Although many people initially were sad to see “Top Gear” part ways with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the motoring trio now is engaging with fans in more ways than ever before.
In addition to launching their new show “The Grand Tour” on Amazon Prime, Clarkson, Hammond and May also started a social media site for car enthusiasts named DriveTribe.
Hammond recently revealed if they hadn’t left “Top Gear,” they might have remained just — as they refer to themselves — “three blokes on a car show,” according to City A.M.
“It was a function of timing,” Hammond told City A.M. “Coming out of the BBC was like leaving the army after a long career. We’d been sheltered, but once we’d limbered up and realized that it wasn’t just television that’d moved on, but all of media, its distribution and the monetization around it, it was really a case of ‘why would we choose not to be a part of that?’.”
DriveTribe is a way for car lovers to connect with “tribes” of other people who are interested in a certain aspect of automotive culture. Ernesto Schmitt, founder of digital marketing agency Beamly, who was brought on to help with DriveTribe, reportedly said the concept could make the site very profitable, but for now, the focus is on growth.
“There’s no question that if you could get a very large group of people who are deeply passionate about their area, you’ve then got a lot of data on them. That lends itself to all manner of monetization: native advertising, branded content, social commentary, transactions,” Schmitt said, via City A.M. “But we’ve no intention of doing that until much later on this year.”
The site also caught the attention of big players in the media industry, receiving support from Jim Breyer, who was Mark Zuckerberg’s first backer, as well as a $6.5 million investment from 21st Century FOX.
Though they don’t yet have specific plans, Hammond reportedly said the team hopes to expand DriveTribe to other verticals, such as fashion or food.
Thumbnail photo via Facebook/The Grand Tour
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