THE rumours are true; TEN: The Entertainment Network – the company responsible for Roadkill, Hot Rod Garage and many more online gearhead shows – is forming a new joint venture with Discovery Communications, the monster-sized parent company behind the pay TV mob, Discovery Channel.
At this stage, no money has changed hands – Discovery brings its Velocity pay TV shows, its video library and is the majority partner. TEN brings all of its digital, social, video and live offerings, including Motor Trend on Demand. The magazine side of TEN’s business – that is Hot Rod, Motor Trend and many others – are not part of the deal, though they will be used for cross-promotion.
For the two companies, the aim is to maximise their appeal in advertising land – and with a claimed combined audience of 150 million, they will have some fairly heavy clout in the market. It is also a chance for Discovery to branch out from the pay TV model and try the direct-to-consumer model offered by Motor Trend on Demand.
And what does this all mean to the consumer? At this stage, what we know is that all the shows currently available on Velocity will now be available for streaming through Motor Trend on Demand app. Most of us in the Street Machine office have had a MTOD subscription at some stage. While shows like Roadkill are available for free on YouTube, MTOD subscribers get each episode a month early and have access to some app-only shows, such as Roadkill Extra and Roadkill Garage.
Whether some of TEN’s offerings will appear on Velocity is yet unknown, as is the potential impact of the deal on TEN’s YouTube offerings - but given that YouTube is such a vital part of Roadkill’s DNA, you’d have to think they’d be unlikely to risk enraging such a loyal and engaged fan base by tampering with the formula.
The reaction online today to the news ranged from optimistic to outraged, as the fans speculated at how the joint venture could potentially affect Roadkill’s tone and editorial integrity. Roadkill’s David Freiburger responded to one such comment on the Roadkill Facebook page, saying “I’m not sure if Roadkill will even be on cable…if it is, I’ll fight for the same way we’ve always done things. We are hugely successful, so why would they want to change us?”
Ignition shows coming to Motor Trend on Demand include:
- Wheeler Dealers
- Bitchin’ Rides
- Barett-Jackson Live
- Speed Is The New Black
- Iron Resurrection
- The Auto Firm with Alex Vega
- Garage Squad