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Sling Media founders, executives to leave company

updated 10:50 pm EST, Mon January 12, 2009

Sling Media loses execs

Several founders and top executives at Sling Media are parting ways with the company, following plans originally established in 2007 when the company was acquired by EchoStar for $380 million, according to Brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian will depart, leaving their positions as CEO and SVP of business development, respectively. Jason Hirschhorn and Ben White will leave vacancies for president and chief creative officer of the Sling Media Entertainment Group, while the VP of sales, Greg Wilkes, will also seek other opportunities.

EchoStar was in the process of transition shortly after the acquisition, with a separation from DISH Network that was intended to woo customers that had perceived the Slingbox as tightly interwoven with satellite TV services. The devices, developed by Sling Media, allows users to stream live or recorded TV from a set-top box to an Internet-connected computer or cellphone.

The company garnered attention recently with announcements of an iPhone app and a new SlingPlayer for Mac HD that would allow Slingbox PRO-HD users to stream HD content to a Mac desktop or notebook computer. The service will work in conjunction with the web-based software.

Despite the momentum Sling had gathered at Macworld and CES, Blake Krikorian felt an urgency to finish up the transition quickly. "I'm out of there now. I want to just cut it ... it's best to just get it done because it's not easy," he said. "It's like a break up but it's time to get on. It's bittersweet for sure." He recognized the remaining potential, but commented "it's a good time to stop and I can't complain."

Hirschhorn shed light on the motivation behind the change, pointing out that the group wanted to establish the programming and integration, while staying on board for CES. "Now it's time for the entrepreneurs to move on," he said. The individuals have a history of driving startups.

Aside from the desire to move on to fresh ventures, the group may have experienced difficulty working under the control of new ownership. "It means something when you sell a company: It's no longer your company," Blake Kirkorian told Mercury News. The brothers preferred running their own business. "As much as I love the team and am incredibly excited about what they're doing, it's not the best fit for me, for where I am in my life," he added.

by MacNN Staff



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