Sky to raise F1 channel cost and offer cut-price stream

Television

Christian Horner, Buddh International Circuit, 2012The cost of watching F1 on Sky in the UK will rise to ??510 per season next month.

On April 9th the Sky F1 channel will become part of the Sky Sports package which costs ??21 per month on top of a ??21.50 per month Sky subscription (excluding offers), with a minimum 12-month contract.

The F1 channel is currently part of the HD pack which costs ??381 per year (discounted to ??349.50 at present). Existing Sky customers who receive the F1 channel through the HD pack will continue to do so after the move. According to Sky, 4.5 million subscribers have the HD pack.

Sky is also planning to offer on-demand access to Sky Sports via its Now TV streaming website. This service, which does not require a Sky contract, will offer 24 hours’ access to Sky Sports, including the F1 channel, for ??9.99.

Nine of this year’s nineteen races will be shown on free-to-air television in the UK. All the rounds are being shown on Sky.

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156 comments on Sky to raise F1 channel cost and offer cut-price stream

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  1. This is just great! Really feel like bursting with anger at the moment!

  2. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 7th March 2013, 16:14

    “Existing Sky customers who receive the F1 channel through the HD pack will continue to do so after the move.”

    Without this point, they would lose a LOT of subscribers

    • Jack Lenox (@jacklenox) said on 7th March 2013, 16:17

      I was about to say, my heart skipped a beat then. What?! But thankfully I’ll keep my HD subscription and therefore access to Sky F1.

      Presumably it will only be a matter of time before they cut access for HD subscribers though? 2013 I’m guessing?

    • robk23 (@robk23) said on 7th March 2013, 19:06

      I almost had a small coronary mishap when I read that headline but at least it will stay on the HD pack for existing subscribers. I couldn’t justify the sports pack for F1 alone (I don’t watch any other sports apart from Wimbledon and the Australian Open).

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 7th March 2013, 22:38

        @robk23 – …and Wimbeldon is broadcast on the good ‘ol BBC still! I don’t watch any other sports apart from tennis and the six nations either, and they are usually on the Beeb so if it were me I would probably be rather peeved having to sign up to the Sky Sports pack!

  3. Nick.UK (@) said on 7th March 2013, 16:18

    Still a rip off.

    Boo to the Murdoch empire!

    • James (@iamjamm) said on 7th March 2013, 16:24

      Or, you know, boo to the BBC for ditching their coverage early which is what gave Sky the opportunity to bid for the rights…

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 7th March 2013, 16:26

        I’m slating the criminal and evil no ethics media corportaion. I said nothing of the BBC/sky F1 situation… you know..

      • ajokay (@ajokay) said on 7th March 2013, 16:33

        I’m giving neither of them any of my month this coming season.

      • PeacockAntony (@peacockantony) said on 7th March 2013, 16:49

        The BBC didn’t ditch it early, and Sky didn’t bid either. The BBC approached Sky to share the coverage.
        The BBC have extended their contract which was due to end at the end of this year, but have reduced the amount they are showing to reduce costs, because of the cuts being made across the BBC budget, because of them having to find money to pay for things that they have not had to pay for before.

        • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 7th March 2013, 17:53

          “because of them having to find money to pay for” coverage of the olympics for 2 weeks every 4 years which was extended after they cut formula one coverage.

          Is that what you ment to say?

          • PeacockAntony (@peacockantony) said on 7th March 2013, 18:30

            No that is not what I “ment to say”.

            But of course that won’t have helped.

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 8th March 2013, 10:08

            They did ‘over-invest’ in the Olympics, but then it was in the UK, something that doesn’t happen often.

            Also, the BBC’s cover was nothing short of absolutely stunning. You only have to watch the hash NBC made of the US coverage and what C4 made of the Paralympics to understand how good the BBC’s coverage was.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 8th March 2013, 11:38

            That may be so, but Sky coverage is head and shoulders above the BBC feed. The coverage the BBC gave was always lacking in content for the real enthusiast. Sky have really taken their coverage to heart. They are constantly evalutating it iimproving it and really getting stuck in with the coverage.

  4. AJK (@ajk) said on 7th March 2013, 16:19

    Saw this coming a mile away! And next year it’ll be… “the F1 channel is no longer available to existing subscribers on the HD pack, it’s now only available as part of the Sky Sports subscription.” And what next after that?

  5. Deaks2 (@deaks2) said on 7th March 2013, 16:19

    I wish we had streaming in Canada :( I wonder if it will be possible to get around the geo-block with a low-cost proxy…

  6. £10 for 24 hour access! So £20 to see qualifying and the race. A bit on the steep side if you’re only interested in f1 and none of the other sports available that weekend.

  7. mattshaw85 (@mattshaw85) said on 7th March 2013, 16:26

    Urgh. But I have to say it was always going to happen wasn’t it?

    I just wish we had a choice. But we’re pretty much held to randsom.

  8. Hydro (@hydrouk) said on 7th March 2013, 16:26

    Okay I’ve read this over and over but I’m going to ask just to make 100% sure because this still worries me. As a Sky customer with the HD pack already, I will continue to get the F1 channel indefinitely after the move?

  9. James (@iamjamm) said on 7th March 2013, 16:27

    Before everyone starts whinging about SKY/Bernie, just remember it was the BBC who decided to cut their rights deal early, which is what allowed Sky to bid for the rights in the first place. Sky’s business model is based on subscriptions and they’re entitled to charge you how they see fit.

    Also, if the BBC hadn’t overbid for the rights from the 2009 season in the first place, then you/the sport wouldn’t be in this situation.

    • LosD (@losd) said on 7th March 2013, 16:37

      That BBC were fools doesn’t make Sky’s move any less *******.

    • PeacockAntony (@peacockantony) said on 7th March 2013, 16:53

      The BBC have had to make cuts to costs on all of their budgets. The F1 rights cost a lot. They have chosen to reduce the coverage to save money, they could have seen their contract out till it ran out at the end of this year and just dumped it completely, but they have not done this so it is not that they don’t want to show F1, just that with the budgets at the moment they cannot afford it all.

    • F1antics (@f1antics) said on 7th March 2013, 20:44

      The UK Government put the squeeze on the BBC in a number of ways, not least that the BBC has to pay for the installation of rural high-speed broadband out of licence fee income, to the tune of at least £300m. Labour and the Lib Dems had proposed a “levy” to pay for it, but the Conservative government rejected that. This is is the same government whose leader was (is?) close friends with Rebekah Brooks, CEO of New International and protegee of Rupert Murdoch (who owns BSkyB).

      I’m sure that the people who read and post here are aware of the many challenges facing the BBC (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/19/bbc-licence-fee-frozen), and the relationship the current government has with BSkyB, so I don’t really understand the vilification of the BBC or the defence of Sky. The gradual move from public to paid content is a result of a plan to weaken public broadcasting in the UK, and to strengthen companies like News Corporation, and empires like the Murdoch’s. And, sadly, as more and more people give Sky their hard-earned money, more programmes will be lost to the average viewer and will only be available to those who can afford it. Eventually we’ll all be over Sky’s barrel, and they’ll charge whatever they want.

      It’s like watching frogs being slowly boiled alive. At some point in the future all the people here breathing a sigh of relief that they’re not the ones being screwed this time around, will realise it’s their turn. And they’ll have funded it.

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 8th March 2013, 0:30

        @f1antics Well deserved comment of the day.

      • Whilst there are indeed a number of challenges facing the BBC, they haven’t helped themselves, be it biased news coverage, social engineering or the high-handed manner in which their empire is run. Still, the thing that is most deserving of F1 fans’ ire is the manner in which they colluded with Sky during their original 3-year contract, to prevent rival free broadcasters getting in on the act, all the while telling us what a great deal it was for F1 fans in the UK. It still grates with me that they regularly claim live coverage of every race (yes, it’s true, but it’s deliberately misleading, and they know it).

    • Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk) said on 8th March 2013, 14:09

      Why do the F1 rights cost so much? Who’s getting all the money?

      Bernie Ecclestone has ruined the sport I once loved. I’m so sad.

  10. Rob (@cymro) said on 7th March 2013, 16:32

    Say you’re a diehard F1 fan with no interest in other sport and want to watch all sessions of all Grand Prix with Now TV; you have to expend £29.97 a weekend or £569.43 for the entire season…. What a rip off!

    • bachir said on 8th March 2013, 14:03

      I believe Now TV is only for people who occasionally watch sport and don’t wish to subscribe for 12 months, besides I believe you still can watch all other sports channels like ss1 with one access which includes footie as well, therefore you could enjoy lots of contents. P.s I’ll stick with BBC highlight for now. :-)

  11. Jay Cee said on 7th March 2013, 16:35

    So £20 for a race weekend plus the £15 monthly subscription….gonna be expensive with the back to back races.

  12. DebsG said on 7th March 2013, 16:35

    So for those of us who have the HD but not Sky Sports, we will still get it? Unless there’s some other catch I’ve missed. Sky is already a rip off. If I don’t get the F1 with my HD pack I’m going to cancel the lot. And as for £9.99 for 24 hours of sport!!!!??

  13. Paul (@fieldstvl) said on 7th March 2013, 16:37

    This is not annoying for me yet, as I am a current Sky HD customer (only have Sky for the F1, mind).

    But if we’re forced to go for the full Sky Sports package I’m not sure I could justify the cost. As it’s Sky, it’s likely they’ll offer some kind of reduced rate if and when the day comes that I threaten to leave, but I can see this potentially getting messy.

    Based on a sample of my friends that like F1, there aren’t many among us who are fans of ‘sport.’ For most of us, we like F1, some like motorsport as a whole, but… that’s pretty much it. There would be little benefit of having a whole bunch of channels dedicated to all that other sporty goodness as, frankly, we don’t care for it! I’d be interested as to whether this is the case across the board for other ‘hardcore’ F1 fans.

    • Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 7th March 2013, 16:42

      Kinda the same for me, F1 attracts a different type of person. I like sports but F1 and other motorsports are the only “must see” events.

    • LosD (@losd) said on 7th March 2013, 16:43

      Almost same here: I’m into F1 and NFL.

      I am really no fan most other sports (even motorsports, except 24 Heures du Mans).

      - Especially European football, which is pretty annoying here in Denmark where everyone keeps blabbering about this most boring of subjects.

      • Palle (@palle) said on 7th March 2013, 19:19

        Here in Denmark, You can watch F1 on German RTL if You have Yousee basic TV package (Cable TV). But everyone can get a German IP adress via a VPN solution and stream both the qualifying and the race from RTL. Drawback is of course if You don’t understand German and if You do, You have to put up with a very German-driver biased commentary. With all the hooliganism and the european football only being transmitted on pay-TV channels I lost interest in it 20 years ago. I still appreciate a good technical detail in football, but I don’t want to pay money to be able to watch it. Then rather NFL, but it destroys my nights sleep certain sundays especially early in the year so I revert from it – i.e. I don’t want to be “hooked” on it, like I am with F1.

    • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 7th March 2013, 18:04

      I’m afraid I don’t fit your profile. I’m a Man United season ticket holder and follow not only football but cricket too. I’ll also watch most major sports events (Tour de France, Le Mans, Indy500, Olympics etc).

      As such, having Sky Sports is a must for me! However I can completely understand how those fans who aren’t into other sports must find it hugely frustrating to be faced with the prospect of having to pay a very expensive subscription for less than two live events per month.

  14. vuelve kowalsky said on 7th March 2013, 16:38

    here in spain is still free, but they are talking about being may be the last year free. I have been a fan for more than 30 years, but i won’t pay to watch f1 races, i would go for moto gp and world superbikes, and get the info later about f1 on the internet. Sorry bernie, you won’t get this fan.

  15. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 7th March 2013, 16:45

    Got my hopes up for a minute there. I’d definitely pay a tenner a month for F1 but 30 per race weekend to make sure I see all the action is ridiculous. Yes I can and I will blame Bernie. He needs to pull his wrinkly finger out and set up a streaming service. I’ve got money, he wants it. Why won’t he let me give it to him?

    • Rob (@cymro) said on 7th March 2013, 16:53

      I concur, since sky already offers all the Sky Sport and F1 channels on their Sky Sports TV app for £4.98/month. However the quality and reliability of the stream is woeful!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 7th March 2013, 18:00

      @spawinte, Bernie tried the subscription-direct route back in the 90′s with the option to choose to view whichever camera you wanted or all cameras at once etc. but being Bernie (who apparently uses his daughters as a guide to peoples spending habits ) it was hugely expensive and failed to attract enough viewers.

      • vuelve kowalsky said on 7th March 2013, 18:09

        but he never stops trying. Now he is going this way, and it looks to me that he is succeding?!!! unless a big group of fans get together and make sponsors think about it, bernie is not going to stop. He believes has a god given right to get everybody’s cash.
        But i don’t see a united front in the blogs against it. I guess people in the uk have the means and the will to pay.

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