The Social Dilemma. What does a Netflix documentary about the dark side of social media have to do with the World Rally Championship?
Let me explain.
Rightly or wrongly, my takeaway from the docudrama was how the key principles of machine learning led to the polarisation of people’s opinions, beliefs, and interests.
So as the WRC reaches new heights with its All Live coverage, is it at risk of embedding itself in a corner of die-hard rally fans while remaining silent to potential new audiences?
After all, WRC+ brought an end to free live World Rally coverage in the form of Rally Radio.
Thankfully, Rally Insight has Becs Williams on hand to share a more positive outlook on my miserable synopsis.
“I would be amazed if non-rally fans stumbled upon Rally Radio,” the WRC commentator admitted. “So yes it was free but even the most ardent rally fan struggled to find the radio on the website at times.
“It’s a difficult one.
“I think what All Live brings, and what the WRC Promoter has done is open up everything within the WRC.
“Our social media channels were dreadful prior to them coming in.
“Everything takes time and things didn’t happen immediately but big change happened not so long after they came in 2012.
“By the time we got to 2018 we had WRC Live and in between, they had improved the television product and the social media channels had skyrocketed.
“There is far more going on with social media now and there is a big push to get rallying into new areas of television and print, to reach a new audience.
“All Live opens up the ability for social to use clips that can go into the wider world to be seen by people who are just scrolling Facebook.”
Social media, whether it’s Twitter or TikTok, is absolutely critical. Thankfully the WRC Promoter caught on just in time and the World Rally Championship is currently one of the most followed motorsport channels on the planet.
At the heart of online growth is the quality of content which in a roundabout way brings us back to WRC All Live. While All Live remains a premium, subscription service the use of its most thrilling snippets on Facebook, Instagram… reaches millions of people every time.
As Williams rightly stated, despite All Live’s direct audience being already converted rally fans, the never-seen-before content it provides is everything the social media channels need to reach new people.
Then, if Google and its artificial intelligence wizardry do the trick, maybe just maybe somebody new will chance a go at WRC+.
It’s at that point we need to trust the WRC to deliver its best. Whether it’s a night-time pass of Monte-Carlo’s ice-ridden asphalt or the merciless drama of Rally Turkey and Cetibeli.
And all-importantly as far as Williams is concerned, there is nothing more exciting than world rallying.
“The first 20 minutes of All Live, when it was my turn to commentate, I didn’t want to speak because I was so blown away by what I was seeing.
“In the radio days, all I had was the official timing screen with the splits, overall times, and a tracking map.
“Now, you can see exactly what is going on. There have been so many times when we have been live with a driver that something has happened.
“We are all experiencing that at the same time, together.”
In Rally Insight’s final feature with Becs Williams, we look at one final piece that could complete WRC’s coverage puzzle.
Photos courtesy of M-Sport and Red Bull Content Pool