The Economics Of YouTube, And The Death (And Rebirth) Of /DRIVE

/DRIVE -- one of the most innovative, most interesting and most flat-out awesome channels on YouTube -- is moving to a per-month subscription model on YouTube for its wildly popular motoring videos. It's not a shameless cash grab, though; it's just necessary for the team to survive.

In an explanation on PistonHeads, /DRIVE frontman and motoring journalist Chris Harris says that when the channel was born in 2011, it was funded by YouTube for two years. After that arrangement ended in 2013, the team had to make alternative plans to keep the show going.

Splashing out £9000 for production costs on a video like the Ferrari F50 vs F40 track battle, /DRIVE has only made £4800 in advertising revenue in the 11 months since that video hit the world's largest video sharing website. The trend continues with the other content that the team produces, and they get only 55 per cent of the total ad money with the rest going straight to YouTube's coffers. The plan that they've come up with is that to survive, a flat-rate per-month subscription fee is necessary -- on a new channel that will host the same 10-15 minute videos as you're used to watching for free, as well as newer segments and longer, more detailed reviews.

In Australia, a monthly subscription to the new /DRIVE+ channel will set you back $3.49. In the US, it's $3.99. Wherever you are, if you think about it, that's a small price to pay for the kind of TV that the /DRIVE team does. They have created some of the most amazing car videos you'll ever watch; the last two years of video from /DRIVE on YouTube is like Top Gear, but with more cars, more automotive insight and more action.

The existing /DRIVE channel will remain, and it'll still be regularly updated, but the videos will be shorter, and you'll see more teasers for the full-length clips on /DRIVE+. So even if you don't want to pay, you'll still be able to watch all the supercars and tuner cars that you could ever want, and through ads you'll still be contributing at least a little to the bottom line.

Here's a guide on how /DRIVE will be operating in the future, what it will cost and what you can expect from the 10th series of the online car show. Given the absolutely amazing videos that the /DRIVE team have created in the past, they have my $3.49 per month locked away already. I'll even subscribe for an entire year, sight unseen. It's important that we contribute to the success of the things that we love -- even if they have been ours for free in the past -- and I know that I for one would be less happy without /DRIVE in my life.

Here's a look at what season 10 will bring.

And here's just a few of the many reasons why you, too, should pay for /DRIVE and keep it alive. [PistonHeads]

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