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9.1% of UK Netflix subscribers watched season one of Drive to Survive

NEWS STORY
17/02/2020

As Netflix releases the trailer for Season 2 of the F1 documentary Drive to Survive, it is revealed that 9.1% of UK subscribers streamed Season 1.

Season One premiered in May last year, and from the outset was popular, especially with casual fans and newcomers, as it focussed on the drivers as opposed to set-up and aero.

All but Mercedes and Ferrari took part in the first series, which gave unique behind the scenes insight into the characters in the pitlane, showing the human side to drivers and team bosses never seen before.

"We understood that doing something like this that elevates new heroes in the sport has raised interest in the casual F1 fans," said F1's global research director Matt Roberts in a recent Q&A on Reddit. "Many people come up to me at races / in the streets and say that they weren't F1 fans, but they are now... because of the series.

"Our fastest growing audience has been the under 35s the past 2 years (helped by esports and Netflix)," he revealed.

With 158.3 million subscribers around the world, the decision to allow Netflix 'all areas access' for the series was clearly one of F1's smarter moves, and no doubt was a key factor in Mercedes and Ferrari both agreeing to participate in the second series.

With the second season, F1 is particularly aiming to attract viewers in its own backyard, for while there are 60.6 million subscribers to Netflix in the United States, the (average) 671,000 viewers who tuned into live coverage on ESPN pales into insignificance. In comparison, in the UK, which has 11.5 million subscribers, around one million tuned in to the first season.

According to Forbes, measuring the number of households that watch Netflix programming is known as reach. For a household to be counted at least one resident has to watch a Netflix film or an episode of a series however, the same profile is not counted repeatedly even if it watches multiple episodes of a series. As a result this levels the playing field for documentary films and docu-series such as Drive to Survive.

By contrast, using streams as a measurement involves calculating the total number of views from every Netflix profile in a household with each episode of a series counted separately, a system that favours docu-series such as Drive to Survive as they have multiple instalments.

In terms of reach, the most popular Netflix documentary in 2019 was The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which was streamed by 6.1 million household and was also the leader in terms of the number of streams (34.7 million).

The documentary film Homecoming, which charted Beyonce's 2018 Coachella performance, was and FYRE, the inside story of the ill-fated festival, were both watched by more households than Drive to Survive, which was tenth in terms of reach, with an audience of 3.1 million.

With 13.787 million streams, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, was the second most streamed documentary, ahead of Our Planet (12,155 million) followed by crime documentary I Am a Killer (5,753 million) and Drive to Survive (5,140 million).

"Drive to Survive has lower ratings that some of those big docs...but it's understandable because the topic is more niche than Our Planet, for example," a spokesperson for Digital-i tells Forbes.

Digital-i is a UK-based company specialising in finding new and innovative ways to analyse audiences across traditional TV channels and online platforms.

According to Forbes, its Netflix measurement system is based on a sample of the audience and captures viewing across all devices including TV, tablet, PC and smartphone as well as content that is recorded and viewed offline. It provides Netflix data to the largest terrestrial broadcasters in the UK as well as a number of major US film and TV companies.

Collecting data from approximately 1,000 accounts, Digital-i processes the data before weighting it to make the result representative of the UK population.

"The recruitment process for our sample is controlled to make sure we have a panel that is representative of the Netflix subscriber base," says the company. "This is guided by information from the BARB establishment survey, which BARB themselves use as the basis for their own panel recruitment.

"Our sampling methodologies have been verified by leading statisticians and are statistically robust... The data allows us to interrogate Netflix viewing in great detail, including analysing total Netflix consumption, the lifecycle of Netflix content, binge viewing and much more."

Looking at the popularity of the first season, with the participation of both Mercedes and Ferrari it will be interesting to see how well the second season is received, especially in the US.

Series 2 is available from 28 February.

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1. Posted by @R1Racing71, 17/02/2020 15:49

"If there are not at least two full episode dedicated to Rich Energy, then I for one am going to be bitterly disappointed!"

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