Blog

Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

Thoughts on Motor Trend going subscription model

One of my favorite car-related Youtube channels was Motor Trend. I say was because about a month ago Motor Trend took its amazing content and put it entirely behind a pay-wall on a dedicated website. I can still watch videos for free, but not without numerous ads littered throughout. Suffice it to say I did not follow Motor Trend’s exodus from Youtube. The videos are wonderful and entertaining (who doesn’t love Roadkill?), but the friction of having to go to another site is difficult to overcome. 

And I can’t be the only person. 

Indeed Youtube’s monetization model can’t possibly be sustainable for Motor Trend’s surely armada of personnel producing its videos. Supposedly the payout per one play of a video on Youtube is lower than the already absurd 0.007% of one cent per-stream earning to the artist on Spotify. Difficult for Motor Trend to feed its crew when 1 million views returns a scant $4,000 dollars. Only the Doug DeMuros of the world - one man operation with super low production value and cost - can make a decent living within than framework. 

So I understand completely why Motor Trend moved to a proprietary subscription platform. As an artist myself I appreciate the fundamental of creators getting paid for their output. 

However, Youtube is such a juggernaut in providing potential eyeballs. I bet Motor Trend’s pure viewership count have dropped significantly once it went off the platform, due partly to people’s unwillingness to pay for a monthly subscription, and due partly to viewers like me who can’t be bothered to leave Youtube. I don't wish ill towards the team: I hope Motor Trend has got enough subscribers to sustain them for a long long time. 

Few years ago another car Youtube channel I also favored called 'Drive' did the same as Motor Trend and put its content behind a subscription. The number of paying customers was more than enough to keep the lights on, but the raw view count on the videos decreased so dramatically that car manufacturers became reluctant to lend them cars to test - the kiss-of-death for an automotive channel focused on new cars. Needless to say Drive did not survive its prosperity. 

A historic and renowned publication like Motor Trend wouldn't have that problem, right? 

 The one man mowing band. 

The one man mowing band.