Posted on April 26, 2016 by staff

Clarkson, Hammond and May to launch DriveTribe platform


Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are launching an online community for motoring enthusiasts.

The much-loved trio are heading up DriveTribe, a digital media platform which will allow users to subscribe to the ‘tribe’ that most closely reflects their interests.

Content will be generated by motoring celebrities, journalists and users and target a wide range of people from muscle car lovers to classic car aficionados.

Clarkson, Hammond and May will host their own ‘tribes’.

The former BBC stars co-founded the platform with Andy Wilman, a long-time TV collaborator, and tech entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt.

It is set to launch in the autumn, around the same time as their new Amazon Prime streaming TV show, and will also have iOS and Android apps.

“Gamers have got Twitch, travellers have got TripAdvisor and fashion fans have got, oh, something or other too,” Hammond told TechCrunch.

“But people who are into cars have got nowhere. There’s no grand-scale online motoring community where people can meet and share video, comments, information and opinion.

“DriveTribe will change that. And then some.”

The project already has a holding site and profiles on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

CEO Schmitt said: “Automotive and adventure-lifestyle are huge growth areas for content, and are presently woefully underserved digitally.

“Automotive is also the biggest advertising category in the world – with $45 billion media spend projected for 2016 – and we expect our content will monetise well through native advertising and social commerce.”

The tech behind the project is a versioning engine and multi-variate testing system which TechCrunch said will trial “hundreds of different versions” of content on different segments of users.

That could be defined by age, gender, location and interests, with optimal matches sent to users’ various social media timelines.

According to Schmitt, the content distribution model will be “50% technology and 50% content. But the tech stack is world-class. We will invest same proportion into R&D as we do into content”.

James May said: “This is pure digital inclusivity. Some of the world’s most endangered tribes – Volvo enthusiasts, for example – will now have a voice as loud as everyone else’s.”

DriveTribe’s CTO is Jonathan Morris, who served in similar roles at the Financial Times online and Thompson Reuters.