Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are You Watching More NASCAR Video Online?

Lots of the NASCAR TV shows now promote a new feature. Once the program is over on traditional cable TV, it continues with new and exclusive content online.

Sometimes streamed live and sometimes recorded in advance, this trend is slowly moving NASCAR toward broadband Internet use for content that was once seen only on TV.

Sites like and YouTube have revolutionized the way of thinking about TV programming. Many of us already routinely put shows like NASCAR Now and This Week in NASCAR on the DVR or TiVo. We have become familiar with the technology that allows us to view NASCAR content when we want to do so. It's called time shifting.

There have been many articles and stories in the news about this trend that began shortly after broadband access became easily available in the home. The trend has now picked up steam due to the economic conditions that our country is facing.

Click here for an article from last October published online by the Wall Street Journal. The subject is the movement going-on where consumers cancel their cable TV service and simply access the very same video content online. Other than the time of day, which many of us were shifting anyway, there does not seem to be much of a problem.

Dave Despain asks viewers to migrate over to the website to continue more of Wind Tunnel when the show goes off the air on SPEED. This new content is being streamed live online. While he may not understand the technology, Despain's show is a perfect example of this trend.

Steve Byrnes tells TV viewers of This Week in NASCAR to head over to for additional exclusive content not available on SPEED. Sometimes, the online bonus segment is more fun than the show itself.

Over in the ESPN world, NASCAR content is deeply woven into Internet video. ESPN-owned and the ESPN website both offer a combination of NASCAR Now and SportsCenter content for viewing. ESPN also uses ESPNEWS and other sources to contribute to a content pool that makes NASCAR fans check frequently for updates.

All of this conversation is interesting when it comes to the programming that surrounds the races themselves. The real fun, however, comes when NASCAR's three top series come into view. Currently, none of the racing is available online in live streaming form...officially.

TNT debuted RaceBuddy last season that provided additional camera angles and audio feeds online for that network's six race package. The results were fantastic. Unfortunately, no such online addition exists for the Fox or ABC portions of the season.

NASCAR drives a ton of revenue by selling the TV rights to the Sprint Cup Series. While the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series are also televised live, they both pale in comparison to the money being paid for the Sprint Cup races.

Once a race is over, highlights are posted on YouTube almost immediately by all kinds of amateur editors. Video also appears on all the NASCAR websites, including those of the various TV networks. Once the checkered flag falls, the value of the live race is gone. Content of that event is viral within minutes.

So, that leaves the actual live race as the property fans must "consume" on TV. This year, DirecTV has done away with Hot Pass as we knew it. That was the only other source of actual live racing video available. While some websites have tracking and other information, the only way to see the race is on the official NASCAR TV networks.

The question is, does this approach do more harm than good? Should the video from all four networks covering the sport be streamed live for every single race? We ask in reference to the growing number of consumers who simply will not watch a multi-hour race sitting in front of a TV set.

Making live NASCAR race video available to laptops, PC's and other devices has to be a priority in this new online world order. While those of us old enough to remember a world before cable TV may have one perspective, younger folks raised in a world of iPods and Video-On-Demand look at a four hour race available only on TV and take a pass.

The total number of adults watching TV is shrinking drastically and the NASCAR TV ratings have reflected what the networks already know. Like it or not, technology is allowing much of the original TV content to be made available online for free.

Would you watch a NASCAR race online? Have you made this transition already with other television content? Would the flexibility to view races on laptops and PC's make a change in your viewing habits?

Perhaps the most asked question for the past three years here at TDP is the following. Do you already multi-task during the races with your computer online? Adding the video of the race for many of you might just be another box on your screen. What are your ideas on these types of issues?

Thanks for helping in this discussion. Your opinion always counts and we appreciate you taking the time to offer it. Just click on the comments button below to do just that. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Appreciate you taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Kate said...

I would love to have video available online. I was a great fan of HotPass' predecessor InCar, and I would happily pay a subscription fee equal to or even greater than what I paid for it on TV... no announcers, no commercials, just full-screen online racing from my favorite driver's car. So much is possible online, and it's sad that NASCAR hasn't begun to use its potential.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't watch online NASCAR video. I have a big screen HDTV with surround sound, so looking at video on my computer doesn't interest me.

However, I do use and enjoy the real-time telemetry and driver radios offered by

Anonymous said...

Rarely do I get to watch a live race from beginning to end. Sundays are busy days and I usually end up making it home just in time to see the end of a race. So the ability to view the race on a laptop would be okay -- but the ultimate would be to have live race video available on a mobile handheld device that is not necessarily affiliated with Sprint. Right now, my love of the iPhone is far greater than any feelings I have for NASCAR or Sprint. (I don't know what this would do to the radio broadcasts, which are really outstanding.)

Anonymous said...

I use all the available technologies to watch online videos and live programming. This past weekend I watched the CA Championship. I often watch tennis.

Those who have their head in the sand, will regret it. Just because you are not comfortable with the technology, doesn't mean the rest of the universe wants to stay put.

Today yet another newspaper printed its last edition. Now it will only be online. I work for a huge organization, and the younger ones here all "read" their newspaper on their phone!. Some say they have never bought a paper in their lives!

They also get all kinds of content. They have feeds of their favorite sports, tv programs, twitter, blogs, etc.

Millions of us work in office buildings. I wait about 2 hours so that I miss traffic. Of course there is no cable in my building, but I have my computer and happily pass the time away. I go to a local Starucks and see most the patrons on their lap tops.

I think all this technologies make us free. Not only can we have what we want, we also can decide where we get it.

Vicky D said...

I check out some of the old race videos on youtube but that's about it. I enjoy watching my tv much better.

Anonymous said...

I have no interest in peering into my computer screen to try and see a race. If I did, I wouldn't have purchased a larger TV. I want to watch a race, not spend time going from one internet site to another during a race. For those who think it's more fun to play with their electronics, that's fine. I just want to watch the race on my TV.

Anonymous said...

i wouldnt mind watching a race on my trusty laptop, as long as it has some cool features with it.

Newracefan said...

17 inch screen is to small to watch a race besides I'm already using it for TDP, pit command scanner, and racetrax. If I was not able to watch on tv I would absolutely seek it out on my laptop and actually used justintv when I kept getting every 30 minute snow updates (it kept me from missing the final laps of the Vegas race). I do watch video from etc, youtube not so much unless something was pointed out on this or another site.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments, keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to just watch the races on my tube tv and relax. I then come to sites like TDP to see what I missed as I usually miss things. I have no idea what and are but would like to know.

JD, I am sooooo glad that you decided to come back. I love this site and the comments even though I may not post much.

Karen said...

I prefer to watch the race on TV with my cpr at TDP and Internet radio on for commercials. But most of the time, I can barely keep up with the posts here and miss most commercials trying not to get left behind here.
I also go to You Tube and for video clips that interest me.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks Amy!

Anonymous said...

I've had to downgrade from HD Hotpass to the most basic of cable..with no speed or espn classic...thank goodness for or i'd go nuts...really hope TNT brings racebuddy back..i look forward to when our tv and pc is all in one...just hope i can get a job to afford it..thanks for coming back Mr. Daly...

Anonymous said...

I just prefer to watch tv for relaxing.I think we can get to see all the missed things also through online as the technologies have improve so much.

Anonymous said...

I just plopped down a big chuck of change for Major League Baseball's package so I can watch games on my computer from around the country. I think if NASCAR offered something fans couldn't get on regular TV - like MLB's offering of out of town games - live online content might work. Maybe a Hot Pass-type service or better yet a behind the scenes full access on race morning to the driver's meeting and pre-race introductions etc. I also think live streaming video for developmental series like Camping World East and West and the modified tours might have an onlne audience since there is no longer live coverage of any of those divisions.

Pete Pistone

Lou said...

No, I do not think I would watch a cup race online. I enjoy the widescreen view I get on tv. I do add to my tv experience using the laptop as others have said. Usually with pts current pts standings, foxtrax to see who is where with speed and time, and of course in progress with The Daly Planet. I did like racebuddy when TNT had it. Sometimes I also watch the post race stuff on

So, yes I do multi-task and I happen to enjoy doing that. But, I do not care to add another box in the small screen. I have widescreen in sd , looking forward to it later this season in hd.

Tracy D said...

I'd use the laptop when I'm not home to watch a race on our HD TV. Right now, I use race time to 1) listen to the radio announcers call the race with the sound muted on the TV, 2) read TDP, and 3) catch up on the chores I hate, like ironing and polishing the flatware. Basically, I don't have time to watch Nasvar video online unless it's something special.

We do use Hulu to catch shows we've missed. I read the Christian Science Monitor online for world news we never get in our local paper (which we get) or national news at 6:30. BBC America's news is the only TV news program we watch regularly, again because it covers world news.

Love Race Buddy, btw. Can't wait for it.

GinaV24 said...

I would love to have video available on line if I didn't have to be subject only to the way that races are being broadcast now. Honestly, if it was a for pay service, then I want to be able to pick my view AND have no commercials. I have watched Speed's shows and I now watch some TV shows that way, if I've missed them. Heck, if I could get rid of the $$ I spend on cable per month, and be able to watch races on my own schedule, wow, that would be awesome.

John O'Shea said...

This is a great topic, John.

Here in Canada, we are forced to watch the Cup races on The Sports Network, even if we select the FOX channel. As a result, we see the same 6 commercials on every commercial break. When I have a chance to watch a complete race, I usually have the laptop beside me reading this site and looking for online features, such as MRN/PRN radio feeds so I don't have to listen to those same 6 TV commercials over and over. Unfortunately, due to licencing rights, most US radio stations cannot steam audio in Canada.

I was surprised to find online streaming video of FOX's broadcast online and was happy to have a choice. Last year, I took advantage of TNT's Race Buddy for the different camera angles. I was getting excited to watch the "old timer's" race after the Nationwide race on Saturday, but it won't be on TV up here.

There are ways to connect the computer to LCD TVs, although it takes extra equipment. We are looking at the future with online content.

Also, in Canada, we still have to pay for HotPass through Bell TV which is about $160 cdn per year.

Anonymous said...

News Corp has been doing the post show video on for their daily "Fox & Friends" show for well over a year now ... It's about 5-10 minutes right after the show with the hosts & last guest sitting back on the couch & chatting about all kinds of things ... Sometimes, they include studio visitors, staffers, producers, etc ...

I watched the "Wind Tunnel" post-tv show last week ... But, it sucked up the resouces of my computer ... It was interesting, but Despain couldn't show any race footage or pictures ...

Anonymous @ 7:50pm - The PI going to "Net Only" is no big loss ... Their undoing was their biased reporting as well as their JOA with the Seattle Times & the Times going from a 4pm paper to a morning paper ...

HarpAmy - It's ... The site streams the Nascar races ...

red said...

for me, there's a significant difference between watching a race on my laptop and watching it on tv while i multi-task on my laptop. i would much prefer to watch it on tv: bigger screen, better resolution.

as for general nascar video: depends on what's happening. i'll re-watch some controversial incident online b/c i then have the ability to control the image and can take my time to really look at what happened and form my own opinion. but general interviews or race recaps? nah, not so much. i'm more of a word person (as opposed to a visual person.) one gigantic exception: i seek out online video of older races, you know: the stuff that espn classic shows and that i'd watch there if i HAD espn classic.

(and for the record: i haven't used hulu yet but i have watched many tv shows online over the past 18 months. the technology is improving and there are more choices than before. the convenience factor is becoming more important to me as well.)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to post here!

I am because my TV died and until I can replace it I have to watch stuff on the 'puter.

Digger even has a channel on Hulu :p