May 5, 2012
By Donalde z Smith
NASCAR welcomes Colin Smith as managing director, digital platform for the sanctioning body’s digital properties.
NASCAR reported that with the launch of the new NASCAR.com digital experience scheduled for January 1, 2013, the addition of Mr. Smith was a “key hire.” While NASCAR Race Mom was impressed, I was not quite sure what digital experience NASCAR was referring to.
Digital platforms provide audio, video, or data transmission in the real time or delayed mode in many networks, such as cable, satellite, terrestrial digital broadcasting, and broadband networks.
Further research revealed that NASCAR reported a few months ago that NASCAR and Turner Sports announced a restructuring and extension of their long-standing digital partnership. The new agreement takes the relationship through 2016, with NASCAR managing business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013 and Turner Sports continuing to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms.
Turner Sports is the division of Turner Broadcasting System (a subsidiary of Time Warner) responsible for sports broadcasts on Turner channels.
"Turner Sports has been and will continue to be a great partner for NASCAR," Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR stated at the time. "Taking a leadership role as it relates to our digital rights is something we as the sanctioning body know is important for the future of our sport, the development of our drivers and most importantly the experience for both our current fans and future followers."
Under the new partnership, NASCAR will assume operational control of all of its interactive, digital and social media rights. This is to include technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms. Turner will continue to represent sponsorships and advertising for all NASCAR digital platforms, with the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties continuing to roll up to the Turner digital portfolio.
Therefore, starting the first of the year 2013, Colin Smith will be NASCAR’s managing director for all comprehensive digital and social media portfolio. This should be good news for fans. NASCAR added that the move opens the door to NASCAR scrapping the current NASCAR.com model and creating a viable and modern home website for the NASCAR racing. This change should be a springboard for portable live video, online streaming of SiriusXM content and much more.
Colin Smith, a former Raycom Sports executive, is a veteran digital media executive. He will report to Marc Jenkins, vice president of NASCAR Digital Media. Smith will be responsible for the business of NASCAR’s digital platform which includes NASCAR.COM as well as the tablet and mobile experience. Under Smith’s purview will be e-commerce, subscription products, site optimization and content development. (NASCAR.COM, and the sport’s other digital and social media platforms, has been managed by Turner Sports since 2001.)
“Getting in on the ground floor of a project like this is very exciting and is a once-in-a-career-like opportunity,” Smith said. “NASCAR has one of the most passionate and loyal fan bases in the world and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that ensures they have the ultimate online experience that drives fan engagement and helps grow the sport.”
“Adding a media veteran of Colin’s caliber will strengthen our digital team,” Marc Jenkins reported. “His perspective, leadership and experience will be invaluable as we strive to provide the best digital platform possible to our fans.”
Marc Jenkins has been with NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group since May 2006. Prior to his current role, Marc led the Global Media Rights Strategy and Development Group, responsible for the strategy, development, structuring, and negotiation of media rights relationships for NASCAR. You can follow Jenkins on twitter via @marcajenkins. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marc is married to Natalie, and has two daughters.
Headquartered in NASCAR’s Charlotte office, NASCAR Digital Media is a newly created division of NASCAR Media Group. Smith lives in Charlotte with his wife Kelly and two-year old son. May 1, 2012 was his first day with NASCAR Digital Media.
NASCAR Digital Media also announced that John Martin, who joined NASCAR Media Group in 2007 from Turner and has worked with NASCAR’s media division in some capacity since 2000, will lead the operations group of the NASCAR Digital Platform as managing director of digital operations. Martin will also report to Jenkins and will have oversight of the technology systems and development group.
With all this new focus on NASCAR’s digital media, NASCAR Race Mom is anxious to see what changes will be made to NASCAR’s digital platform. As an IT person, it should be educational to see what direction NASCAR takes their digital technology.
Hopefully the push to “digital media” excellence will be balanced so that fans with older computer systems can continue to navigate NASCAR.com resources with ease.
If you would like to learn more about Donalde z Smith, please check out her web site at NASCAR Race Mom.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.