Clipping Into YouTube

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Sling Media Entertainment Group president Jason Hirschhorn said he’s hopeful the EchoStar Communications takeover will accelerate the deals the device maker is negotiating with cable networks, broadcasters and other content owners to launch a YouTube-like repository of TV content online.

“I clearly think this validates what we’re doing. It shows that EchoStar is thinking about the future,” he said.

Sling’s Clip and Sling feature, still in development, will allow Slingbox users to copy a few minutes of a TV program and then — assuming Sling has secured the rights to that content — share those clips with anyone on the Internet via a yet-to-be-named video-sharing site.

The project is on track to enter beta before the end of 2007 with a public launch “more around the first of the year,” Hirschhorn said. “I’ve got my creative guys trying to finish Clip and Sling… We have a lot of work to do.”

Previously Sling had expected to unveil a public beta version of the Clip and Sling site at the end of the summer. Both slingclips.com and clipandsling.com domain names are registered to Sling Media, though those URLs currently have placeholder homepages.

The company announced Clip and Sling at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and it was featured in a demo with CBS CEO Les Moonves. In addition to CBS, Sling inked a distribution deal with the National Hockey League to let users share bits of NHL games via the service.

Now, in Hirschhorn’s view, EchoStar could help Sling land additional online-distribution agreements with programmers. “EchoStar is one of the biggest customers for programming in the world,” he said. “Clearly, when you’re an independent you’re doing your five to 10 meetings with each [media] company.”

Hirschhorn, formerly chief digital officer for MTV Networks, joined Sling last November.

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