With the recent closure of Carfection, it needs to be said that automotive youtube is no joke. Even if you put loads of money into hiring presenters, producers, film crew as well as shoot in the best of the best locations like scotland or even hire tracks for track days, you are still not immune from not making dough out of it. And it is of no pleasure of me or any content creator who is into the automotive space to be writing this as even if carfection failed, I need to say thank you to each and everyone who spent their time in creating the pieces we car enthusiasts put on pedestals and aim to be as perfect as them. It was fun while it lasted. But like it always is, good things come to an end and in this case a very sad end as this channel will be sorely missed.
Firstly lets look into how it started and was it doomed from the beginning? Carfection originally began as Xcar and later carfection which tried to do things in the classic old fashioned way with professional equipment and persons. This way even if adored by many wasn’t financially incentivizing the main organization. For people who were part of it, they were getting paid for things like film crew who are paid about rs.70,000 per day. For editing say about Rs. 25000 to Rs. 60000 per project. Then factor in price for logistics such as car, petrol or any repair fund if needed. It was a heavy cash inflow type of business to begin with. Especially with channels like carfection eg. Drivetribe or Lovecars they were not running in profit and they had the crème de la crème with Hammond, May and Clarkson or their knockoffs from Fifth Gear with the legend that it Mr. Tiff Needel.
As of today, carfection has 1.02 million subscribers and their last video which was on a Ferrari 550 maranello gained 122k views. The other videos have views like 68k, 37k, 50k or as low as 17k. Views like these even if dream number for someone like us with 50k subscribers, they are not huge for sustained profit from Ad sense which is the money you get when you monetize your videos through letting youtube play ads on it. This amount anyways is vastly different across many niches and sadly for car content, it is not really high. And these videos had cool cars like Mercedes EQS, Ferrari 365 Daytona and Rolls Royce Spectre. If these aren’t cool cars which should have millions of views then I don’t know what is.
Then what went wrong? The perfect host in Henry Catchpole, filming crew just as good as top gear and editing as good as Peter Mckinnon. The answer is in the question. They tried to do it the way people used to do on TV. Put it simply, TV requires high quality content and film crew as they have the money to fund it from production houses who have connections with multiple sponsors who are willing to pay for the expenses as they feel it is this advertising which is gaining them loads of sales. Thankfully more have shifted towards social media advertising but because it is cheaper and on a smaller scale. A simple track day can cost a full 3 day film as much as 10 lakhs. A Scotland roadtrip may cost more 6 lakhs. And the saga continues. What may sound incredibly disrespectful but harsh truth is often videos which are shot at a much lower cost may give you more views. For eg. Jayemm on Cars filmed a video documentary filming the history of Bentley costed a lot whereas filiming the economics of a top gear cheap car challenge calculation costed way less. The result was one video got more than 10x the views of the other. Guess which one it was? Put it simply, tinkering with cars in a traditional way costs a lot more whereas small scale videos gain a lot more views. Production crew because of what is at stake would not film the latter type therefore incurring loss. To summarise, you cant pay everyone and still expect to make a profit.
But you may ask there are youtubers like shmee150, harry’s garage, tavarish with car trek do crazy stuff with cars and still stay in profit. Hows that possible? Well, channels like them don’t have entire crews to pay for so keep a bigger chunk of profit with them. That’s the simple answer. So what to do then? The best part is there are two ways you can go into car youtube. Firstly get a job to prioritise spending on your car or others cars and do it as a pure passion and acquire skills like video editing, presenting etc. second way is if you are rich like motor trend dump a whole lot of cash and be in a place like US to barely scraping a living out of it. I know a lot of you will choose the first option. But that wont give you the picture perfect content everyone craves or will it? You need to know one last thing when companies who have evil ruthless board of directors who say its not working lets shut it off, its been a loss making outfit for a decade. There are a whole lot of other companies who feel, “hmm we could do it better” and therefore welcome content creation channels like Hagerty or Car Trek sponsored by Autotempest. The unique part of these ventures is they have something to show up for once the car content is over in the form of Insurance or Car Buying Website. This allows them to spend this money as they can adjust entries to close out their monthly profit and loss statement and debit “Advertising Expense” account and credit their “Prepaid Advertising” asset Account. Hopefully this article helped you in gaining some sense in just getting a job and dream n drool over your dream car.