Rich Buchanan, former chief marketing officer at Ooma and former vice president of marketing at Sling Media, passed away yesterday due to health complications. He was a fixture at many of our events and had become a dear friend to me and our company.
Dish subscribers will be able to watch their satellite TV programming on their iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch starting in September. Support for Blackberry devices will also be rolled out that month, and Android users will be able to join in on the fun in October.
Jason Krikorian, one of the co-founders of SlingMedia left the place shifting start-up in January 2009 and since then has been taking it easy. But now he has now decided to go back to work. He is joining Doll Capital Management as a general partner.
Sling Media is developing a version of its SlingPlayer application, which allows users to access TV content from their mobile phones, for the Palm (s palm) Pre that would work on both on Wi-Fi and 3G. But Sling’s hopes for 3G support could be dashed by the Pre’s mobile carrier, Sprint (s s), which is currently locked in an agreement with privately held MobiTV to deliver mobile television content. That’s a shame, because allowing SlingPlayer on Sprint’s 3G network would help Palm gain more traction in the smartphone landscape — and give the Pre an edge over the iPhone (s aapl).
AT&T, of course, opted against supporting the SlingPlayer app on its 3G network, which resulted in an outcry from iPhone users. Depending on what Sprint decides, it’s a decision that could end up working heavily in Palm’s favor. Read More about Will Sprint Thwart Sling Media’s 3G Palm Pre App Plans?
UPDATED paidContent is reporting that Sling Media co-founders Blake and Jason Krikorian, as well as Sling Media Entertainment Group President Jason Hirschhorn and Chief Creative Officer Ben White, are all leaving the company, just a little over a year after its acquisition by Echostar for $380 million. More to come…
Update: The fact that Jason, Blake, Ben and Jason left together could lead to speculation that there was some sort of disagreement with the corporate masters at Echostar. Of course, there’s also the possibility that they are off to start a new company. “It was time for us to move on, ” Blake told me. He said that, after a very hectic year-and-a-half that saw SlingMedia launch six products, including the upcoming Sling for iPhone, it was time to just kick back. “I have not quite decided I will do next, except that I want to chill out and bounce some ideas around.”
It is a strange kind of feeling for me personally, as well. I have followed SlingMedia very closely from the time it was still a concept. Blake and Jason spent hours at length with me talking about “anywhere TV” and “place shifting.” I was enthralled by their product then, and I continue to be fascinated by their innovations. Blake, who was a frequent visitor to our events and a guest on The GigaOM Show, is leaving behind a pretty solid company, one that will keep coming up with some interesting products over next few years.
The way I see it, the Sling Media functionality will be built into EchoStar’s set-top boxes and in a few years there won’t be need for a standalone Sling box.
Liz Gannes also contributed to this story.