Time Inc. acquires two automotive YouTube channels /DRIVE and Fast Lane Daily
Purchase comes only months after the publisher launched its own automotive brand, The Drive. The two new properties will now be merged with The Drive, adding new video content and digital advertising real estate
Time Inc. today announced another acquisition, buying YouTube channels www.youtube.com/drive” target=”_blank”>/DRIVE and Fast Lane Daily. The moves are consistent with the publisher’s more recent efforts to build its digital audience and digital-only assets.
Time Inc. launched a new digital vertical The Drive last fall, so this acquisition will allow the company to merge the brands and bring in important video content.
“Video is the most visceral tool for bringing cars to life, and the /DRIVE team is world class,” Matt Bean of Time Inc. said in the company’s announcement (which you can read below). “This represents a tremendous addition to our portfolio and is further evidence of our commitment to delivering high-quality, premium content to our fans and for our advertisers.”
“I’ve worked as a journalist for 20 years and I’ve yet to witness the sort of unfettered entrepreneurialism at play within this company now, where the freedom to propose new initiatives is finally matched by the funding to pursue them. This merging of The Drive and DRIVE/FLD is the rarest of circumstances. We didn’t have to choose between building or buying. We did both,” Bean said on the website for The Drive.
Last week, at the time of its earnings report release, Time Inc. announced the acquisition of Viant, a company that the publisher hopes brings in new consumer data. Viant is also the owner of the well-known brand Myspace. Time hopes to be able to claim $100 million in digital advertising to the acquisition over the next year.
“This acquisition is game changing for us,” said Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp in the company’s announcement. “Marketers are selecting media partners that have either data-driven capabilities or premium content; we will be able to deliver both in a single platform, and will stand apart from those that offer just one or the other. In other words, we will be able to deliver advertisers’ messages targeted to optimal audiences across all types of devices, along with the ability to measure ROI.”
Last fall Time Inc. acquired the Los Angeles-based website HelloGiggles, which bills itself as “a positive online community for women.” The publisher all named Jennifer L. Wong as President, Time Inc. Digital. Prior to joining Time Inc. Wong was Chief Business Officer at POPSUGAR.
Here is the Time Inc. announcement regarding /DRIVE and Fast Lane Daily:
NEW YORK, NY – February 16, 2016 — Time Inc. today announced the acquisition of YouTube channels /DRIVE (www.youtube.com/drive) and Fast Lane Daily (www.youtube.com/FastLaneDaily), along with their associated websites and content libraries. Both /DRIVE and Fast Lane Daily (FLD) are digital pioneers renowned for their adventurous, personality-driven automotive coverage. To date, they have amassed hundreds of millions of video views, with a combined 1.9 million YouTube subscribers, and have produced a traditional broadcast series for NBC Sports Network.
/DRIVE and FLD will be operated by The Foundry, Time Inc.’s content and creative collective that cultivates new brands and next-generation marketing programs. Together with TheDrive.com, these brands will form a powerhouse video-rich production network of short- and long-form premium storytelling around car culture and lifestyle. Original content from all three brands will cross-pollinate to serve the vast and diverse audience of passionate auto enthusiasts. The teams will also collaborate on new programming for distribution across the network, as well as through linear, OTT, SVOD, mobile, digital and emerging platforms.
“Video is the most visceral tool for bringing cars to life, and the /DRIVE team is world class,” said Matt Bean, Editorial Director of the newly merged brands and SVP, Editorial Innovation at Time Inc. “This represents a tremendous addition to our portfolio and is further evidence of our commitment to delivering high-quality, premium content to our fans and for our advertisers.”
Having debuted in 2012, /DRIVE’s diverse catalog of automotive video programming speaks with the authentic voice of the car enthusiast. The channel now boasts 1.6 million+ YouTube subscribers and a library of more than 1,200 videos captured in 14 different countries, all available on demand. /DRIVE expanded to cable television in 2014 and has since produced two seasons of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, including episodes chronicling epic road trips across the Middle East, Europe and Japan, revealing the diversity of those regions’ car cultures. /DRIVE founder JF Musial; Michael Spinelli, formerly of Jalopnik.com; Gumball 3000 veteran Alex Roy of Team Polizei 144; and Matt Farah of TheSmokingTire.com were part of the initial launch team and will remain key contributors to the programming slate.
The first episode of Fast Lane Daily aired in 2007, and the channel continues to deliver automotive newscasts, hosted by Derek DeAngelis, Monday through Friday. A Webby Award honoree, FLD’s YouTube channel has more than 300,000 subscribers, and through January 2016, FLD produced more than 2,000 reports that generated more than 200 million YouTube views.
In September 2015, The Foundry launched TheDrive.com, which is devoted to coverage of the automotive industry and lifestyle. A team of world famous journalists has been delivering daily coverage that has already attracted a significant audience and advertising base. Later this quarter, the brand will debut a new showroom content studio located on the first floor of Time Inc.’s Brooklyn headquarters.
“We’re already seeing a tremendous response to TheDrive.com, and with the added perspective from /DRIVE and FLD, we’re going to create a dynamic network for auto enthusiasts everywhere,” said Edouard Portelette, VP Business Operations, who will add business oversight of the two acquired brands to his responsibilities.
“We were the new kids playing with video, but to fulfill the original vision for /DRIVE we needed a partner like Time Inc. with experience and a sense of adventure,” said /DRIVE founder JF Musial. “I’m happy we’re able to continue telling authentic stories about cars and car culture while expanding our reach in new and exciting directions.”
Since becoming an independent public company, Time Inc. has been leveraging its brands, content and audiences to form new revenue streams. The company acquired HelloGiggles, a mobile and social-first millennial women’s brand covering pop culture, relationships, beauty, fashion and lifestyle. It purchased inVNT, a company that specializes in live media, and it created Sports Illustrated Play, which is devoted to youth and amateur sports. Time Inc. also acquired UK Cycling Events, a leading UK provider of premium cycling events, and FanSided, a sports, entertainment and lifestyle network of more than 300 websites with a collective monthly audience of approximately 15 million unique visitors.