Here’s the latest headache for pay TV’s PR and marketing execs: Sling Media (part of Charlie Ergen’s empire at Dish Network and EchoStar) just launched an ad and social-media campaign that ridicules TV Everywhere – the cable and satellite initiatives that stream programming to subscribers. The messages urge consumers not to get “C.W.A.P”, a Sling acronym for “Can’t Watch Anywhere Pain.” The company cooked it up to promote its Slingbox devices and services, which stream TV programming that users receive and record at home. Sling doesn’t say how much it will spend on the campaign, which runs into Q1 – and past January’s CES technology confab, where Sling hopes to make a splash.
“Those with C.W.A.P. suffer from the false belief that they can watch live television anywhere, anytime they like,” Sling says on a promotional site. “The truth is, they can’t.” Sling has a chart that compares its service with TV Everywhere offerings from the leading pay TV distributors. For example, it says that none stream live TV from the major networks outside the home.
Sling’s attacks come at a sensitive time for TV Everywhere. Execs at Big Media companies including Fox, Time Warner, and Viacom grouse that distributors have been too slow to introduce the service, designed to appeal to the growing number of viewers who want to watch TV on computers and mobile devices. “All the cable distributors have paid for the programs, it’s all there,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told an investor gathering this week. “Let’s make it available.”
The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) recently launched an awareness campaign to improve the usage, and perception, of TV Everywhere. The group’s CEO John Lansing said last month at a CTAM-commissioned study showed that “more than half of pay-TV subscribers are unaware of the features and capabilities of TV Everywhere, and nearly 60% have never taken advantage of the service, which is provided at no additional cost.”
Even so, Comcast-owned video-services firm FreeWheel said in a recent report that “rumors of TV Everywhere’s imminent demise have proved to be greatly exaggerated” as online ad views rose 368% in Q3 vs the period last year.