First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Michael Weber: All things considered, we are all doing well. I have three adult children, and no one has lost a job yet, which is a good thing in these uncertain times.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you founded or joined FITE
Michael Weber: I have been in the live sports PPV industry for over 25 years, with most of my time being spent in Pro Wrestling and Motorsports. Flipps Media, the parent company of FITE, was a spin-off of a tech company from Sofia, Bulgaria, that developed the patented concept of cast your video program from your Mobile device to your connected television using cloud technology. As a Mobile app, Flipps started out as a full-service cable-like network with news, movie, sports, and entertainment.
About six years ago, I joined the team and suggested that we offer the live streaming of sports programming using a PPV model. PPV has the longest history in combat sports like Boxing, MMA, and Wrestling. With that idea, we shifted our programming focus to combat sports under the FITE name in February 2016.
How does FITE Innovate?
Michael Weber: FITE constantly updates its technology, which is more than just live streaming. We have also developed great search engines and recommendation models and extensive analytics that project potential sales for events based on available data.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Michael Weber: We did something I’m calling a Pandemic Pivot. With this being our fifth year of existence, FITE was doing quite well with 80 live combat sports events a month on our platform. But once March 15th hit, we activated many plans that we were already working on, which included an expansion into other sports/entertainment vertices including, Motorsports, Music, Basketball, World Team Tennis and Soccer events.
Additionally, we launched a liner channel called FITE 24/7 and a subscription service called FITE Plus. We have not slowed down and are actually busy than we were in the past. In July, we distributed 111 live PPV events with a live show every day of July.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Michael Weber: We had to make some tough decisions with the cutting of some expenses, but mostly we have a very experienced staff, and we did not go into panic mode.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself and FITE in the Future?
Michael Weber: Personally, I communicated with everyone in our company and our many partners on a very frequent basis. Plus, I have to exercise every morning to prepare for the day ahead.
Your Final Thoughts
Michael Weber: Initially, the pandemic situation held a lot of unknowns, but we just focused on what we knew how to do. Fortunately for FITE, people from all over the world now recognize that digital television is the future for viewing their favorite sports and entertainment programming. I feel that we offer an excellent platform for a great viewing experience.
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