How Sky’s pre-season ratings predictions match up versus their 2013 predictions

Before the start of the 2012 season, back in January, Sky Media released an sponsorship pack for potential sponsors to sponsor the new Sky Sports F1 channel. As we know, Santander became the sponsor of Sky Sports F1, however, the partnership only lasted a season.

The result of the split between Sky and Santander means that a new sponsorship pack has been released by Sky, as I mentioned yesterday. The interesting thing here is that there is a new ‘Estimated Audience Delivery’ table, which means different numbers so we can see how Sky’s pre-season ratings predictions stack up with their 2013 predictions, which I assume is their real 2012 ratings.

2012 sponsorship pack (January 2012 – page 4)
2013 sponsorship pack (December 2012 – page 2)

Firstly it is worth mentioning what is meant by TVR. To quote from the Attentional glossary: “TVR: Television Rating. This is the audience of a programme or daypart expressed as a percentage of the population as a whole. For examples, an Adults 16-34 TVR of 20% for EastEnders means that 20% of all 16-34’s living in UK television households watched that programme.” So in January 2012, Sky predicted that 1.34% of the ‘Individual’ universe would watch Sky for the live exclusive races. For the sake of this blog, I have converted the TVR’s into raw viewing figures using that particular total Universe population.

Secondly, some words are abbreviated in the 2012 pack, so to help:

– INDS = All individuals
– ADS = Adults aged 16 and over
– ABC1 ADS = Adults aged 16 and over that fall into the ABC1 demographic category
– ABC1 MEN = Men aged 16 and over that fall into the ABC1 demographic category
– MEN = Men aged 16 and over

Because Sky Media has not included the ‘ABC1 ADS’ category in the 2013 pack, it is impossible to gather any meaningful data from that, as thus, it is ignored for this blog.

The headline figures are of course the race figures. And on the whole, the 2013 figures have been revised upwards from their 2012 predictions. In their 2012 pack, Sky predicted 288,000 individual viewers for each of the shared races. They’ve quite comfortably had nearly double of that figure so it is little surprise to see the 2013 figure adjusted. They have also outdrawn their 2012 race predictions in the three key demographics (Adults, ABC1 Men and Men) and as thus, all three see a rise for 2013.

The only figure that Sky have had to adjust downwards for the race is the total audience for when they are the only broadcaster live, which seems a bit of an odd one when all of the major demographics have gone upwards. This suggests that the audience is skewing older than expected (hence the rise is Adults and Men), meaning that they are missing a lot of the audience under 16.

Exclusive races (2012 prediction vs 2013 prediction)
Individuals – 773,000 vs 598,000
Adults – 457,000 vs 564,000
ABC1 Men – 174,000 vs 184,000
Men – 326,000 vs 336,000

The qualifying figures are a tale of two halves. When the coverage is shared with BBC, Sky are doing better than anticipated, but when they are screening the coverage exclusively live, they are not bringing in the younger audience. Looking at BBC’s audience, they are struggling to bring in a young audience as well, for the Brazilian Grand Prix, only 285,000 viewers were under 16. I think Sky were hoping that the launch of the Formula 1 channel would help bring a young audience to watch Formula 1 but that has not happened.

Exclusive qualifying sessions (2012 prediction vs 2013 prediction)
Individuals – 646,000 vs 333,000
Adults – 383,000 vs 314,000
ABC1 Men – 144,000 vs 103,000
Men – 274,000 vs 193,000

For me, though, the major ouch comes with the figures for practice and The F1 Show. In their 2012 pack, Sky predicted an average of 213,000 viewers for practice and 167,000 viewers for The F1 Show. Those of you who read my weekly top ten’s for Sky Sports F1 will know that neither of those two targets have been hit. Their revised 2013 prediction for practice is 80,000 viewers, whilst Sky predict that only 17,000 viewers will watch each episode of The F1 Show in 2013. The practice figure is just over a third of the 2012 prediction, whilst The F1 Show has only achieved 10 percent of what was anticipated back in January. I’ve stated before that I believe The F1 Show is the best part of the Sky Sports F1 portfolio at the moment, but that does not hide the fact that the viewing figures are disastrously low. The 2013 sponsorship pack confirms that The F1 Show will return for 2013, so we shall see if the figures do improve.

I think the conclusion here is that on one hand, Sky will be extremely pleased that they are doing better than expected when live on air with BBC, but on the other hand they will be somewhat disappointed that their exclusive coverage, in particular The F1 Show is not bringing in as many viewers as they expected.

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