NEWS,SPEED,NEWS

MOTORSPORT.COM
25 Mar 2020

How Motorsport.tv is changing the way to watch epic racing action

Eric Gilbert is president of Motorsport.tv, and gives us his insights on what’s on offer and how the product has grown over two years of development.

Eric Gilbert, Founder of Motorsport.com

Eric Gilbert, Founder of Motorsport.com

Photo by: Motorsport.com

Motorsport.tv pack shot

Motorsport.tv pack shot

Photo by: Motorsport.com

Eric, tell us about the growth of Motorsport.tv… 

As a direct-to-consumer OTT service, Motorsport.tv has grown from pure subscription model back in 2018 to morphing into a freemium platform a year ago, mixing subscription-based and advertising supported content. This has given us the flexibility to adapt to any type of distribution deal with right holders, racing series and content creators. Not only this, we can also offer viewers different options and plans: they can come to Motorsport.tv to watch free content whether live, long form, short form, or join us with a low-cost subscription to watch premium and exclusive content.

Adding free content a few months ago enabled us to grow our organic traffic to much bigger numbers. This has also contributed to doubling our subscriber base in 2-3 months.  

This year, in addition to subscription and advertising-supported content, we are launching our pay-per-view model. With pay-per-view, we can now offer content that is exclusively distributed as a “rent” or “buy”, which is a common model in the movie business. 

We’re introducing this model with “Motorsport Heroes”, which is quite natural since it was produced by Motorsport Network. And we’re also about to offer different movies as PPV, with a common theme: racing and motoring. 

Motorsport.tv is becoming a global distribution platform for different right holders. And from a viewer perspective, it’s one central platform where they can find a huge amount of content related to racing.

#912 Absolute Racing Porsche GT3 R: Dirk Werner, Matteo Cairoli, Thomas Preining

#912 Absolute Racing Porsche GT3 R: Dirk Werner, Matteo Cairoli, Thomas Preining

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

Start action

Start action

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

In terms of content, what does Motorsport.tv offer? What are your big-ticket items? 

Our marquee content begins with livestreamed race events. In 2019, we had more than 1,000 live events, whether free to view or behind paywall from dozens of series: FIA World Endurance Championship, FIM World Superbike, a number of FIM series and events, Japanese Super GT, all SRO GT series, different standalone events, and much more. Live events are also the main drivers for subscriptions, and we have quite a lot of premium series to justify an annual subscription to Motorsport.tv. 

All those events are also archived as on-demand videos, available immediately after the event. We love racing and hosting legacy content is part of our mission. We have a massive amount of archive material. For instance, Motorsport.tv is the only OTT service where viewers can watch the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans history – we have by far the most complete archive material from the French classic, officially licensed and in partnership with the ACO. We also own the extensive Duke Video archive, so that’s all available to our viewers. 

Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert, Bertrand Gachot, Mazda 787B

Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert, Bertrand Gachot, Mazda 787B

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Start action

Start action

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

You’ve started Motorsport.com in the early days of web publishing and have now built Motorsport.tv from a blank sheet of paper. Do you see any parallel or difference between the two experiences?

One main difference I experienced between Motorsport.com and Motorsport.tv is how the two platforms came at different times in their respective markets. 

In the early days of Motorsport.com, web publishing was just starting, and the market was still new and open. We grew with it. 

With Motorsport.tv, the situation is quite different: when we officially fired up Motorsport.tv two years ago, the OTT and video distribution market was already quite crowded, ultra-competitive – and fueled by major players. To be honest, I find this challenge even more stimulating for Motorsport.tv, but this also for the whole Motorsport Network group. We like a good challenge and our vision goes well beyond the short-term gains. 

After all, Motorsport Network is a media-tech company, and in this space, fortune favors the bold – always! This is the best way to create genuine value for investors.  

Motorsport Heroes filming

Motorsport Heroes filming

Photo by: Malcolm Griffiths

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren, David Coulthard, McLaren, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren, David Coulthard, McLaren, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari

Photo by: Motorsport Images

On that note, can you explain the technology behind Motorsport.tv? 

Quite simply, it’s inside development. For the most part, Motorsport.tv has been developed internally by our own team of developers, UI experts, designers and engineers.   

We’ve put quite a lot of development efforts behind Motorsport.tv, and literally built it from scratch, starting back in 2018. Going forwards we have a full roadmap for the next 2-3 years. Expect to see many new and innovative features ahead. 

Motorsport.tv also feels like open platform, right? 

Yes, we know Motorsport.tv as this consumer-facing OTT service for racing content, but there is more to it. Indeed, Motorsport.tv is a full ecosystem that goes beyond: it powers the whole video infrastructure for the Motorsport Network properties, from content management to video delivery.

It can hyper-distribute video content through its embed player and different distribution workflows. We are also working on a headless CMS, that will be easy to integrate with other systems; different online operations will not only be able to use our embed player but also manage their video assets without leaving their own CMS. 

Better yet, it is now possible for us to offer the platform a white label OTT solution to different racing series, and other racing or even sports for that matter.  

Another interesting B2B model we are also developing: Motorsport.tv affiliates. With this program, we can offer the whole package to regional partners: platform and technology, content and brand. Having regional partners has a major benefit: they have a much better understanding and knowledge of their market. In return, they have a turn-key solution to go to market. It’s a win-win situation. 

What’s ahead for Motorsport.tv?

I don’t want to refer to Motorsport.tv as the “Netflix of racing”, “YouTube of racing” or the “Twitch of racing”. For me, it must become its own entity and carve its own model at the crossroads of all those great platforms, but with its own functionalities. And more importantly, with a clear center point: racing and motoring content. 

In terms of business model, we are positioning Motorsport.tv to cover all those bases, whether for live or on demand content: Subscriptions, for exclusive content; free ad-supported content; pay-per-view content; user-generated content.

Our aim is to create a highly engaging environment in which fans can watch their favorite racing series, teams, drivers, and so on. But also participate in the event. In the coming year, we will start integrating innovative user-generated content features that will enable viewers to actively participate in the live or playback broadcast.  

The road ahead looks very promising. And fast.