NASCAR Takes the Online Experience Offline With DeskSite
When connected to internet, free app automatically downloads latest HD race videos
Race fans don’t need a TV, cable subscription, or even a live internet connection to enjoy NASCAR. All they need is the NASCAR DeskSite application, which enables them to play all the race action they want whenever the urge hits them.
NASCAR partnered with DeskSite, which bills itself as the DVR for the internet, to create an application just for car-racing fans. The new NASCAR DeskSite app is free and, when connected to the internet, automatically downloads the latest HD race videos. Fans can watch those videos whenever they want — even when they’re not online — with guaranteed buffer-free playback.
The NASCAR DeskSite is available for Windows and Mac desktops and laptops. Although iOS and Android apps aren’t available yet, they are in the works and should appear later this year. By default, the NASCAR DeskSite will store 7 GB of videos; the amount is customizable and can be anything from 2 GB to 20 GB. When the storage is full, DeskSite automatically deletes older material. A half-hour video is about 250 MB. The application itself is a 5-MB install on Macs, 15-MB on Windows.
Why create an offline experience when the trend is for live, streaming, connected experiences? Because today’s fans (especially younger ones) “want access when they want it,” explains Sarah Davis, senior director of content rights and partnerships, NASCAR Digital Media. “If they’ve missed a press conference or an interview, they can search that, and it’s available on their desktop.”
DeskSite users can organize downloaded content to highlight a favorite race series or hide content they’re not interested in. In the future, they’ll be able to organize videos by team or driver, Davis adds.
NASCAR inked its multi-year partnership with DeskSite last year, and the two worked together for six months creating this application. DeskSite took the lead in crafting the look and feel, with NASCAR sending input and branding elements. The application carries advertisements, which keeps the experience free.
Now that it’s up and running, NASCAR delivers new video to DeskSite automatically through a feed. Following every race, the league makes new content available. DeskSite handles all video processing in-house, downloading material to fans the next time they’re online.
“When I got to my computer this morning, there was new video that had been uploaded,” Davis says. “I got a notification on my NASCAR DeskSite app that said, ‘You’ve got video,’ which indicated to me that new video had been uploaded.”
DeskSite lets fans can enjoy all the race action they want now. Later, this year, fans will be able to access exclusive original content as well. NASCAR has plenty of stories to tell, and DeskSite is the perfect venue to tell them.
“Original content seems to be the order of the day,” Davis says. “We are excited to work with DeskSite to tell the stories that have not been told. There are lots of stories — maybe off the track, in garages, about other aspects of what makes this sport work — that we look forward to working with NASCAR Productions and the production team at DeskSite to tell. Whether it’s about a pit crew, the training that the pit crew does, whether it’s about an owner, whether it’s about the philanthropy that’s important to a driver, whatever — those are examples of telling those stories.”
NASCAR Productions, the league’s in-house production team, will work with DeskSite in creating original video. Although it’s too early to say exactly, Davis thinks the output will be mostly short-form episodic series with a few “one-hit wonders” thrown in. The goal is making the DeskSite experience even more attractive and drawing in greater numbers of fans.
The NASCAR DeskSite launched just prior to this weekend’s Daytona 500, so fans can start enjoying it now and stay with it all through the season, finishing with behind-the-scenes original content in the second half of the year. DeskSite has already proved a popular download for fans of other sports; NASCAR hopes its fans enjoy the experience just as much.
“DeskSite has been around for several years,” Davis notes. “They have great relationships with NFL, MLS, and NHL teams, and we’d really like for this to take hold with our fans.”