RE: Pay per view: PH Blog

Wednesday 30th July 2014

Pay per view: PH Blog

Chris Harris explains why the full edits of his YouTube Drive vids are moving to subscription only



In October 2011 an American chap called JF Musial called me and said he was about to get funding from YouTube for a motoring channel - and did I fancy being a part of it. Two weeks later we shook hands over a beer at the Nurburgring, and so began the most enjoyable period of my working life.

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.

Forthcoming vids to include Chris's M3 rally car
Forthcoming vids to include Chris's M3 rally car
All YouTube videos monetise through advertising, so it should have been easy to simply raise a production budget and then watch the advertising dollars roll in. The problem is, the dollars never really have rolled in and the revenue share with YouTube itself allows us to retain just 55 per cent of earnings. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that we need other revenue streams, one of which is a subscription service for longer-form videos.

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!

And the D-Type at Le Mans ... at a cost though
And the D-Type at Le Mans ... at a cost though
Don't misconstrue any of this as me moaning either - like I said, I've loved shooting DRIVE videos, but that was a two-year project and now we need to try something different. It's a pretty simple choice too: we either succeed in persuading a certain percentage of viewers that our content is worth some loose change every month. Or we don't, and we stop making films.

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.

Chris

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

Author
Discussion

griffsomething

Original Poster:

60 posts

99 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
How much are we talking? Would be great if a tie in with Netflix etc could be done.

Wouldloveacsl

603 posts

132 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
It is a great channel, and I know will do well through subscriptions. Why not use Subbable as a revenue raising method though? Then you can actually gauge how much people are willing to pay through donations?

Edited by Wouldloveacsl on Friday 22 August 11:23

TheArchitect

1,238 posts

117 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Good content is worth paying for!

It will cause a rucuss as people expect and are used to free stuff so wont like it. Oh and they'll want to own you now theyre paying and will demand MOOOOORRREEE!

Keep up the good work guys, and PH should put up when Tuned, big muscle etc do videos also.

Watcha

1,615 posts

159 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
What's the point of this article if it doesn't:

A: Tell you how much.
B: Give you a link to sign up.



Wouldloveacsl

603 posts

132 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Watcha said:
What's the point of this article if it doesn't:

A: Tell you how much.
B: Give you a link to sign up.
Good point, needs an edit
Advertisement

BlackpoolRock

1,183 posts

90 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Good luck Chris/DRIVE in my opinion they are by far the best driving videos around. I actually prefer watching them to Top Gear now ! you'll get my sub.

jimmy156

3,235 posts

125 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
What is the chance of a sign up and get a free month trial or something, like you get with most of the online subscription services?

I just think that i would like to see what extra you get for your money before paying for it.

On the plus side for DRIVE, surely a bunch of people who sign up for free will forget to cancel their subscription at the end of the month. isn't that 'how they get you' hehe

scubadude

2,614 posts

135 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Without a "how much" its hard to give him any feedback, especially as there is a fine line between reasonable and taking the p*ss.

Also I hope they have a good legal team because the minute you charge for it, someone will pirate it for less/nothing and you'll spend considerable amounts shutting them down- we'll see how long before the LaFerrari video appears on Utobe for free :-)

MyCC

337 posts

95 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
As many have said, it will come down to cost but also flexibility (how long are you tied in for, can you cancel at anytime).

A tie up with Amazon Prime/Netflix subscription would be good too.

More details please basically!

Regards,

MyCC.

renaultgeek

471 posts

86 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
I only watch videos online becasue they're free. I have 2 other subscriptions called a TV licence and Digital TV which are disappointing most of the time. Could you not just make a TV show for Dave or something? Or perhaps even the BBC might pay for a real motoring program.

sagarich

984 posts

87 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Chaps, full sub details and sign up here: www.youtube.com/DRIVEplus

14 day free trial.

£2.99 per month or £24.99 per year.

Content has been great so far, I'm in.

donteatpeople

473 posts

212 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
I’m not against paying for the content in Principle, in practice it will depend on the price. The article mentions both pay-per-view and subscription, is this going to be a pay per video only thing or will there be deals to buy a season as a job lot? I really enjoyed Chris Harris on Cars as well as Tuned and Big Muscle, a channel season pass could be very appealing if priced sensibly compared to other media forms.

As others have said the article needs details, or at least a mention of where to find details.

b14

564 posts

126 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Chris, I love your videos, and will probably subscribe (depending on price), but it's difficult for me to reconcile this with all the stories about your many expensive cars - leases on FFs, shiny Range Rovers, M3 rally cars, 2CVs, M5s, 512TRs, etc etc.

I know, you aren't going to personally fund the Drive videos and I get that, but you many need to manage this perception in order to avoid a negative view on this story.

hornbaek

3,016 posts

173 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Great idea but a bit of a pipe dream. Many content providers are struggling with getting people to pay for their content. Look at the daily newspapers for a start. A dedicated pay per view or subscription based channel for the car enthusiast is great in theory but it is a very niche proposition so whilst i wish you luck in trying to get people to pay for it i struggle to see that enough people will do so.

EricE

1,945 posts

67 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Things that weren’t mentioned:

$3.99/£2.49 per month, $39.99/£24.99 per year. Free 14 day trial but it requires a credit card. Subscription is not available in many countries of Europe. (Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands)

I believe much of the content will be produced for NBC Sports and re-run on Youtube one week later but it would be nice to have some clarification on that.

My personal thoughts? I would have paid €1/month no problem but since I live in Europe I can’t subscribe anyway. I liked the CH on cars episodes, didn’t care for the rest. Good luck because you’ll need it.

Lil'RedGTO

454 posts

81 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Since Top Gear jumped the shark and Fifth Gear went to Discovery, it's been hard to find good quality car-related video. Petrolicious is great but its video output is limited. If DRIVE+ can deliver good content for a few quid a month I'd be happy to pay for it.

Edited by Lil'RedGTO on Wednesday 30th July 13:12

Maldini35

1,911 posts

126 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all

A new busines model is needed clearly (understandably it has to make money) but is this it?

Advertisers are looking to align to content that has viral potential - not necessarily globally but certainly within the right community.
Sticking great content behind a paywall that relatively few will see and cannot be shared will just kill it quicker I fear.
Yes the audience will be pure and committed but if there is not enough of them then the ad space can't be justified - unless there are some serious new developments in terms of interaction, data capture & convergence etc. to help prove the ROI.

I hope I'm wrong but the Times are still struggling having made this jump a few years ago. Media agencies just can't recommend it.

I genuinely wish you the best of luck, the world would be a poorer place without your execellent work.



Gorbyrev

1,026 posts

92 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
Less than a mag sub and great content. Quite happy to stump up.

VladD

7,223 posts

203 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
b14 said:
Chris, I love your videos, and will probably subscribe (depending on price), but it's difficult for me to reconcile this with all the stories about your many expensive cars - leases on FFs, shiny Range Rovers, M3 rally cars, 2CVs, M5s, 512TRs, etc etc.

I know, you aren't going to personally fund the Drive videos and I get that, but you many need to manage this perception in order to avoid a negative view on this story.
I have to disagree here. Chris's personal situation is irrelevant. Being a motoring journalist is his job and his living. He's not going to do all of this at a loss just to keep the viewers happy. We don't expect to get Evo magzine free because some of the employees own supercars. Same thing in my opinion.

Good luck Chris, I hope it goes well.

steve_n

124 posts

140 months

Wednesday 30th July 2014
quotequote all
£24.99 a year is too much based on the numbers outlined. All of a sudden this has the opportunity to turn into a multi-million pound pocket liner when all it would take to support the costs of these shoots is say £1 per person per year.

This is a shame as I really like Chris's work, there's nothing else quite like it as most other journos who try to do the same thing are simply too annoying to listen to!