“The LEAD1 Angle” Episode 20: Mike Schabel, Kiswe Mobile

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Written Recap

On Tuesday, LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”) released its 20th episode of the “LEAD1 Angle with Tom McMillen,” where LEAD1 President and CEO, Tom McMillen, interviewed Mike Schabel, CEO at Kiswe, a global technology company that empowers new digital at-home experiences for fans. McMillen wanted to share with his athletics departments a novel and modern approach to reach all fans more effectively. As such, here are some of the important takeaways from the interview:

  1. While the linear/traditional cable television world is here to stay, cable subscribers have decreased year by year so there exists a significant population of “cord cutters” not currently engaged with content. These cord cutters are not addressed in the traditional cable model, and as such, do not have access to cable or sports packages. While the pie is growing for cable packages in college sports, an opportunity exists to connect with this cord cutting population, a typically younger audience, and get them engaged with content.
  2. To get more cord cutters viewing content, Kiswe has adopted a “pay-per-view” model that offers consumers an opportunity to purchase content when they want. This web-based digital viewing experience, which can be viewed on any electronic device, allows consumers to buy their viewing experiences, but also provides an opportunity for them to engage with the content. Think of it like “what we do in boxing,” or “buying tickets for a game,” said Schabel. Plus, the pay-per-view experiences allows fans to contribute and interact from home.
  3. Accordingly, Schabel offers the following advice for athletics departments:
    1. “If they [fan(s)] have an interest in your content, they should have an ability to watch it from any device or platform,” said Schabel.
    2. “Lean into alternative monetization opportunities,” such as selling tickets, experiences, and merchandise while consumers are engaged with your content.
    3. “Lean into data,” so that you can “understand how deeply involved consumers are,” [with your content]. This provides a “rich story” about the consumer.
    4. Consider creating “pay-per-view” experiences at your institution by understanding where “unsold rights are sitting.”

In short, linear distribution of content will continue, but institutions can consider adding a mixture of personalized experiences and more choices for fans, particularly to capture the cord cutters still cheering from home.