New tech platform targets 1.8 billion F1 fans
Formula One is anticipating the launch of a new social platform which uses technology to serve content to fans of all motorsports.
MotorMouth is set to launch ahead of the new Formula One season in March 2019 and will deliver live timing and news edited using artificial intelligence techniques. It will also allow fans to create profiles and congregate around topics and interests.
The business is the brainchild of Tim Silvey, who has been heavily involved in driver management, team sponsorship and hospitality for a number of years.
“We've already got quite a lot of drivers who are keen to sign up and have a profile on MotorMouth – a bit like the Twitter certified blue tick,” he told BusinessCloud.
“It's fair to say there are plenty of drivers, sponsors and teams looking forward to the launch in early 2019.
“We're pretty much ready to go but we want to make sure our F1 data is absolutely on point before we launch. It serves you information like fastest laps, lap-times, air pressure, outside track temperatures and driver standings which update in real time.”
For its news section, MotorMouth has partnered with a company which uses machine learning to scrape content from the internet and reduce it to bite-size form.
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“If a thousand-word article has been published online by one of the open-source websites [we’ve identified as trusted], it takes that and turns it into 12-15 lines of copy – the same content but reduced,” he explained.
“It’s in perfect English and it looks like it's been written by us. It's a system used by quite a lot of companies in other sectors. It’s continually updated – I use it myself to keep up to date on what's happening in various motorsports.”
As well as popular series such as Formula E, Rallycross, WRC and IndyCar, Silvey says MotorMouth will “serve fans of pretty much every motorsport that is covered on the internet”.
“Formula One is the focus because it's the low-hanging fruit – it's the biggest and most well-known series – but we want to be wider than that and have something for everybody,” he said.
After initial ‘friends and family’ investment of £15,000 to get the app and website off the ground, a first funding round proper currently stands at £140k and will be closed in the next two weeks. A second larger round will then likely follow in the next four-to-six months.
“That will go a long way for us,” said Silvey. “There is an opportunity here to create a bespoke motorsport platform similar to Dugout.com in football. That started three or four years ago and is now doing ridiculously large fundraises.
“Formula One is becoming better with its digital reach but it's still hugely behind in terms of other sports. There's no one really taking advantage of the 1.8 billion people that watch F1 every year.
“We're hopeful that we're in at the right time – but equally it is a land grab because people aren’t going to be asleep forever and will wake up and realise that motorsport has a platform you can really leverage.”
Future plans include live streaming of events, premium content such as video and eCommerce opportunities such as selling race tickets and hotel rooms through the platform.
“We are also looking to work with F1 teams down the line: if we have an audience of a million of their fans, we can create marketing content for them exclusively that they can share from MotorMouth.
“Having in-house production gives us that flexibility – we can follow them a week before a race, create a nice video and share that with our followers.”
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