Site logo

Despite reduced prices, Spanish GP sees Sky fail to attract new viewers

NEWS STORY
21/05/2019

As previously reported, Britain is one of the few countries that publicly releases TV audience data and it comes courtesy of the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), and such is the respect for its data that it is the standard by which the UK TV networks sell advertising spots.

In December, seemingly knowing something that most race fans in the UK didn't, F1’s global research director, Matt Roberts claimed that despite all but one round of the 2019 season being shown live on ly on pay-per-view channel Sky, Channel 4's highlights show would see an increase in viewer numbers courtesy of its prime time broadcast slot several hours after the race actually finished.

“Channel 4 will have the highlights next year and we have worked with them to ensure they show the races in a favourable prime time slot,” he said. “We estimate that we will actually have more viewers next year in the UK (thanks to this prime time slot) than we had this year.”

After five rounds of a 2019 season which has thus far witnessed five 1-2s for Mercedes, viewing figures are down 4.2 million, as BARB, which calculates its totals cumulatively, as does F1, and involves counting each viewer of each race separately even if they are the same person, reveals that the first five races were watched by 8.2 million viewers on Channel 4 compared to 12.4 million in 2018.

Indeed, the Barcelona race saw a drop of 765,181 viewers, down 30.5% on 2018, when the race was the second most-watched broadcast of the week. Twelve months later, and a travel programme about the city of Hamburg and Gogglebox both eclipsed the F1 highlights show which had slipped to sixth in the standings.

Meanwhile, BARB reveals that 851,206 viewers tuned into Sky Sports F1's coverage of the Barcelona race, compared to 852,000 last year.

While some might argue that the drop is minimal, let's not forget that Sky is now the only source of live coverage of all but one race on the 2019 schedule - the British Grand Prix. Furthermore, in a bid to win over fans, prices have been slashed this year from 18 pm ($23) in 2018 to 10 ($13).

While the British broadcaster was only too keen to proclaim increased viewer numbers for this year's season opener, since then the silence has been (understandably) deafening.

As Forbes makes clear, the biggest potential losers are the team as around 26% of their revenue comes from sponsorship, and less viewers means they are forced to charge less.

Under its new contract with F1, Sky's fees have almost doubled, the broadcaster now paying an estimated $150m (117m) annually.

However, when one remembers that the teams share 68% of the sport's underlying profits as prize money, which has now become a bigger earner for them than their sponsorship deals, though losing out in terms of the revenue they can expect from sponsors they are raking it in courtesy of pay-per-view.

That said, with F1 keen to introduce its F1TV streaming service to the UK, and with an eye on those viewer numbers, Sky, whose contract ends in 2024, is probably going to want to renegotiate some time soon.

Indeed, there might well be point when Sky's owners, Comcast, wonder why they are shelling out so much money for F1, much like the time a senior executive at Ford-owned Jaguar queried the millions being paid to an employee he had never heard of, a certain Edmund Irvine Jr.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/05/2019 15:24

"Despite trying to swear off F1 altogether after 56 years, I find myself unable to do so. However I find C4's "Highlights" to be something of an improvement over "Live". The best thing is much-reduced verbiage, tittle-tattle & banal interviews. The other benefit is that it avoids those inevitable longeurs during most modern races during which not a lot happens.

Let's be clear: I will never pay for Sky coverage, so I await the arrival of a sensible Streamed package before I shell-out any cash over & above the Licence fee."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Mad Matt, 22/05/2019 12:07

"I still quite like the Sky commentary but long ago gave up on the build up and post race stuff.... it's just fluff. In fact worse, sometimes they go to the 'SkyPad (TM)' and contradict what we can see with our own eyes.

Ted's worth listening to and as I say I still like Martin's contribution.

On, the other hand, when C4 had the live coverage I was more than happy with that.... except those races where they allowed EJ to be seen, or worse still to speak!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by PaulButler, 22/05/2019 10:34

"I don't have Sky Sports but my son has it as part of a package so I can watch the content via the Now TV app.

As Noushki says the presenting is incredibly poor, even Martin Brundle seems to have lost the plot.

The grid walk I watched from Abu Dhabi consisted of him asking "has anyone seen Crown Prince .... (can't remember the name I'm afraid)" as he seemed to be quite keen to show he was friends with Royalty.

The C4 team is much tighter and actually present about what is going on, they even sometimes have Eddie Jordan for comic relief.

Sky seems to feel that if they throw money and ex-F1 drivers at the screen then people will come. It isn't working so they should really consider getting their feed from C4 and putting their people in to a highlights spot that we easily find the time to ignore."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Noushki, 22/05/2019 10:16

"I already had Sky Sports so get the F1 channel automatically. Sadly, I find the presenting so poor, I don't even watch it; I always watch on Channel 4 instead. The cost may be (understandably) off-putting, but the quality is equally as important. I just think DC, Webber, Susie Wolff and Billy Monger make a better team with more up-to-date knowledge and insight, and their rapport with each other and the drivers and teams makes it worth watching. The biggest shame is that the broadcasters have a warped idea of when 'prime time' is. No wonder no one's tuning in."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Editor, 22/05/2019 8:13

"Just to clarify, there is a compulsory tax in the UK known as the licence fee, it currently costs 154.50.

It nets the BBC almost 4bn a year and one has to pay for it even if one doesn't watch or listen to any BBC content. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by cd17, 22/05/2019 6:59

"Just to clarify the Sky TV costs, that is 10pm on top of the basic package (currently 22pm). So this is in effect a minimum of 32pm / 384 /year. I get my coverage from BBC Radio 5, as they broadcast live from every race. Admittedly not quite the same, but it is at no extra cost to me."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms