The latest news in the ongoing Formula One Management social media cycle was revealed today, as it emerged that FOM will be creating official F1 channels on both YouTube and Facebook in the near future.
As noted in a detailed Q&A session with Bernie Ecclestone and Marissa Pace (FOM’s Digital Media Manager) on the Forbes website, Pace noted that the plan for FOM is to begin with Twitter, as happened back in Singapore, moving onto YouTube and eventually Facebook. “We are rebuilding Formula1.com and from Singapore onwards you may have noticed we have taken a more active role in social media so, starting with Twitter, we started in Singapore carrying on through to Youtube in the future and eventually Facebook when we get it past the legal team”, Pace said.
Pace, who was part of Kangaroo TV, noted that the “impressions were over 80 million from Singapore until the end of the season. Impressions is anybody who has seen the @F1 content that we pushed out”, whilst lastly confirming the news that James Allen revealed last month, stating that the official Formula 1 website is being rebuilt from the ground up. The new website will contain a membership area, Pace did not specify whether the membership area would be free or pay to use. If it was pay, I can’t say I would be enticed to sign up unless there were some valuable extras, for example access to (present or past) some of FOM’s archive which has been hyped up a bit given that it was part of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, the winners of which were announced today.
The YouTube content, according to Pace, will be similar to the content currently on the app, something that Ecclestone agreed with, Ecclestone himself noting that content such as the driver pen interviews would not “hurt anybody and it’s good and interesting because it’s instant.” Ecclestone rejected the notion that their YouTube channel would contain any race action, which should not be too much of a surprise given the nature of the current broadcasting contracts. It is difficult to know when the YouTube and Facebook will happen, I hope FOM has presence on both platforms in time for the 2015 season.
It is clear, as has been the case before, that Ecclestone himself does not understand social media. “People in here tell me that we need social media because it is good for us. It’s better than Aspirin. Since people have been breaking my balls about social media I have been looking at this Twitter thing and I can’t see anything on there except [Mercedes motorsport boss] Toto Wolff and one of my daughters and I thought people put things on there, how does that help Formula One?”, Ecclestone says in the Q&A.
Commenting further on social media, Ecclestone said “If it works, the whole point about this I believe, is to encourage people to watch television. I’m not sure, and I have always thought ‘does it actually do that’ and I don’t know. So probably in a year’s time I shall be looking for figures to see what has happened. The only trouble about that is that if there are more people watching television is it because of this or because there are more people watching television?”
An interesting line from the piece is that their social media team only has eight people. I would assume that does not include the people developing the app and the website, otherwise that would be an extremely small group of people. As I’ve said before, it is good again to see FOM heading in the right direction with social media, and this is just further evidence. Whether they are moving as quickly as some people would like, that is up for debate…