Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012

UK TV audience falls by one million at Sky’s first F1 race

F1 televisionPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012Viewing figures from the first race weekend of 2012 indicates a fall of over a million viewers in the UK.

There was no live free-to-air coverage of the race in Britain. The race was shown live on Sky while the BBC broadcast highlights later in the day.

Sky declined to issue details of their TV audiences for their F1 programming over the race weekend when asked by F1 Fanatic.

However multiple sources have reported their first F1 broadcast attracted a peak audience of 1.02 million viewers.

This represents a fall of over 2 million compared to the figure recorded by the BBC for last year’s live race.

The BBC reported a peak of 3.2 million people watched their highlights programme, over one million more than their repeat of the race in a similar time slot attracted last year.

Combining the figures suggests around one million fewer people in the UK watched the first F1 race of the season, a fall of over 20%.

However Sky commentator Martin Brundle, who left the BBC to join the broadcaster, praised the figures, saying on Twitter: “Very happy Sky F1, BBC F1 (and hopefully BBC 5 live) had strong Australian F1 audiences. So important for British [motorsport], Silverstone and F1 generally.”

Half of this year’s ten races will be shown live on the BBC, starting with the Chinese Grand Prix.

F1 on television

Image ?é?® McLaren/Hoch Zwei

115 comments on “UK TV audience falls by one million at Sky’s first F1 race”

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  1. It’s going to be interesting to see the UK viewing figures after the early morning China weekend, when its on the BBC.

    Subtract number of Sky viewers from Aus/Malaysia, from BBC China figures, and the number you are left with is the amount of people streaming Sky on t’internet :D

  2. I wonder if the 2 am US audience even managed to beat 1 million viewers.

  3. According to the UK’s BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board), these were the average daily viewing figures in millions (and %age of total audience) for BBC1 and SKY1 in these periods:

    BBC1 : 20.90m (50.9%)
    SKY1 : 1.94m (3.4%)

    BBC1 : 29.14m (50.8%)
    SKY1 : 1.52m (2.6%)

    When the next set of figures are released, they’ll include the Australian GP weekend.

    If SKY1’s coverage got roughly 0.75m or more viewers, it should show up on this page in the ‘other’ category.
    (BBC1’s coverage will need roughly in excess of 4m viewers to appear on their table.)

    I think the BBC1 figures for Australia have probably flattered them as a lot of F1 junkies/SKY-phobics will have wanted their first bite of F1 under the new highlights arrangement but many will not have liked the taste. Some will fold and subscribe and some will not bother again.
    I myself didn’t like the BBC qualifying coverage at all. We got approx 40-45mins of qualifying footage in a 75min programme and that included Jake links between the sessions.
    (I read either here or elsewhere that the BBC are not allowed to show more than 75% of the action on a SKY weekend.)
    I’m currently thinking that in future I’ll record the BBC1 qualifying shows and watch the intro and exit pieces for the Fri/Sat news and the grid order. Trying to watch something where someone else has effective control of the FFW button is far too annoying for me.

    And finally, considering how vehamently opposed the BBC were about Ch4 getting the F1 coverage, they’ve rather meekly and without fuss conceded the rights to another of their jewels, the Grand National (big horse race for non-UK readers) to guess who?…..

  4. Apologies, SKY1 should read SKY SPORTS 1 – the numbers are correct though.

  5. have been a real F1 fan since Mansell in 92 but now the magic of watching it on free to air tv is gone ,and im not paying for sky ,last weekend i felt rather lost and not involved anymore sort of normal maybe ,highlights do not interest me especially after the beeb broadcasting the results on the news with the caption on the top of the screen” permission of bbc sport” ,to**ers , bit like that old likely lads sketch where they have to hide all day so as not to hear the football match score ,one very sad and let down fan bernie ,the beeb ,sky you all deseve each other

  6. I’m watching the Sky F1 channel via my Xbox thanks to a friend. The pre and post race segments are truly awful. Never before when watching an F1 programme have i been so bored out of my mind! Simon Lazenby has no chrisma and hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about, Georgie Thompson is pointless along with the Skypad. Damon Hill looks lost and confused. Anthony Davidson is wasted in the studio he should be in the pitlane. The pre-recorded segments are dull. It’s so lifeless and bland. I love EJ and DC and i’m going to have to record the BBC just for the pre and post race banter. What a mess this deal is, really puts me off F1. I really hope Sky fails at F1.

  7. stephen brady
    25th March 2012, 18:34

    I’m seriously wetting myself here,bernie sold his soul to the devil, and those figures make my day an average of 800,000 from the start of programme to end, lmao at it,roll on the european races,

  8. The new numbers are in.

    The Australian GP failed to make the top 30 programmes for the week for BBC1 so we can only say the number of viewers was below 4.28m
    On SKY SPORTS 1, the GP achieved 710k viewers.

    1. They were mentioned in today’s round-up:


  9. Been watching F1 for FREE since 1996, do not see why I should subscribe to SKY to watch it and I won’t either. Quite comfortably with listening to it on the BBC and catching a few glimpsies here and there online when something dramatic has happened. Other than that I watch the highlights on the BBC. The sooner people loyal to F1 realise if they refuse to pay for it and watch it on SKY, it will be brought back free on tv to stop the decline in viewers if not by anything else the advertisers who need I watching.

  10. Have no idea why they have used Hamilton’s face, he is the one that finally pulled in the veiwers to watch the sport back in 2007 and 2008, since then F1 seems to be kicking themselves in the wotsits and have done everything to stop the excitment Hamilton brought to F1, the people he attracted and have completely ruined it and took all of it for granted.

  11. Peter Jennings
    8th April 2012, 20:16

    Irrespective of whether the viewing figures are better or worse, the fact that people are prepared to pay 100’s of pounds to a organisation that thinks hacking into dead childrens phones, bribing police officers, encouraging and financing criminal behaviour to bring down competitors, is OK. You Sky fans out there either have very short memories or somehow manage to be able to push these things to the back of your mind as long as you get what you want when you want it. Let’s not forget, if Sky can hack the phones, then the Sky boxes could be filled with all sorts of goodies. Makes the mind boggle, doesn’t it?
    The BBC had given up the contract a year early, so they couldn’t wait to get out of there. Anyway, it leaves lots of space for more propaganda and filler. The BBC are a business and couldn’t care less whether they are breaking promises, Royal Charters, Concorde Agreements, and with the sort of people they have as directors these days it’s no wonder. Go look for yourself.
    Most of what I have heard over recent years regarding F1 (and i’m a long standing fan), is all gathered around the fact that they have to tighten their belts to keep the sport going. If that’s the case, why keep adding venues to a world-wide callender? If it is done for more tv contracts, that would increase the revenues and negate any belt-tightening would it not? I don’t see any lifestyles being tightened in F1.
    So think on chaps, is your pub going to be open at 6-7am? Will Sky give you credit if you lose your job?
    Do yourself a favour and keep the money you would pay to Sky and the like and buy a few tickets to Silverstone and see the real thing.

  12. I am a F1 fan but dont live in the UK but we get the BBC channels here .
    Even if I lived in the UK hell would have to freeze over before I gave murdoch any money and to be honest after reading about what sky’s F1 coverage is like Im so glad I cant.
    One thing that really annoys me is TV channels that think that putting females with no clue ( or care) about what they are covering into TV presenting roles thinking that this will atract viewers.
    The viewing figures will be scrutinised by the sponsors and it is they who will pressure F1 to be brought back to 100% FTA, wait and see. ( we all know what Bernie is like with his U turns right ? )
    I am perfectly happy watching the hightlights show , in fact it is the whole race anyway I just have to keep away from news channels until it starts.
    For Bahrain I watched the race on RTL7 with Radio 5 commentary , this worked a treat as the video feed is the same the world over so the actual race noise over radio 5 matched the RTL video feed. RTL7 does run adverts during the race but they split the screen so that the live race is still visible.
    Mark my words F1 will be back on FTA once the sponsors start analysing the figures , cant wait to see what the Silverstone and Monaco numbers are.

  13. I didn’t watch this year. Discussed that only half the races where shown on the bbc and some only the highlights. What use are the highlights? I can’t get sky due to trees behind my house. So you have lost this viewer!

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