BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your Verdict

The Brazilian Grand Prix is over and the 2012 Formula One World Champion has been crowned. The BBC F1 Forum and Sky Sports F1 race day programmes have gone off air for the final time this season.

I’ve illustrated many times on this blog the positives and negatives of both BBC and Sky in the past seven months on this blog. But now, I want your opinion.

The comments section is open for everyone to comment, so get your BBC and Sky thoughts in below this post. Where do you think BBC’s and Sky’s weaknesses are? What would you change for 2013? Where do you think either broadcaster excels? What would you add to the coverage? The best thoughts will be put into a new blog post in a few weeks time.

The Twitter outlook

After a fantastic return to America, this weekend it is Brazil for the final round of the 2012 season. Did America boost Twitter’s standings larger than normal? Let’s find out…

Drivers – The Top 10
01 – 1,278,415 – Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
02 – 1,245,533 – Jenson Button (McLaren)
03 – 1,224,844 – Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
04 – 521,308 – Bruno Senna (Williams)
05 – 491,540 – Mark Webber (Red Bull)
06 – 343,673 – Sergio Perez (Sauber)
07 – 301,045 – Pastor Maldonaldo (Williams)
08 – 219,425 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
09 – 213,621 – Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
10 – 200,594 – Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)

Drivers – Biggest Increases
01 – 33,244 – Fernando Alonso
02 – 19,348 – Lewis Hamilton
03 – 11,804 – Jenson Button
04 – 10,067 – Mark Webber
05 – 7,906 – Felipe Massa

Drivers – Smallest Increases
01 – 559 – Charles Pic
02 – 756 – Jean-Eric Vergne
03 – 889 – Timo Glock
04 – 1,073 – Vitaly Petrov
05 – 1,094 – Daniel Ricciardo

Some very large rises this week compared to normal in the charts, specifically Pedro de la Rosa jumped over 7,000 followers to break into the 200,000 follower club! By far his largest rise, so congratulations to him.

With Brazil being his home race, expect Felipe Massa to be in front of Nico Rosberg when next week comes around.

Teams – The Top 10
01 – 376,418 – Ferrari
02 – 262,153 – McLaren
03 – 191,543 – Red Bull
04 – 164,664 – Mercedes
05 – 158,005 – Lotus
06 – 92,668 – Caterham
07 – 90,995 – Marussia
08 – 90,595 – Sauber
09 – 90,471 – Force India
10 – 80,439 – Williams

Teams – Biggest Increases
01 – 6,084 – Red Bull
02 – 5,334 – Ferrari
03 – 4,652 – McLaren

Teams – Smallest Increases
01 – 811 – Caterham
02 – 843 – Toro Rosso
03 – 962 – Williams

A lot of milestones broken here. Marussia, Sauber and Force India break the 90,000 follower barrier with Sauber overtaking Force India too. And having won the Constructors’ Championship, I guess it is only fair that Red Bull record the biggest increase in the teams table.

Driver and Team statistics as of Tuesday 20th November 2012.

Predict the peak: Brazilian Grand Prix 2012

This Sunday marks the final round of the 2012 Formula One season, and as happened many times before, once again the championship race is heading down to the wire. Live from Interlagos, Brazil, on BBC One and Sky Sports F1, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will battle it out to be crowned the 2012 World Drivers’ Champion.

Races in primetime, or on the fringes of primetime, and with the title on the line in the final race means that a large peak is guaranteed. Or is it? Normally yes, except the competition this Sunday looks tough and goes against the Formula One for multiple reasons.

But first, a bit of history. In the past seven years, including this year, Brazil has been the final round five times. And in those five years, the championship was decided in Brazil four times. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, Brazil was the final round and all three were title deciders:

Peak figures
– 2006 – 6.4 million (28% share) at 19:30
– 2007 – 10.4 million (50% share) at 18:30
– 2008 – 12.5 million (49% share) at 18:45 [13.1 million was the 5-minute peak]

Spot the major difference between 2006 and the latter two years? That is the difference between no British drivers in 2006 and one British driver in 2007 and 2008, fuelling huge peaks for the title deciders involving Lewis Hamilton. Whilst a 6.2 million peak back in 2006 was big for Formula 1 which was going through a rotten period ratings wise in the United Kingdom back then, nowadays a 6.4 million peak is not too much bigger than your typical peak for a European race.

Peak figures
– 2009 – 8.9 million (39% share) at 18:30
– 2010 – 5.9 million

2009 and 2010 were not at the end of the calendar, instead was both times the penultimate race of the season. 2009 was Jenson Button’s title winning race, which is why it peaked significantly higher than 2010, but even so was nearly 4 million viewers lower than 2008’s nail-biting decider. Although the 2010 season was decided in Abu Dhabi, it did not stop that particular broadcast hitting 7.2 million viewers at its peak.

Peak figures
– 2011 – 6.1 million [5-minute peak]

Last year had a 5-minute peak of 6.1 million viewers, which was not a title decider. So how will 2012 do? I think we are looking at a combined peak of about 6.1 million to 6.5 million viewers. Why?

Like last year, which went up against Liverpool vs Manchester City, this year is going up against Chelsea vs Manchester City which will again draw over 3 million peak viewers for Sky Sports. That match will knock a good 1.5 million viewers off the Formula 1 viewership. From Sky’s perspective, that is ridiculous scheduling on their behalf, but no doubt they may boast on Monday morning about having a combined 4 million viewers on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports F1.

Also, viewing figures have been lower this year than in previous seasons, which makes me think that the audience this Sunday could be lower. If it rains though that could change things and bring in more of a casual audience, as 2008’s dramatic finale did, although the lack of British title contenders means that a peak over 10 million is very, very unlikely.

In any case, the viewing figures on Monday morning will be interesting. I have added a poll for those wishing to predict the combined peak, so comment away!

US Grand Prix sinks in primetime

The viewing figures for yesterday’s United States Grand Prix come in a smidgen under the Canadian Grand Prix ratings from June.

Live coverage of the race programme, screened on Sky Sports F1 from 17:30 to 22:30, averaged 856,000 viewers, a 3.3 percent share, which is slightly under the figure recorded in Canada which was just below 1 million viewers. BBC’s highlights coverage averaged 2.22 million viewers, again slightly under the 2.39 million viewers recorded for Canada in the 22:25 to 00:25 slot. The combined average is therefore around 3.0 million to 3.1 million viewers, a very disappointing figure for a primetime Formula 1 race. Looking at all of the averages from 2000 onwards for USA, all of them have been above 4 million viewers, except for 2000 which was screened live on ITV2 and 2006 which had 3.46 million viewers.

You could argue that a lot of people would be watching on Sky Go with it being a primetime race, but would that make up an extra million viewers? I am not so sure. There is definitely a ‘lost’ viewership somewhere. With both averages slightly below that of Canada, it would be a fair assumption to say that the peak was below the 4.87 million peak recorded for Canada. For what it is worth though, I believe the Canada figures are more acceptable than the USA figures because Canada was not a potential title decider and Canada was in the middle of the Summer of Sport so was lost in the shuffle. If the title had been won, it would have probably been the lowest title decider ratings since the days when the championship was decided in Japan.

The Qualifying ratings, and Sky’s practice ratings, can be found here.

Note: The ratings information comes from ITV Media and Digital Spy.

Update – The peak for Sky Sports F1 was 1.63 million (6.4% share) at 19:15. The BBC F1 peak was 2.82 million (15.9% share) at 22:35, meaning the combined peak is 4.45 million viewers. Have to say I am disappointed with the Sky peak, specifically the fact that it was at 19:15 and not towards the end of the race. The peak is not the largest of the season, either, that honour going to Canada’s 1.77 million, so as predicted the peak is slightly below that of Canada. It again shows the power that a terestrial channel has that a multichannel does not, Sky Sports F1 does not get casual viewers tuning in throughout the race, meaning it fails to gain a large peak at the end. Arguably 1.63 million is large for a multichannel, but not for Formula 1 and not for a potential title decider in primetime. That peak will probably also end up lower than the Ford Super Sunday game, which was between Fulham vs Sunderland.