When it comes to making money with online content, Jason Kint admits that being in sports is a huge advantage. As senior VP and general manger of CBSSports. com, Kint has helped drive March Madness on Demand from a subscription product that generated tens of thousands of dollars to a free one that raked in about $37 million in ad revenue last year.
Live sports is a killer app online. “The fans are passionate; they’re going to spend lots of time on your site,” Kint says. “They’re going to come back hourly, daily. It’s very habitual. It’s all the behaviors that advertisers are looking for.”
MMoD became a huge draw online by being free and easily accessible from anywhere on the Web—even on rival sites such as ESPN. com. But it took a while for CBSSports.com to execute that play. “The event’s gone through a number of key decisions that I think are all case studies in their own right,” he says.
Making NCAA tournament games fully accessible helped MMoD take off in terms of viewership and revenue. “We knew that the dollars would come and the ad model would support it,” Kint says.
CBSSports.com streams 11,000 live sports events per year. But not all of them are free with ad support because they don’t attract mass audiences. “Some more niche events, like collegiate softball, lend themselves to subscription models,” Kint points out.
“When you talk about a certain quality of content, you can often play the hybrid,” he adds, noting that CBSSports.com’s fantasy sports business generates both subscription and advertising revenues.
If you’re not in sports, Kint has a suggestion about how to succeed: “The one thing that I’ve learned from sports is beyond live, it really is about the quality of the content. And the sponsors with the big dollars are moving into online. They want to be in the context of great content and great experiences.”