F1’s just the start, we see tremendous potential in motorsport: FanCode

    Yannick Colaco said the streaming platform is heavily invested in motorsport because of its “engaged and enthusiastic base of users”.

    Published On May 25, 2024 10:40:00 AM

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    F1 claims it has 60 million fans in India. But just as the championship was zooming in popularity—in no small part driven by the success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive docu-series—last year, it was left without any TV broadcast in the country after the deal with Star Sports expired. Instead, F1 TV was made available for a hefty annual fee of Rs 2,999. 

    Enter FanCode. Earlier this year, the sports streaming platform acquired exclusive rights to stream F1 and its various support series in India. And the big draw is its affordable subscription packages, ranging from Rs 49 to Rs 599, depending on the duration. Since then, it has also added DTM to its roster.

    In conversation with Autocar India, FanCode co-founder Yannick Colaco revealed the company is “deeply invested” in motorsport and is actively in talks with other championships.

    1. FanCode currently streams F1, DTM in India
    2. Most F1 fans opting for the annual season pass
    3. FanCode looking at hosting more offline screenings

    FanCode in talks to stream more motorsport

    Both of FanCode’s co-founders come from a sports business background. In fact, Colaco was the former managing director of the NBA (National Basketball Association) in India. And the insights he gained during that stint have shaped FanCode’s business model. Rather than focusing on a small number of heavy hitters like the IPL and FIFA World Cup, the platform is focusing on a large number of niche sports.

    “What we’ve always been focused on is providing the fans access to underserved sports content,” Colaco explained. “We don’t get into mass-following marquee events like the IPL or Indian cricket.”

    It’s a strategy that makes a lot of sense. While series like the IPL are well-covered in mainstream media, less-distributed events provide plenty of untapped market potential. This is precisely why FanCode wants to double down on motorsport.

    “We see tremendous market potential [in motorsport], which is why we’re so invested in it. We want to go deeper into motorsport because we think it has a really engaged and enthusiastic base of users,” said Colaco. The platform seeks to provide motorsport fans with an entire gamut of content that they can watch throughout the year. So, it is looking at some other partnerships, too, he added.

    “It also helps that in F2 and DTM we have two Indian drivers: Arjun and Kush Maini. We want to try to produce new fans, too, using the fact that Indians are participating in these events and doing well.”

    Sachetising content

    As for the deal with F1, FanCode had been in talks with the championship for over a year, revealed Colaco. “F1 wasn’t distributed [in India] last year. We had a lot of feedback from some of our fans, basically asking, ‘Can you guys bring Formula 1 in?’ We want to focus on digital, and F1 traditionally has bundled TV and digital rights. So, I think that discussion and that evolution took quite a few months,” he added.

    FanCode also offers a rather unique subscription model: fans can either purchase an annual pass or subscribe to watch individual races. “We’ve always looked at sachetising consumption for two reasons. One is to allow people who don’t know our platform to try it out before they make a longer-term commitment. Second is [for] people who are sampling the content for the first time,” Colaco explained.

    He told Autocar India that the majority of F1 subscriptions so far have been for the annual pass. And even those who initially opted for the weekend pass have been upgrading to the season pass after a few weeks.

    FanCode has over 100 million users, and this figure is expected to grow following the platform’s recent deal with Jio, wherein Jio will provide a free FanCode subscription (for 365 days) with select internet plans.

    Offline F1 screenings, merchandise

    Going forward, FanCode will explore more content to further engage racing fans in India; this will include race analyses, driver interviews, and more. And Colaco said this won’t involve any additional charges. “The live [stream] is what we put behind a paywall. Everything else we do—including highlights, snippets, a little bit of analysis; we’ve done interviews with Kush Maini—that’s all free. It’s just about getting the word out to F1 fans.”

    Fans can also expect more offline screenings. “We definitely think that building the community is something that will really help us get people more excited about the races,” he added.

    Besides live streaming, FanCode has also delved into the world of sports merchandising. “If we’re building a platform for sports fans, the two things that they really love are, obviously, the live content and displaying their passion through wearing official merchandise,” said Colaco.

    FanCode has done this with cricket and football. In F1, it has partnerships with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull. “We want to try and find more ways to get official merchandise to fans at affordable prices.”

    Also see:

    Kush Maini on F2 title battle: My confidence is high

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.

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