. The Company’s DISH Network® is the fastest-growing pay-TV provider in the country since 2000 and currently serves more than 13.585 million satellite TV customers. DISH Network® offers a premier line of industry-leading Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and hundreds of video and audio channels as well as the most national HD and International channels in the U.S., Interactive TV, Latino and sports programming. DISH Network also provides a variety of package and price options including the lowest all-digital price in America and the DishDVR Advantage Package. EchoStar is included in the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) and is a Fortune 300 company. Visit www.echostar.com or call 1-800-333-DISH (3474) for more information.

About Sling Media, Inc.
Sling Media, Inc. is a leading digital lifestyle company offering consumer services and products that are a natural extension of today’s digital way of life. Sling Media’s product family includes the internationally-acclaimed, Emmy award-winning Slingbox™ that allows consumers to watch and control their living room television shows at any time, from any location, using PCs, Macs, PDAs and smartphones. For more information on Sling Media or the Slingbox, visit www.slingmedia.com.

17 responses to EchoStar Announces Agreement to Acquire Sling Media, Inc.

  1. This is obviously huge, HUGE news. I don’t even know where to begin. So for now, I’ll just let the press release speak on my behalf (as a Sling Media employee).

  2. Dave, speaking of sling when are we going to get some news on the slingcatcher!?!
    Thanks

  3. Wow! Not sure if thats a good or bad thing, but as you say its huge news. Sling Media and Dish Network…

  4. congratz mr zatz!

  5. Yeah, im down with some slingcatcher news, too.

  6. So much for the whole DirecTV SuperFan thing huh?

  7. I am sincerely happy for you Dave, I hope you prosper from it.

    But for us consumers I fear the worst. Sling Media has been the “rebel” and the “disruptor” and we benefited from that. Now I have visions of monthly fees, DRM, contextually insensitive commercials and worst of all:
    Being told when and where I can place shift.

    Is the acquisition a win for Old Media? I am afraid so. :(

    Please prove me wrong Sling

  8. Nooooo! Resist the Evil Empire and it’s dreaded EchoStar! They couldn’t turn TiVo to the Dark Side so they had to invade the peaceful, neutral, furry little Sling People?! Use the force Dave…run!

  9. Blake spoke with paidContent last night and provides some commentary on the relationship.

    Once the dust settles and I have a chance to catch my breath back home (9 nights on the road so far, will remain in NYC through Friday), I’ll post a FAQ as I’m getting many of the same questions.

  10. Congrats to Sling! (and Dave!)

  11. The timing of the DirecTV Super Fan news and this announcement has me wondering what Echostar is up to.

  12. A real stunner.

    Where to begin?

    Dave, I’d begin by hedging my bets. Start thinking about another place to work while at Digital Life at the same time you ponder if this will mean a greater opportunity for you at Sling.

    >The timing of the DirecTV Super >Fan news and this announcement >has me wondering what Echostar is >up to

    Probably going to buy TiVo next week. JUST KIDDING

  13. bummer, i’ve always been a directv guy

  14. I’d only say congrats to you Dave, if it’s something you wanted! As exit strategy for founders and equity holders prob good, but for innovation uh… doesn’t bode well.

    The big Q is what’s this mean for zatznotfunny.com??

  15. zatznotfunnyechostar.com ;)

  16. Well, Dave as a recent employee I suspect you’re not yet a millionaire, but I hope you did okay out of this.

    As others have said, I worry about the future of Sling, regardless of what your bosses or Echostar have to say on the subject at the moment.

    You could imagine a sling box being built into the Echostar STB, and otherwise everything continuing as before…

    Or you could imagine that Sling becomes a feature only Echostar customers can use…

    We’ll have to see…

  17. After reading Blake’s comments, I feel a little better about the Echostar deal. Now my only concern is when the parent company takes a hit after the Tivo thing gets figured out. Also, I guess this means Tivo won’t be buying Sling, Apple won’t buy Tivo and puppies never have a chance to live a good life.

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