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

  1. MW (@) said on 7th March 2013, 17:16

    Anyone else got a sat box which decrypts Sky signal and feeling pretty good right now :)
    It’s a bit like Apple and downloading torrents, rip me off and I’ll be forced to find alternate means.

  2. WillP said on 7th March 2013, 17:16

    “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.”

    This is interesting. However, would like to find out more! I could probably throw a tenner at sky for the odd race that I can not watch on the BBC… basically means finding up to £100 for the year. Just about acceptable to me. Still wouldn’t see qualifying for half the races, but its better than not seeing anything.

    However, is this on top of the £15 a month for the service? Or is it separate? I can’t really tell. The latter option is the only possibility to me.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th March 2013, 17:20

      The guy I spoke to said there would not be a subscription fee for that, just the one-off charge.

      The website mentions a subscription fee but it also doesn’t say anything about getting the sports channels so it mustn’t have been updated yet.

      • WillP said on 7th March 2013, 17:40

        Well that’s good to know, thanks. I know that £9.99 is still a bit of a mickey-take for 24 hours of access, but if I am sitting in my lounge with no sky, knowing a race is due to start in an hour, I can well imagine the temptation will be there to throw a tenner at the internet to stream the race legally and reliably, without the hassle and stress of a contract.

        I just hope what you says is true! I guess it will become apparent soon enough when it is launched.

  3. Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 7th March 2013, 17:17

    £510 could get you tickets to silverstone and spa….

  4. I Love the Pope said on 7th March 2013, 17:20

    Is the Sky coverage commercial free? We have cable in the States which is about $1400 a year and has commercials.

    Count your blessings.

  5. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 7th March 2013, 17:23

    ill stick with bbc thanks, the highlights are really pretty decent even on the race weekends where they dont get to show the live event. A good team team too, the only person i like on sky is ted kravitz, bbc will miss jake humphreys though

  6. Emma_LN said on 7th March 2013, 17:41

    Just to point out that you can also get SSF1 on VirginMedia for less than £30 a month depending on what package you go for.

  7. Tango (@tango) said on 7th March 2013, 17:44

    Here’s a thought: In France, we are moving towards Canal +, which is 40€ a month subscription (you do get great movies and programs besides F1, but I still find it a rip off). Obviously, I’m going to switch over and spend 400+€ for an activity which used to cost me 0€ (apart from the off year GP Week end, which is probably going to be slashed.) Anyway, just saying I know what you feel and even worse: we don’t get 9 free GPs a year ! All this gets me thinking: how is it going to change the viewing mix of F1 ?
    In France, we do not have a pub culture and watching F1 is more of a private matter (and a dwindling one, 2M viewers tops). I have a decent pay and can afford Canal + to get my F1 dose, but it didn’t come without heavy thinking (the wife is less hooked and had some objections). Of all my friends, I know only one (hardcore, much more than I am) who will pay the price. So from the 10 something friends I know which used to watch 2 out of 3 GPs, only one will continue doing so. It’s no scientific measure, but I feel casual fans will lose all chance of watching a GP.
    So who will compose tomorrow’s F1 viewers ? Hardcore fans and the off chance Football-fan who hoped to see a replay of the previous Champions league match. Let’s be real here : F1 does not have the pull of Football (it will have when karting is as cheap and accessible as football) so my guess is people being drawn to it through the TV (you know, Sunday morning, mum and dad are sleaping, there’s nothing to do…Ouh, shiny cars!) are by default going to become a rarity.
    The ever optimist then skips to the next train of thought : If this is so in England, in France, and is the future of sports viewership in the whole of Europe, what does it mean for F1’s future ? Well first, it will seem idiotic to speak about “a wider appeal” when your viewer base is solely comprised of die hard fans. Sure, this base will forever shrink, but its needs differ to the “broad audience”. Losing historic races ? “Never!”. Changing point system? “A heresy”. A P2P button ? “Is this Champ car or what?”. What I mean is, this might be the chance of a lifetime for real fans to have their voice heard, as it will be the one that really matters, as they will be the sole viewers….
    Obviously, reality is rather that F1 is shooting a bullet in its foot and compromises its future in both its historic countries but hey, one can always dream.

    • Luc said on 7th March 2013, 21:32

      You meant to say that there’s not going to be new fans watching f1? I agree, with Bernie’s greed, the new breed of f1 fans is non existant.

      I think Bernie will come back on this money making idea of his, as sponsors are in time less likely to step into f1, and the consequences will be well felt within the paddock.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 7th March 2013, 17:49

    Am I misunderstanding this? Does everyone need to pay 510 pounds just to watch F1 in the UK?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th March 2013, 21:21

      @freelittlebirds If you want to be able to see all the races live on your TV and you don’t buy the Sky HD pack at the lower price (£349.50) before April 9th, yes.

      • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 7th March 2013, 23:44

        Thanks Keith,

        510 is a lot – 350 sounds a lot better:-)

        I pay ~$210 dollars per month for TV/Internet/Phone. I suppose in a way I pay the same as you guys in the UK. F1 itself is not expensive in and of itself but the package is.

  9. Dizzy said on 7th March 2013, 17:50

    For those without sky the TV deal was always a bad thing, However as a Sky subscriber I have been loving there F1 coverage.

    I especially love all the extra feeds they have throughout a race weekend. Been able to go over to an in-car feed or listen to team radio on the pit feed during any session was simply brilliant last year & im looking forward to been able to do the same this year.
    i know that bbc has these on there website, but only for qualifying & race & they no longer have them on the tv.

    I now watch the main broadcast on my big screen tv, the onboard feed on my laptop next to the tv, the pit channel on my ipad via sky sporst app & the timing app on my iphone.

  10. I have a simple solution I adopted last year.

    I bought the Sky Sports App on my iPhone. The subscription for the Sky Sports package including F1 is £5 per month.

    I then put this app onto my iPad. Expanded the app. Hey presto full F1 coverage for a fiver. Not HD. But pretty good quality. Even watched some F1 in the car when out and about…

    The Sky Sports designed for the iPad costs a lot more – yes its better quality but v expensive.

    Simple but v effective solution.

    • TomEC1 said on 8th March 2013, 11:15

      I already have Sky HD but if I didn’t then I would probably do this – great idea!

      Does it even include Premiership football on the regular Sky Sports channels?

  11. Mickrock (@mickrock) said on 7th March 2013, 18:13

    unbelievable…. I’m stunned, gobsmacked, etc., etc.

  12. Brownerboy (@brownerboy) said on 7th March 2013, 18:16

    Looks like i’ll be upgrading my internet to fibre optic instead and find a good sky stream.

  13. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 7th March 2013, 18:23

    This £10-for-24 hours deal sounded tempting if there were other sports the same day as the Grand Prix. I enjoy cricket and football as well, so had a look when the Ashes series is on this summer…

    Only one of the five 5-day test matches coincides with a Grand Prix (Spa)…and that’s live on BBC! (the winter 2013-14 series is the same: the First Test in Brisbane coincides with the Brazilian GP, and that’s another BBC race). No doubt there’ll be football on the same day as some GPs, but this isn’t exactly the closest Premier League season ever…

    All very cynical – particularly as qualifying starts exactly 24 hours before the race on most weekends. Anyway life’s too short for pay TV. I can do without HD Packs, connection fees, disconnection fees, 18-month contracts, discounts and half price offers designed to confuse, haggling and threatening to leave, cold calls selling “upgrades” and hours wasted on the phone altogether.

    Interested to see what Jake and his mates at BT can offer when they launch their service.

  14. Chris H (@wolfie9985) said on 7th March 2013, 18:23

    I wonder if $ky mentioned that in their advertising campaign which I am seeing everywhere at the moment. I see a lot of ads of TV and even a special booklet that came with this month’s “F1 Racing” magazine (the booklet was very quickly put through the shredder and binned).

    Spending all of this money on advertising, and then bumping the price up like this, which will only put people off, must be costing them an absolute fortune.

    Combine that with the fact that they never exceeded 1m viewers for any race and averaged 0.6m over the season ( http://www.f1revs.com/2012/11/bbc-sky-f1-viewing-figures-2012.html ), I fail to see how they can even afford to continue down this path.
    With a 16% drop in viewers on the previous season, bearing in mind last season was arguably one of the best ever seasons in F1, it seems as if F1’s first season on subscription TV in the UK has failed.

    Still, if they want to price themselves out of F1 and lose a ton of money in the process, then they can be my guest. I will not pay an extortionate amount of money to watch on $ky or any other subscription service. Ever.
    As already mentioned, I use that saved money to go to Silverstone, and then spend the other £350+ as I see fit, whilst still watching the entire of the season on the BBC (albeit at a hacked down version), for free.

  15. Wessel (@wessel-v1) said on 7th March 2013, 18:29

    In the Netherlands this is going to be the first year that you have to pay monthly to watch formula 1 (unless you want to get German commentary). Not quite as much as what you have to pay, it’s astonishing. As a student, the only option for me seems to be ‘the grey area’ of less legal sky streaming. The quality Sky offers is great, but the price is extraordinary.

  16. The Solution said on 7th March 2013, 18:40

    I would rather eat horse manure than subscribe to Sky :o

    I use an extra satellite dish, and point it to Astra 19.2E … I watch the non-BBC races on RTL instead. The installation cost less than £200, and it has already paid for itself …..

    • John H (@john-h) said on 7th March 2013, 21:28

      I tried this too, but some rather inconvenient trees mean 19.2E is just impossible! Unfortunately, paying the £100 to Murdoch seems rather tempting now… should I be ashamed? Please forgive me.

  17. Lemon (@lemon) said on 7th March 2013, 18:41

    So basically if I want the F1 channel I need to get in straight away?

  18. tifosimac said on 7th March 2013, 20:08

    No surprise there and if you think of it some £40 a month for all Sky have to offer is not too bad.

    Also the £9,99 deal means that one can see all the races live for less than £100 per season.

  19. Otsug said on 7th March 2013, 20:14

    Iv`e been through the gut wrenching feeling of F1 not being accesable but there is a lot to be said for watching the timing board via FOM with a good radio commentry. you can watch all the action sector by sector. But that`s me still missing free to air schedule of `The good old days`……

    • F1antics (@f1antics) said on 8th March 2013, 1:31

      I never watched anything apart from the on-track action on Sky last year, and even then reluctantly, because I don’t like their style of presenting. So instead, I think I’ll be quite happy this year with the F1 timing app, radio coverage, and the BBC highlights (for the non-BBC races). The app’s expensive compared to other apps, but if you look at it as a substitute for TV coverage it’s pretty good value – the visuals are impressive and there’s an awful lot of data to make the race exciting to nerdy F1 fans like me. I appreciate that not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, but if you do it’s worth investigating.

  20. NickTheGeek (@nickthegeek) said on 7th March 2013, 21:01

    I sadly called this move back at the start of all this.

    I would be an arrogant git and say “ah well its ok for me as I have HD etc” but that isn’t the point. It’s the fans that cannot stretch to it that upsets me. To be honest we really can’t but we don’t have any other vices.

    Part of me does wonder if they are using the scarcity tactic here. Its well known that people will go mad for something if they think the price is going to rocket or the item is going to be impossible to get soon. Will sky see a lot of fencers going HD before the deadline? maybe I am over thinking it.

    I suspect we will see it back in the HD pack if the change doesnt increase revenue. If they remove it from the HD pack then they can **** ***

    • NickTheGeek (@nickthegeek) said on 7th March 2013, 21:06

      Oh interestingly they are running an offer at the moment to get it as part of the HD pack for £5 (on the basis that you are a non HD customer). I think I have their game.

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