Clarkson, Hammond and May’s car culture website is shutting down and here’s why…
We love Clarkson, Hammond, and May for their days at Top Gear (and of course the Grand Tour!), and Drive Tribe, the trio’s car culture website more for the faces behind it than for the actual content! On the most disappointing note, DriveTribe has now announced its plans to stop its operations by the end of January 2022.
The website was started in 2016 (alongside the premiere of Grand Tour on Amazon) by the trio and their producer Andy Wilman and has had immense acceptance among the motorheads during its 5-year run. CEO Ernesto Schmitt used to handle the operations, while Clarkson, Hammond, and May pulled the crowds in!
On the business front, DriveTribe was far from profitable. A few English dailies had earlier revealed that the site started earning only in 2018. Multiple sources also reported in 2018 that DriveTribe had lost more than $16 million in just two years of operation! (How many hypercars could you have bought with that money?!) The company had then blamed most of this on ‘administrative costs’.
Ask who lost here? Well, the Drivetribe website was funded mainly by Clarkson, May, Hammond, Andy Wilman, and Ernesto Schmitt, but also had backups from big names like 21st Century Fox. Even though many might confuse Amazon to be a stakeholder in it, no part of Drive Tribe is owned by the American retailer network.
Fast forward to 2022, Drivetribe puts the blame for its closure on ‘industry challenges and diminishing marketing budgets’! The quasi-social website had both user-generated and editorial content to serve but depended solely on ad revenue. With the chip shortage and pandemic in place, automotive manufacturers are having hard times in business. The market as such is slow and almost all brands have chopped massive chunks off their marketing budgets. Drivetribe quotes these as the reasons for its shut-down. (If or not these are, is a different question though!)
The company will call off the DriveTribe and FoodTribe websites and apps later this month, putting an end to the businesses that entail them. The Youtube channels and communities there would, however, continue to exist and be in publishing. Those who have published content on the website can download and keep them for any personal reference in the future. DT even has a guide on how to do this…