YouTube underwrote two years of DRIVE programming and I loved every minute of it. At the end of 2013 the funding ended and we had to look for ways to keep DRIVE alive.
Now I'm fully aware that just the notion of me and my colleagues attempting to charge for video content will cause much unrest. It's not greed; just basic mathematics.
Remember that rather lovely F40/F50 video we shot at Angelsey? It cost £9,000 to shoot, and despite amassing two million views, to date has grossed us just £4,800. The maths is pretty stark across the board - even the McLaren P1 video has racked up plenty of views, over 3.6 million in fact, but its total revenue is £9,200. That means we're in profit, but only because it was an official launch event and Woking paid for mine and Neil's flights, and JF who was second camera used his air miles to get from the US!
Of course I want it to work, and of course I feel pretty strongly that the sterling efforts of the entire DRIVE team are worth a small outlay each month on our new subscription channel called DRIVE+, but what I think doesn't really matter. We'll continue to air free content on the regular DRIVE YouTube channel, and shorter teaser edits of the long-form films will broadcast there too. [Chris will continue to introduce the vids here on PH too - Ed.]
Yes, there's lots of great free content already out there. But we'll be adding more with our films - going further with the tests and reviews and hopefully proving that content can be worth paying for.
Thanks to everyone who subscribed to DRIVE and shared the videos since 2012. I've no doubt this will generate some fairly potent rhetoric in the forums, but we've got to give it a go because the days of simply giving expensive content away for free are probably numbered.
The first subscription video goes live on Thursday. It's the LaFerrari. The car is stunning.
New season trailer here; free to view edit on LaFerrari coming soon
Drive+ will cost £2.49 per month or £24.99 per year - see here