UK F1 television audience falls after BBC/Sky deal

Television

Lee McKenzie, Daniel Ricciardo, Melbourne, 2012The loss of live coverage of half of the F1 calendar from free-to-air television in the UK prompted furious debate 12 months ago.

A key concern was the potential damage it would do to television audiences in the UK with many people unable or unwilling to pay a minimum of ??381 to see the ten races not shown live on free-to-air television.

With one of the first season under the new arrangement behind us, how has the move away from live, free-to-air broadcasts affected F1 audiences in the UK? Here’s a look at the viewing figures for the BBC and Sky’s coverage.

2011 live vs 2012 live

With half of the races no longer live on free-to-air television, the total number of people watching the races has inevitably fallen.

Adding together the average live viewership for the first 11 races of 2011 shows they were watched by 45.7m people, an average of 4.15m per race.

Over the same races* in 2012 to date the corresponding totals are 24.15m viewers, averaging 2.2m per race. For the five races which were shown live on both the BBC and Sky, the average is 3.8m – much closer to 2011, but still a fall of 9.5%.

Here’s how many million live viewers each race received (the same unit is used for each graph):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv

Australia Malaysia China Bahrain / Turkey* Spain Monaco Canada Europe Britain Germany Hungary
2011 BBC Live 2.1 3.5 3.3 3.2 4.7 5 6.2 3.9 4.9 4.3 4.6
2012 Sky live + BBC live 0.714 0.906 3.404 0.819 4.023 3.665 0.924 4.331 3.655 0.989 0.718

The obvious drawback with these figures is they do not reflect viewers who do not have Sky’s F1 channel and instead watched the delayed highlights of the first six races which were not shown live on the BBC.

Attempting to account for these viewers is where the picture gets complicated, as we have no way of knowing how many repeat viewers there may have been.

2011 live vs 2012 live plus BBC highlights

Here are the viewing figures for the first highlights programme for each of the six races which were not shown live on the BBC have been included.

These figures will inevitably over-state the extent of F1 viewership this year as some people will have watched both the live broadcast and the repeat of some races – particularly those who wanted to compare Sky and BBC’s coverage.

Given that, it is significant that these figures for 2012 still fall short of what was achieved in 2011: the total number of viewers reaches 41.15m (down by 4.55m), an average of 3.74m per race (down by 0.41m).

Here’s the race-by-race figures:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv

Australia Malaysia China Bahrain / Turkey* Spain Monaco Canada Europe Britain Germany Hungary
2011 BBC Live 2.1 3.5 3.3 3.2 4.7 5 6.2 3.9 4.9 4.3 4.6
2012 Sky live + BBC live + BBC highlights 3.414 3.606 3.404 4.419 4.023 3.665 3.224 4.331 3.655 3.089 4.318

Qualifying the data

Inevitably it is impossible to do a like-for-like comparison with these kinds of figures. The best we can do it to make the most of the numbers that are available to us and be wary of their limitations.

Coinciding programmes or exceptional events may have inflated or depressed viewing figures on occasions. The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix viewing figures were very high because a lengthy rain stoppage meant the race ended up being shown in prime-time.

Had that happened this year it would have made little differences as the race was not live on the BBC anyway. This year’s Malaysian Grand Prix did run late due to rain but, again, it was not live on free-to-air television.

This year’s races have faced competition from the likes of the Wimbledon men’s finals (British Grand Prix) and the Olympics (Hungarian Grand Prix). The BBC moved the British and German Grands Prix to BBC2 instead of BBC1, which usually delivers higher viewing figures.

Sky recorded their highest viewing figure for the German Grand Prix on a weekend when their F1 channel was provided at no extra cost to Sky subscribers who did not have the channel in their package, as part of a promotion.

Finally we should note this analysis covers 11 of the first 20 races, of which six were not live on free-to-air television, but five of the remaining nine will be.

Here are all the race viewing figures for the first 11 races of 2011 and 2012, separated by broadcaster. For the BBC in 2012 the figures for their first highlights programme has been used where they did not show the race live:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv

Australia Malaysia China Bahrain / Turkey* Spain Monaco Canada Europe Britain Germany Hungary
2011 BBC Live 2.1 3.5 3.3 3.2 4.7 5 6.2 3.9 4.9 4.3 4.6
2012 BBC Live or first highlights 2.7 2.7 2.9 3.6 3.5 3.1 2.3 3.8 3.2 2.1 3.6
2012 Sky Live 0.714 0.906 0.504 0.819 0.523 0.565 0.924 0.531 0.455 0.989 0.718

Average viewing figures for each programme have been used throughout. These were obtained from the BARB and the BBC.

Sky said they prefer to use peak rather than average figures, as their F1 programmes tend to be slightly longer and therefore the average viewerships are lower. When asked, the BBC provided peak viewing figures for their 2011 and 2012 race broadcasts but Sky declined to.

Here is how the BBC’s average and peak figures compared for the first 11 races of this year. Their peak figures are around 25% higher on average:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv

Australia Malaysia China Bahrain / Turkey* Spain Monaco Canada Europe Britain Germany Hungary
2012 BBC average 2.7 2.7 2.9 3.6 3.5 3.1 2.3 3.8 3.2 2.1 3.6
2012 BBC peak 3.2 3.2 4.1 4.1 4.5 4.2 3.1 5 4.8 2.4 4

What the broadcasters say

Sky

Simon Lazenby, Martin Brundle, Christian Horner, Damon Hill, Melbourne, 2012A Sky spokesperson highlighted the extended time they have been able to give to F1 programming through having their own channel: “We?ve given longer lead ups, analysis and stayed on air for longer post-race ?ǣ meaning we?ve brought viewers coverage of incidents like the Williams fire at the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Sky stated that the rise in the use of mobile devices and time-shifting digital video recorders means that television audience figures have become less useful as a means of measuring popularity.

“Given the extra hours and programming we dedicate to each race and the days and weeks in between, we don?t measure our success by viewing figures,” they added.

“We?re also giving more coverage than even before to the feeder series and the F1 stars of the future, with live GP2 and GP3 and live qualifying too where possible. We?re giving these drivers and teams the opportunity to offer extra value and ways to be seen to their sponsors and we?ve invited personalities from these series to appear on The F1 Show.”

BBC

A BBC spokesperson told F1 Fanatic: “There is no evidence to suggest that F1 fans are no longer watching. There are excellent peaks of up to 5m for live and around 4m for highlights.

“It is probably more of a case that in such a huge year of sport with Euro 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics on top of the usual sport offering that there is so much choice out there for sports fans – a large audience contingent engage with whatever is the main sport event on at the time.

“It is important to acknowledge that F1 fans can still access the entire season free-to-air on the BBC, through a mix of live and extended highlights which bring all the action from the race.”

The BBC said they were “very pleased with the figures” adding “overall F1 is doing well”.

Conclusions

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monaco, 2012Even by the most optimistic assessment, F1 viewing figures in the UK have clearly fallen over the first 11 races of 2012 compared to last year. At three of the first five races which were shown live on both channels, combined audiences figures failed to match those of 2011.

The Monaco Grand Prix is considered one of the prized races for F1 broadcasters. When the BBC/Sky race share deal was first announced it was one of the three races BBC immediately confirmed it would screen live in 2012.

The race did not clash with any other major sporting events on free-to-air television. Yet between them, Sky and the BBC attracted less than three-quarters of the 2011 audience.

Even when the BBC’s delayed highlights are factored in – which creates the potential for double-counting viewers – the totals still fall short of last year.

Analysing this kind of data is never straightforward and there are mitigating factors to take into account, many of them noted above. But we should be sceptical of the view expressed by the likes of Martin Whitmarsh recently that the rise of new media means falling television viewing figures are not a concern.

F1 audiences in the UK were on a clear upward trajectory until this year, and it seems wishful thinking to blame new media for the sudden reversal of that trend. If anything, the growth of real-time media such as Twitter and the wealth of information available to fans during races makes following races live even more appealing than before.

Following the announcement of the Sky/BBC deal last year, Bernie Ecclestone indicated viewing figures on subscription television could be sufficient to justify moving F1 off free-to air television entirely:

“We will never move all countries to pay?per?view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK,” said Ecclestone. “Sky reaches over 10m [households]. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.” Clearly the figures at present do not come close to that. It remains to be seen how they will change over the rest of the season.

In the second half of last year the championship was a foregone conclusion and Red Bull were seldom threatened in the races – a potential turn-off for casual viewers.

This year’s championship and races are far closer. It will be a very poor sign if the UK’s viewing figures for the second half of the season are not better than last year’s.

Meanwhile Formula One Management has already used the UK set-up as a model for similar deals elsewhere, including Italy, where only nine F1 races will be broadcast live on free-to-air television next year.

Over to you

What’s your view on how the F1 television audience in the UK has been affected by the BBC/Sky deal? Has the new arrangement changed how you watch F1?

Have your say in the comments.

*The Bahrain Grand Prix appeared in place of the Turkish Grand Prix on the 2012 calendar.

F1 on television

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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128 comments on UK F1 television audience falls after BBC/Sky deal

  1. Lew Numba 1 (@lew-numba-1) said on 6th September 2012, 22:11

    I think F1 and the BBC really blew it with this whole Sky deal, and I can only hope that the stats get even worse by the end of the season so that they reconsider. It may have needed a little more time to develop, but the Brundle/Coulthard combination was really awesome. David Croft is HORRIFIC and I pretty much can’t stand anything he has to say. Truly, they would be 1000% better off if they just dumped him and let Martin do the whole thing.

    I would be extra angry about the whole thing if I actually had to pay to watch it. If there was an option to switch off Croft, I might consider it, but as of now I wouldn’t pay a dime.

  2. Chelseano161997 (@chelseano161997) said on 6th September 2012, 22:26

    We already had sky so I was pleased that I could still watch the races live. It’s not as good watching the highlights show as it can be hard to avoid the results sometimes.

    Personally I don’t like the BBC race commentary team, but like the EJ, DC and Jake presenting team. I watched my first BBC race this weekend as cricket was on sky but saw the end of the race on Sky.

    I can’t take to Simon on Sky he just doesn’t have the rappor that Jake had with people and his interviews suffer because of it. I only watch the sky channel on race weekends so don’t watch the rerun shows. I have enjoyed the F1 Show which is informative and fun as I feel the how sky approach seems to be. you get a lot of show on Sky which I missed when going back to BBC, not all of which is entertains you do get adverts and some is quite repetitive but by and large I prefer Sky to BBC. The Tooned advert series that McClaren have done this year have been fun too!

    Had we not had Sky anyway there is no way I would have signed up just for F1, luckily be are a sports household so we got sky for football years ago. I think it is a shame that the BBC are selling off the live TV rights to sport in favour of some of their other shows. I think the reality is that in the future all live sport will be on pay per view channels and that will always mean that true fans will be priced out of seeing the sport they love for various financial and moral reasons which is a real shame.

  3. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 6th September 2012, 22:51

    I was shocked at how low the figures were for Sky’s viewership. Whilst I’ve not seen any of their coverage first hand, the impression I’ve got is that they put a lot of effort into it. I remember Brundle mentioning the opportunity to do more technical features was important in his decision to move. Kravitz is a well-known uber-geek of gurney flaps. To invest so much time, effort and money into something that’s being viewed by less than 1m people a go must be depressing for everyone involved.

    I’d like to see viewing figures for the GP2 and GP3 coverage too. If the main event is that low, these must barely be dragging themselves along.

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 6th September 2012, 23:14

      It makes me laugh i think jake said last year they had 8 million peak viewership during the canadian grandprix, 8 million people tuned in to listen to david coulthards ornithological knowledge during a rained out race and sky can’t break the 1 million mark.

  4. F1omer said on 6th September 2012, 23:39

    When the BBC are not LIVE I watch the live coverage on the german sat channel RTL with commentary courtesy of DAB radio BBC 5 Live. This has proved most satisfactory and I have the satisfaction of not paying greedy SKY one brass farthing.

  5. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 7th September 2012, 0:04

    “We don’t measure our success by viewing figures.” Exactly how do they measure success?

    After 20 years in advertising I can tell you that this means FAILURE. A failed campaign is usually described as “branding”. “Branding” means you got the word out there but nobody could be bothered to take out their wallet and pony up some dosh.

    In spite of our woefull coverage and high frequency ad breaks here in Aus I think we’re still reasonably well served if you remember that you’re not paying anything. If there was an F1 pay-per-view, no ads, all sessions, I’d be first in line. Can you hear me Foxtel.

  6. StephenH said on 7th September 2012, 0:10

    I can’t help wondering what the propsed Channel 4 coverage would have been like.

    Judging by thier advert-strewn, studio-chatterbox-infested Paralympic coverage, my guess would have been not much better.

    The delayed Asian race highlights is fine and if all else fails I go round at watch the non-BBC races in Europe or Americas at my sisters anyway.

    • GT_Racer said on 7th September 2012, 8:47

      From what I was told the channel 4 coverage would have included commercial breaks during qualifying & races & Would not have featured any sort of interactive coverage since channel 4 don’t have any platform avaliable to include additional video feeds.

      I read through the marking brochure they put out & can say with no hesitation that Channel 4 would have struggled to do over half of what they said they could.

  7. yellowsapphire (@yellowsapphire) said on 7th September 2012, 0:21

    Those figures might take an even bigger hit if Sky F1 gets taken away from those with the HD package.

    I don’t have Sky, and certainly from my experience, I’ve been less into F1 this year. It’s such a shame to see those viewing figures, as they’ve been on the rise for the past few years. It was good while it lasted, I suppose.

  8. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th September 2012, 0:36

    I think the facts speak for themselves.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th September 2012, 0:39

      In addition, I enjoy BBC’s coverage more than Sky’s. Although Sky’s coverage of Spa was especially good, I’ve found the whole interactive screen with the eye candy really unnecessary and cringeworthy, and Simon Lazenby just a bit of a bore. Brundle is Sky’s best asset.

  9. camo8723 (@camo8723) said on 7th September 2012, 2:19

    In Latin America we must thank Carlos Slim who owns TV company’s such as Telmex and Claro (Sauber) that have bought almost every TV company in this area of the continent.

    I’m form Colombia, I started watching F-1 when Montoya arrives to F-1 and since then I have following the F-1 with passion. Unfortunately in that time the transmission were not decent. They only have one person in the paddock who has to make the interviews and sent them to them. It was a difficult but the effort was enormous. In that time Fox Sports LA transmitted only qualification and races, so that force me to go to Internet.
    After Montoya age they started sending more people to help Juan Fossarolli with his job. And now thanks to Sergio Perez the transmission are better than ever. They broadcast in Fox Sports the Qualification session and the race. The practice sessions are on Speed. And because the hour difference Speed offers a retransmissions at 9 A.M. which is more decent thank 7 A.M. or if you like to see thee preview 6 A.M.

    However in some occasions I prefer bed than F-1 (don’t kill me) so I download races from people who take the HD transmission and put English and Spanish commentaries. The first time I saw a transmission from Antonio Lobato I only could laugh, he confuses every time the drivers, the names was horrible. The Alonso-mania and Hamilton-hate was evident. Of course time passes by and they have improved the live coverage with Marg Gene and Pedro de la Rosa when he was tester. The Off track coverage is really good and for me is very cool. They go to HRT to teach technical aspects that I can’t see in Fox Sports or Speed.

    In conclusion the transmission in Latin America have improved thanks to the sponsorship of Slim in Sauber, so as long as he keeps sponsorship the team I will have good TV transmission, although I must say that English are great in spite of their down in quality.

  10. F1Canuck said on 7th September 2012, 7:12

    We have it pretty good here in Canada.. TSN use BBC race coverage (for every race) with inline ads that aren’t that bad and spaced out quite nicely. So BBC is allowed to cover every race, they just can’t broadcast it live to UK.

    Brits: If you can find a TSN feed online, you can enjoy the BBC coverage every race of the season along with a few Canadian beer commercials.

  11. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 7th September 2012, 10:09

    It’s no surprise that people don’t like F1 going to pay TV. If you ask anyone, whether they’d like to get something for free or pay 400 pounds for it, the answer is obvious. But that’s not how things work. Bernie is going to give F1 to Sky, if he things that’ll give him more money ( even considering that F1 will lose some fans). That’s how almost every sport works these days, especially F1.

    In Finland, F1 was moved to pay TV several years ago. We still get highlights for free and there are no ads on live feed anymore. However, viewing figures have dropped a lot and it’s easy to notice – Häkkinen’s championships in 1998 and 1999 were celebrated on streets and squares, but Räikkönen’s 2007 championship didn’t receive the same kind of enthusiasm.

    But I must say that British viewing figures are lousy! You have a country of 60 million people and your peak on free-to-air TV was 6 million, just 10%? When F1 was still on free-to-air TV, we peaked in figures like 1,3 million and our country’s population is only 5 million. Also, I think we still get about 300 000 on live feed, which is on pay TV. And that’s not counting the highlights.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 10:31

    Reading over the comments, I have to ask: do people still expect the BBC to provide live and uninterrupted coverage of every session for every Grand Prix in prime time slots?

    It’s simply not possible. That’s why the BBC scrapped it in the first place.

  13. James_GBD said on 7th September 2012, 11:03

    i think something also to consider with the drop in figures is people like myself who stopped watching every f1 race because we simply cannt stand the artificial & gimmickey nature of f1′s current regulations with drs, kers & the pirelli tyres.

    i have been a massive f1 fan since about 1970 yet started watching less this year & have lost a lot of intrest in f1 not because of the tv deal (as i have both sky & bbc) but because i hate seeing the fake & soul-less passing created by the artificial gimmicks.

  14. Steve D (@schteeeeve) said on 7th September 2012, 12:01

    Interesting thoughts and debate as always on the figures. The simple fact is that as long as they pay over the odds for the F1 coverage, this means the teams will receive their share of the cut whether people watch or not. If Sky had (heaven forbid) had the Olympics, the peak audiences might have been in the 8-10 million range (eg the majority of its viewers.) I think this just comes with the territory of pay TV solutions.

    I think when judging the coverage then we have to do so in a number of ways. Of course the BBC has had to make cuts, not just in funding, but in airtime so they have to choose how best to tell the story of 2012 without all the bells and whistles Sky can offer. They can’t then be compared directly as it’s hardly a level playing field. They have chosen a similar method of covering the main story to their Premier League coverage in which they never show a live match. I think the solution they have brought in is excellent, although of course it is not as in depth as before. If there is one criticism, it is that the whole story cannot be told. That is to be expected as they have more than halved the budget for the production as well as the airtime. The team they have assembled has gelled very quickly and I think provide excellent insights into the situations in front of them, DC is proving more than his worth as a pundit and has replaced Martin Brundle very well. While Gary Anderson perhaps lacked the initial TV friendliness of some of the outgoing presenters, he has muscled in on quite a few of the updates and car changes first, and explains everything in a very simple concise manner.

    Some of what Sky have done, has inevitably been good, however they have 3 times the budget of the BBC and they have more airtime. With that in mind it should be utterly earth shattering, but somehow it doesn’t quite hit the mark. I quite agree with the comments that Simon has failed to come across well in all of the shows so far. I think that is (for me at least) down to the fact that he appears to be a lairy bloke on his jollies rather than someone like Jake, who managed to appear engaged with the sport and its history. The whole “racing in the blood” thing before the season smacked of trying a bit too hard, especially the way they mock Ted as soon as he gets into some technical speak, he is semi-ridiculed by co-presenters like some kind of “oh ignore him, he’s just a silly car geek” feel to things. I think of all those new to it, Georgie has managed to bring the camera shy parts of the BBC team (Natalie, Ted and Ant) up to scratch very quickly, and in my eyes I think she would probably do a better job as lead anchor than Simon. I think the analysis features with Ant, Johnny and Alan are usually brilliant, bringing the level of insight that perhaps the BBC couldn’t but really on top of this it’s hard to see what they provide other than simply more coverage, more presenters and more everything else. Of course the “full Sky treatment” we were promised back in winter is exactly what they have delivered, but whether it is to your taste is of course a matter of opinion.

    Crofty and Brundle really doesn’t work as a commentary partnership for me. I had high hopes when they chose David, as many fans were saying he was better than some previous incumbents of the lead commentator role. As it happens he is very firmly in Legard territory, shouting absolute nonsense very very loudly half the time, while Brundle tries to pick out something important. This is especially no fun on the early morning races when the potential for a hangover from the pub the night before is high ;) Martin has now been out of the car for a long time and the BBC have the edge here with DC whose colour commentary is more informed with recent experience. Many times DC picks up on what has happened in a shot quicker than those over at Sky. For example in Melbourne as Grosjean collided with another car, DC called “broken suspension” right away while the Sky guys were fumbling around looking for the answers. Although he didn’t enjoy being lead comms, I feel Martin might have done better on the trajectory he was on at the BBC, but of course he had an understandable choice to make last summer.

    Now, I generally catch bits of the build up on Sky, before switching to the BBC for live commentary if they are running the race live. Sure it’d be nice to choose the onboard feeds etc etc, but these are gimmicks and toys rather than something that allows better understanding of a race.

    In summing up, to Sky: more is not always better. To the BBC under challenging circumstances: well done.

    • Crofty and Brundle really doesn’t work as a commentary partnership for me.

      im actually the opposite, I love croft/brundle & cannot stand listning to edwards/coulthard.

      croft can be a bit loud but that likely comes from working on radio where you have to use your voice to get across whats happening, as the season has gone on i think croft has started to adopt his style to tv & has stopped shouting & over-analysing things.

      i am a big fan of ben edwards, loved him when he did f1 on eurosport/f1 digital+ & loved his indycar & touring car commentary & was really looking forward to having him back on f1.

      however hes been a big dissapointment to me, i dont think he & dc have really clicked & despite thinking i’d watch the live races on the bbc i’ve ended up watching them on sky because i not only prefer croft/brundle but ive actually started to really hate listning to ben/dc.

  15. Andrew70 (@andrew70) said on 7th September 2012, 16:08

    Short term this BBC/SKY arrangement looked like a good deal to Bernie and let’s be frank, he’s not making many decisions based on long term considerations at his age.
    He took the captive pool of viewers that the BBC had amassed and gambled that – just like substance abusers – they’d crave their fix and follow the product.
    Some did decide to pay to feed their habit and gave SKY their shilling whilst other like myself now stand every other race, with noses pressed against the window. This dislocated pool of viewers milling about on the outside will slowly drift away though.
    For instance, I used to watch every qualifying session and every race religiously. (I think I’ve only missed two races since Diana died.)
    After the new deal was struck I tried to use other means to watch the intial exclusive races but now find both the effort to locate the footage and also avoid the result too onerous.
    Without the continuity of access to each race my viewing is now far more episodic. For a SKY race I don’t bother at all with qualifying and don’t enjoy the packaged nature of the BBC highlights so more often that not I don’t bother with that show either.
    When the BBC do have a race I’m less fussed now if I don’t see the qualifying so that’s more viewing hours the sponsors have lost from me.
    All the while, I’m talking about my viewing efforts as a long time fan of the sport. If fans like me are changing their attitude and viewing habits then the captive pool of viewers that Bernie assumed he could push into SKY’s arms is going to melt away like fog on a sunny morning.
    That should worry the teams because the sport must have a sufficiently large viewership to ensure that as it ages, enough new viewers can be nutured to replace those that depart.
    500-800k viewers per race in the UK isn’t enough to keep the viewer gene pool healthy in the long term and if viewing numbers ultimately dwindle, so will SKY’s commerically driven interest in F1.
    I can see it, many of you reading this can see it, and if we’re still watching then (unlikely), w’ed be able to say “We told you so.”

    • GT_Racer said on 7th September 2012, 17:19

      Short term this BBC/SKY arrangement looked like a good deal to Bernie

      Something to remember is that it wasn’t Bernie or FOM who went to Sky looking for a deal, Nor was it Sky approaching Bernie/FOM.

      It was the BBC who went to Sky & proposed the current deal to share coverage & it was BBC & Sky who worked out all the details & then went to Bernie with the proposal.

      Bernie/FOM accepted the deal because it was the best deal avaliable. BBC couldn’t afford the full season live & from what I understand some of the guys at the top of the BBC don’t want F1 full-stop. ITV didn’t want it (Don’t forget they dropped it Mid-contract in 2008), Channel 4 did want it but it would have seen a big drop in the quality of the coverage & Channel 5 didn’t have the budget so didn’t show intrest.

      F1 fans complain about Sky getting F1 & heap all the critisism’s about F1 going to a subscription service on Sky, However all they did is accept an offer that was put to them by the BBC & frankly they would have been dumb to reject it.

      Something to also think about regarding Sky is that the viewing figures were always going to be lower than on the BBC & Sky knew that going in.
      Its never been about viewing figures for Sky, All they will care about is if getting the F1 deal gained them subscribers & from everything I’ve been told they have data which shows getting F1 did gain them subscribers so from that point of view Sky are happy with the deal.
      Also the TV figures are in line with what Sky were expecting & have gone beyond there expectations a couple times.

      • F1antics (@f1antics) said on 7th September 2012, 22:02

        I don’t think the issue is whether Sky is happy or not. Why should we worry about them, or the BBC, or Bernie? Maybe this deal hasn’t hurt anyone: ex-viewers will find something else to do, the major F1 players don’t seem to be that bothered about “bums on seats”, the broadcasters are meeting their projected targets, etc. But I can’t help feeling that someone, somewhere will be hurting as F1 becomes increasingly irrelevant.

        In a sport where everyone’s scared of Bernie, will anyone speak out, or will F1 simply die a slow death in the UK?

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