A summary of all the opinion and blog pieces from BBC and Sky over the past few days since the German Grand Prix.
Sky have today revealed their financial results for the past twelve months from June 30th, 2011 to June 30th, 2012. Below is the parts of the press release where they tout the success of Sky Sports F1:
“Our ‘Summer of Sport in HD’ campaign combined with the continued success of our Sky Sports F1 HD channel contributed to 121,000 HD additions in the quarter. With over half a million additions across the year, HD penetration of our base has now reached 41%.”
“Our innovative new coverage of Formula 1 on Sky Sports F1 HD continues with an unprecedented and exciting start to the season with seven different winners in the first ten races and over 7.3 million viewers watching the new channel.”
“Sports costs were £12 million higher year on year with the first time inclusion of the Formula 1 channel being partly offset by lower costs for cricket, golf and boxing due to the absence of biennial and other events such as the Ryder Cup and the Haye Klitschko fight that were included in the comparative year.”
Of course the 7.3 million viewership figure above is a three minute reach for the channel, so to say “7.3 million viewers have watched at least three minutes of the Sky Sports F1 channel” since it launched in March. Of course, those that read my blog will know that the programme averages from 11:30 to 16:15 or 12:00 to 14:35, or whatever it may be, is substantially lower than the 7.3 million touted above.
I don’t know what the respective cricket, golf and boxing budgets are, so it would be inaccurate of me to attempt to work out how much Formula 1 costs for Sky, apart from using the £40 million figure that has already been quoted in the press when the deal was announced last year.
As you may have seen on my Twitter, I am on holiday from now until Saturday 4th August, so I’m keeping this post short.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of data available, but what is available shows that the F1 was hit by the warm weather and the other sporting competition. ITV Media reported earlier that BBC Two’s highlights programme had 1.9 million (12%), although that has been since pulled along with a whole host of other ratings information. That is almost certainly true, as the programme is not in the top 10, and therefore below 1.853 million to 3.d.p. I am also unsure if that rating includes BBC HD. If it doesn’t, then we can add another 400,000 viewers to the 1.9 million.
Sky Sports F1 had 901,000 viewers (9.3%). If we are to compare that to Bahrain, the last European race which was Sky exclusive, they had 738,000 viewers (6.2%) in the overnight ratings. Malaysia had slightly higher viewing figures, but I do not believe that is a vaild comparison due to the red flag period inflating the average.
So overall, how much of an effect did the ‘free weekend’ have on the race viewership? Difficult to tell, but I think we are looking at a 20 percent figure for those that do not subscribe to Sky Sports F1, but watched last Sunday. What I shall do in the officials is do a full comparison between Germany and Bahrain – in theory, despite the warmer weather every session should see an increase due to the increased reach potential.
Onto the negatives, however. 1.9 million for the BBC highlights (with or without HD) is the lowest race highlights figure yet. Combined, the BBC and Sky figure will be the lowest since 2006, although it will be very nip-and-tuck with the 3.28 million average that ITV had in 2008.
With regards sporting competition, the Tour de France peaked with 3.55m (28.2%) on ITV1 and ITV4 while the Open Golf averaged 2.36m (20%) across six and a half hours on BBC One.
1 – 45k – The F1 Show (Friday, 20:00)
2 – 15k – F1 Legends (Wednesday, 23:15)
3 – 15k – Canadian Grand Prix Highlights (Wednesday, 20:00)
4 – 15k – F1 Legends (Thursday, 23:24)
5 – 13k – Fast Track (Wednesday, 22:30)
6 – 13k – GP2 Marathon: Monaco Grand Prix Feature Race (Saturday, 17:01)
7 – 12k – 1989 Season Review (Thursday, 22:14)
8 – 11k – 1988 Season Review (Friday, 21:00)
9 – 11k – GP2 Marathon: British Grand Prix Feature Race (Saturday, 22:08)
10 – 11k – Fast Track (Thursday, 23:30)
A solid set of figures, although the channel reach was the lowest yet.
Sky have not long gone off the air, completing their weekend of free coverage. If you are a Virgin Media or Sky customer, I want to know if you are planning as a result to upgrade packages to watch F1.
To allow me to create an analysis, the poll is split into four sections.
Section 1 asks for how you watch.
Section 2 concerns Sky customers only.
Section 3 concerns Virgin Media customers only.
Section 4 asks what you thought of Sky’s German Grand Prix coverage.
Section 5 asks what you thought of Sky’s German Grand Prix coverage in comparison with BBC’s overall coverage.
Everyone can answer sections 1 and 4, only Sky and Virgin Media customers can answer sections 2 and 3 respectively.
Comment below saying what you put and also extra opinions. I shall publish the results here next week if there is enough of a consensus.