Last weekend’s Six Hours of Silverstone marked a new era for the FIA World Endurance Championship in more than one way, including the debut of its new official second-screen App.
Thousands of people downloaded the free interactive app, available for iOS and Android devices, which also provides live video streaming, on board cameras, timing and scoring for a premium fee ($27 USD) for the entire season (except Le Mans).
“We launched the FIA WEC application last Friday at Silverstone and the initial figures from the key markets indicate that this application is proving to be very popular with the fans,” said FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
“Our goal as always has been to satisfy our fans and to attract some new ones; this is why we chose a really attractive price. By purchasing the season pack, the Full Live costs less than €3 ($4 USD) per race. And if we look at what the application provides, this is more than a money-making investment, it’s about providing the fans with a whole new way of following endurance racing.
“Our ambition is to make from this Second Screen App fully dedicated to WEC as an interactive platform, attractive and accessible across the entire world. You cannot win the world title in one race but within a full season; this is the same situation for an application.”
In light of a number of questions surrounding the new app, the FIA WEC has provided the below Q&A to help answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions.
Previous years’ races were free for live streaming. Why do we have to pay for live streaming this year?
It is a second screen programme. We have with our partners involved in the WEC a long term strategy. It means we want to increase the different support we can offer for the fans and for the potential new followers. This strategy forces us to follow some rules that are regulated by the audiovisual market.
If the live streaming is free for all, this will cause problems for our first screen broadcasters. First screen participants, such as our TV Broadcaster, will not sign a contract if the content is available for free in an application. In addition if the cornerstone of the app is the video, it will go far beyond just a streamed video and will include more functionality.
Apple’s terms and conditions are such that if you pay for a premium application, you cannot have the same product available on any other device for free.
It is the only motorsport app with a full live experience and this weekend has already proved its success. We’ve developed greatly the service already provided for the Fans.
Why do I have to pay for each device?
The first objective was to launch the mobile application for the beginning of the 2014 season. The In App Purchase pack is linked to Apple or Google or Web accounts, thus there is no link possible between those different platforms. Nevertheless, you can use the same purchase on different devices running on the same system. For example the same purchase will be valid for your iPhone & your iPad.
We definitely want to provide the cross platform experience and we will work hard on this in order to find an appropriate solution but it needs some time to develop. We assure you that we are definitely working on it.
Why was the Timing & Scoring was behind a pay wall?
That was a configuration error which will be corrected from the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Moving forward we will provide a free Live Timing experience for every session of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Why such a late announcement?
First of all we didn’t have anything to show to the public before the qualifying session, and we have to say we weren’t prepare for such a success. After only one day without even promoting it the figures were higher than expected.
In order to ensure that the app was ready and running well we had to test it at the Official Test, The Prologue in Le Castellet, with a full TV set up. Once this test was complete we applied further updates to ensure that the app would work at the opening round at Silverstone, which was the first televised session, qualifying for the 6 Hours of Silverstone on Saturday 19 April.
Why is the 24 Hours of Le Mans not included in the season package?
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a very different event and while it is part of the FIA WEC the rights for this event are separate. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is preparing a switch over after the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps which will include some modifications to enhance the fans’ experience using this app for Le Mans.
Will the application remain the same during all the 2014 season?
The FIA WEC® launched this brand new app for all our fans. This App is designed to bring the best live experience possible. We are listening to all the feedback we receive and we will develop and evolve this application throughout the season.
As we develop the application we will also introduce new and exciting features that will be unveiled during the year.