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Volume 21 No. 26
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Company behind Gymkhana motorsports videos adds production arm

Hoonigan Industries, the apparel company founded by motorsports star Ken Block, has formed a new media arm that will produce the sort of films that made Block’s Gymkhana digital video series go viral.

The arm, called Hoonigan Media Machine, will be announced this week.

Ken Block’s Gymkhana digital video series, which made its debut in 2008, quickly became a viral hit.
The Gymkhana series, which shows Block drifting through exotic and sometimes daring landscapes around the world, has become a global sensation since it debuted in 2008. Over the first nine installments, Gymkhana has averaged 38 million views per episode on YouTube alone. That would rank Hoonigan’s content third out of all auto manufacturers, according to the company, with a large percentage of the audience being younger viewers.

The in-house production division will focus on content creation for brands that want their own advertising as well as companies that want to sponsor a Gymkhana-style video.

“In many ways we created this new genre in motorsports … and it gave Ken and all of us the opportunity to show sponsorships a different type of exposure outside of the racetrack,” said Brian Scotto, chief brand officer at Hoonigan Industries. “We always called it a lifestyle brand; we never really referred to ourselves as an apparel brand. … We always knew there were different directions the company would go, and media was something on the back burner.”

Scotto noted that Hoonigan previously handled two of the three steps to be a full-service content provider — conception and distribution — but was missing the middle component: production. That was costing Hoonigan significant sums of money whenever it shot a video, so it decided to cut out the middle man.

Hoonigan plans to charge 10 cents a view for its videos, so $100,000 would get a guaranteed 1 million views for the purchaser. Hoonigan Media Machine, which is projecting to generate high seven figures in revenue in its first year, is already working with Ford (which is aligned with Block), Can-Am and Edelbrock.

The company, which was founded in late 2011, also has talked with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano and his representatives about doing films with Logano and his primary corporate backers, Shell-Pennzoil and Ford.

“That’s a project for us that really excites us, because NASCAR is a bit outside of our realm,” Scotto said. “There’s a lot to building identities or personalities around drivers by going and doing cool stuff that’s not always on track.”