The Classic at Silverstone reaches new global audience with ambitious plans from Aurora Media Worldwide
Aurora Media Worldwide has helped classic car fans celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Classic at Silverstone with two firsts for the three-day event. Aurora live streamed The Classic globally for the first time in its history, and also produced two highlight programmes that will air on ITV4.
The Classic, the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, was live streamed over the weekend of 30 July to 1 August by Aurora as part of a new three-year deal that the production company announced in July.
“We basically saw a full three day event property that we could do a lot more with for them, and went above and beyond”
Aurora produced 21 races over the three days of the event, which included over 900 race entries and a six figure audience attendance. As well as on the track action, a host of off the track activity was covered, including festivals, competitions, celebrity appearances and live music.
In addition to Aurora’s live and highlights broadcast output for The Classic, it also successfully partnered with The Classic team on digital and social content, providing digital strategy, a social content studio and social channel management services pre, during and post event.
Above and beyond
Tamara Drew, Aurora Media Worldwide client director, comments on how Aurora won the contract from Silverstone for the Classic: “This was an untapped proposition because the Classic has been going for 30 years now, but had never been live streamed; the programme that [Silverstone] made only went out on ITV, literally two showings and then was archived and never distributed anywhere after that.
“We basically saw a full three day event property that we could do a lot more with for them, and went above and beyond,” continues Drew. “The tender was literally asking for somebody to come in and do the live OB and produce one show. We kind of threw that on top of its head and basically said, “we want to do that, but we want to do two ITV shows, we want to live stream it, and we want to distribute it globally as well,” which is what we’ve done with it.”
The live stream went out on The Classic’s own YouTube channel and on Motorvision TV throughout Europe, as well as Silverstone’s partner websites.
Adds Drew: “Considering that [Silverstone] only announced [the live stream] on the Tuesday prior to the event because they were also trying to keep pushing ticket sales up until that point, we got over 80,000 views over the weekend on a brand new property that nobody knew about. So we’re quite pleased with that.”
On the challenges for the production, Drew says: “The weather was horrendous, so that brings with it its own technical challenges with cameras going down. The lenses were misting up because of the rain, so we were continually swapping lenses out throughout the day when it was really rainy. It was literally biblical on the Friday; cars were aquaplaning around and they had to stop a couple of races.”
This year the production was done on a tight budget, but Drew hopes that in 2022 she will be able to bring in tech such as drones. She continues on what she would like to evolve on the production next year: “I think what we want to do next year is to make more of the presenters with RF cameras to get more content that can be used across all of the platforms. So on YouTube and Facebook and Instagram, we were focused on covering the podium so that [designated presenter] had to watch all of the races, which sometimes were 40 minutes, 50 minutes long, which took that presenter out of being able to create additional content during that time. So I would like that to change next year. I felt like we left a lot on the cutting room floor as it were because of this tie to the podium, so I’d like to re-look at that for next year.”
The production was carried out on location, bar some of the digital channel management, which was carried out off site as the two members of staff that should have carried out that function on location were ‘pinged’ by the NHS app, and had to self-isolate.
Aurora provided a large OB van through its technical partner, NEP, as well as 10 track cameras and two RF cameras doing the live stream, which were taken by streaming company, Switch Power. The director was Aurora’s Sean Hughes.
Barry Flanigan, chief strategy officer, Aurora Media Worldwide, comments: “We were really pleased to be able to support The Classic with digital content and audience development for its social channels, in addition to our broadcast output. This helped to deepen the engagement of existing fans as well as bringing in new audiences to the brand, including reaching a broader global audience who couldn’t attend the event in person.
“It was a great example of how great digital content can play an integrated and complementary part to broadcast, helping to grow global fan bases,” Flanigan adds.
Drew sums up: “It went really well. We were really pleased with the coverage. We’re currently editing the two ITV highlight shows which go out soon.”
The highlights shows, hosted by Tiff Needell and Nicki Shields, will be screened on back-to-back evenings on ITV4 at 8pm on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 August, with repeats on Sunday 15 August and Sunday 29 August.
Highlights of what Aurora produced:
- Pre-event – in the build-up we created video, graphics and image-based content for social activation on The Classic channels, to help drive awareness and sell tickets
- During the event it live streamed all three days on YouTube and Facebook. This involved more than 30 hours of streaming
- As well as managing livestream operations, it provided community management and marketing on the platforms, including cross-posting of the streams with social pages of key partners, including sponsors MOTUL and partner Silverstone Circuits
- The streams pulled in hundreds of thousands of views from an audience of classic motor racing fans around the word. Aurora had viewers not just in the UK but everywhere from Moscow to California, Melbourne to Madrid
- In addition to the livestreams, the Aurora team also created more than 200 pieces of video and image-based content during the event for The Classic social channels. In addition to producing the content it managed the publishing and audience development activity across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, extending the capabilities of the in-house marketing team at The Classic
- It is now working on creating additional highlights, behind the scenes footage and social films to further engage fans in the weeks following the event