Michael Philippe co-founded Keli Network with Robin Rabban and Swann Maizil. Prior to creating Keli, Michael and Robin founded LeKiosk in 2008, when they were just out of college. LeKiosk is a successful European digital newsstand offering over 200,000 paying subscribers access to 200+ publications, including titles from Conde Nast and Hearst. The experience of creating and running LeKiosk led Michael Philippe and the team to examine the media habits of Millennials and Gen Z, determining that the next wave of media consumption would be based on social platforms, and on video. While LeKiosk continues its successful operations in Paris, they decided to create a new company focused on this market. In 2016, Michael Philippe left France to run the new Keli Network from its headquarters in New York City. Michael Philippe has a Master’s degree from ESCP Europe, winning the school’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship award in 2009.
How did you get into the industry?
From a young age, I’ve been passionate about the media industry. After graduating college, I founded LeKiosk – a leading digital newsstand – with Robin Rabban. After my first venture in the media industry, I became hooked on the future of media, examining media habits and creating ways to analyze the future of content consumption. Robin and I teamed up again in 2016 to start The Keli Network, a media company that distributes video content via vertically-focused social channels.
Any emerging industry trends?
The media industry continues to evolve at a fast pace. Content consumption habits are shifting toward mobile, social and video. Content creators that distribute video content, designed for mobile, via social channels will have a leg up on traditional media companies moving forward.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
As consumers increasingly shift to social channels to receive their news and entertainment, there is an opportunity for new media brands to gain traction, particularly with the next generation of content consumers. Social channels also offer the opportunity to easily and accurately reach a target audience. New brands that target specific vertical interests will arise as a result.
The challenge for these businesses is to remain flexible and adaptable in a media landscape that is moving extremely fast.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The Keli Network was born out of a recognition that new social, mobile, and video-oriented media brands would emerge as a result of industry disruption. Those that create content in the way people increasingly want to consume it will have the opportunity to galvanize a following and create the media brands of tomorrow.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We are continuing to focus on video. Consumers are spending an average of six hours per week watching video content on social networks. Social media platforms are increasingly designed with video in mind as well. Given that consumers also increasingly gravitate to social channels to view their content, we believe our video-only, social-only strategy is poised to capitalize on each trend.
Additionally, AI is beginning to have an impact on a number of industries and media is no exception. We’ve developed an in-house AI tool, titled Winston, designed to help content creators break down video virality into a science. The tool analyzes a number of data points on a video and offers creators suggestions on how and where it can be improved. Winston has been instrumental in the rapid growth of our network views, which have doubled each month since the start of 2017, reaching 1.9 billion views/month in August.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We constantly strive to better understand content consumption and distribution. As we grow, it will also be crucial for our technology and content creation to be quickly scalable.
Additionally, It is important to always keep in mind that the technological innovations we develop are primarily to serve our content strategy. By keeping our content strategy top of mind, we can develop our technology to reflect the results we are striving for.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Consumers’ habits have indicated what their ideal experience for content consumption looks like – mobile, social, and video. This is why we have built 100% social, 100% video channels that are optimized for mobile. The Keli Network does not have any websites. While this may sound crazy for a business in this day and age, we believe content should be distributed where people already spend their time – social platforms. Users don’t want the extra step of being redirected to a website.
How do you motivate others?
I believe the best way to motivate other members of your team is to share your long-term vision. For instance, our vision is that social will be the new T.V. and we are the ones working to build the new channels. Our team is excited to be working toward a new generation of brands that could soon become household names.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Move fast and be patient! This is the best advice I can offer to those in the media industry. While you must move fast to act on the right opportunities and expand in your own career path, it’s important to stay patient to see ideas and projects come to fruition.