/DRIVE Returns, Goes with Subscription Service

The YouTube-based /DRIVE automotive video channel has been on a hiatus, and if you’re anything like us then you’ve been eagerly awaiting its return. Well, in that regard, there’s good news and some come-to-reckoning news. First, it’s back. Second, it needs to make money in order to remain and as such the feature-length content will now be offered via a subscription service called /DRIVE+.

I first heard about the scenario back at the Geneva Auto Show. Just next to the Abt Sportsline RS6-R show car, I ran into Audi owner and /DRIVE creator J.F. Musial. After catching up on all things video and automotive, talk turned to the future of the channel in the post YouTube investment world. You see, /DRIVE had gotten two years worth of funding from YouTube, and after that they had to make it on their own. J.F. mentioned the subscription, and that sounded just fine to us.

Now, some will grouse. I get that. No one wants to pay for things they don’t have to, but in my opinion (and also Chris Harris’)… well… you have to.

/DRIVE has re-set the bar in the automotive scene, making household names out of truly legitimate and genuine car journos like UK writer and hot shoe Chris Harris, Jalopnik founder Mike Spinelli, The Smoking Tire founder Matt Farah, and the geekiest of sport coat and t-shirt wearing motorsport geeks Leo Parente. Finally, there’s also the aforementioned Mr. Musial.

/DRIVE has also re-set the bar on what it means to craft truly creative and fresh content, skipping past the 4-star bed and 5-course fed hamster wheel that is the automotive press launch game. Their enthusiasm is through the charts and their street cred is amongst the highest in the enthusiast set.

We here at Vortex Media Group tried this once. No, not with video, but just after launching Fourtitude we also launched an online magazine with a mission to re-set the bar. We hired a pre-Car & Driver Eddie Alterman to run it, a pre-AWOL.tv J.J. Larson to design it and staffed it with a hot mix of writers. We took out a business loan and learned very quickly that you can blow through it all before anyone with any ad dollars to spend even takes notice. I know this because while Motive Magazine was launched years ago, we’ll finally make our last payment on the business loan it took to operate Motive by early next year.

The fact is, quality publishing entities don’t exist in a vacuum. Those same economies that cause some magazines like Eurotuner to go away, and others like Automobile and Road & Track to go through serious reorganizations are the same ones that caused us to shutter Motive and caused /DRIVE to go with a subscription fee. New media or old… we all require money to run and we all require our readers (or viewers in the case of /DRIVE) to survive and thrive.

So yeah, I could turn this into a pitch as to why you should support this site, post in our forums and support our advertisers. I’ll lift off on that more selfish theme here though and hope you get that subtext on your own. In the meantime, let’s focus on /DRIVE.

J.F. explained to me next to that Abt Audi RS 6-R that the way to keep it around and to fund their mission is to charge a reasonable subscription. Other models had been explored, and this was the most solid plan. Subscriptions are good. Subscriptions are what keeps them doing credible and authentic content while others will push you the latest PR photos and uninformed driving impressions in hopes to sell you a car or at least get a seat on the next press launch. Subscribe to /DRIVE. It’s worth it and you won’t be disappointed.

Subscribe to /DRIVE+ HERE: YouTube.com/DRIVEplus