Sky Sports F1 – Top 10 ratings (week ending 14th April, 2013)

From BARB:

1 – 489k – Live Chinese Grand Prix (Sunday, 06:30)
2 – 290k – Live Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying (Saturday, 06:00)
3 – 105k – Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying Replay (Saturday, 12:30)
4 – 69k – The F1 Show (Friday, 11:00)
5 – 66k – 1993 European Grand Prix (Saturday, 08:49)
6 – 61k – Live Chinese Grand Prix Practice 2 (Friday, 06:45)
7 – 57k – Live Chinese Grand Prix Practice 1 (Thursday, 26:45)
8 – 44k – 1993 European Grand Prix (Sunday, 12:01)
9 – 41k – Chinese Grand Prix Practice 1 Replay (Friday, 15:31)
10 – 41k – Chinese Grand Prix Replay (Sunday, 12:30)

The main stand out here is the 1993 European Grand Prix ratings, over 100,000 viewers combined. Interesting as well to note that the Sunday airing made the top 10, but the preceding F1 Legends episode did not. Although I do think the series is a great strand by Sky, the choice of person (Tony Brooks) would be recognisable to very little of their current audience.

No Chinese Grand Prix airings made BBC’s top ten, but Driven: The Fastest Woman in the World (their title, not mine) scraped into BBC Two’s top ten with 1.15 million viewers.

Note: Bahrain Grand Prix overnight ratings will be on the site in the next day or two.

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Bahrain and ‘catch 22’

Whilst the Formula 1 season heads into round four, as with 2012, the main headlines focus not on what is happening on the track, but instead an attempt to divert the situation to the events that are occurring off the track. The Bahrain Grand Prix is again a talking point as the media wonders whether Formula 1 should be in the country racing, or not. For the purposes of this blog, I’m not going to answer that question, mainly because I do not know that answer. I am not in Bahrain, nor do I have on me the facts or figures that led those in a position of power and Formula One Management (FOM) to choose to race at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend. The purpose of this blog is mainly to address a few gripes of mine, but also to try and understand the reasons behind it.

The main gripe concerns journalists appearing to jump onto the Formula 1 bandwagon, only to criticise the sport. On Twitter last night, the example I gave was senior BBC Sport journalist Dan Roan, who does not follow the Formula 1 circus. The problem I have is that journalists such as Roan do not appear to praise Formula 1 and only seem to criticise where necessary. For example, Roan was not present at last month’s Chinese Grand Prix, nor did he interview Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber following the team orders’ controversy. As far as the current season is concerned, that is definitely the biggest story so far with many possible ramifications, yet journalists such as Roan were not present to follow that story. One Formula 1 team member told me last night “it feels safer here than [in] London”. So why do journalists such as Roan go to Bahrain?

The answer is fairly complex. Roan, as a BBC Sport journalist would go to Bahrain with the written intention of reporting on the Grand Prix. Once in Bahrain, however, he and his team are free to do what they like and report on whatever they see, regardless of where it may be within the country. Who wins or who loses this Sunday is not an issue for him or for his particular story – the only purpose of the ‘Sports journalist’ tag in this context is to get him into Bahrain. Had BBC sent out a correspond with the ‘Middle East journalist’ tag to report on the issues in Bahrain at any other time of the year, they would have been arrested on the spot. Last year, Channel 4 News’ Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller was arrested and deported. Today, ITN’s news team and a France 24 correspondent were arrested and released earlier today. It is a catch 22 situation. I may not like that, because it brings a lot of bad publicity towards Formula 1, but it is the only way journalists can get into the country to report on the countries issues.

A secondary issue I don’t like is how Formula 1 is used for political purposes. Formula 1 is primarily a sport and entertainment spectacle. It should not used as a political tool for or against the regime in charge. I do not believe that this is an issue this year, but it definitely was last year with the “UniF1ed: One Nation in Celebration” poster. To bring that poster to perspective, it would be the equivalent of the British Grand Prix supporting the current government. The situations of course are extremely different in nature, but the promotional tool used would be identical. So then you may ask, why is Formula 1 racing in Bahrain? If it brings bad public press, then surely Formula 1 should just stop racing there. If journalists are going to enter Bahrain at the same time as Formula 1 every year, then what benefit does Formula 1 bring to the country? If you are to argue that their human rights record means that they should stop racing there, then couldn’t the same be said for Brazil or China or multiple other countries? I don’t know.

The sad thing is that after this weekend the journalists will soon move back out of Bahrain and the people of Bahrain will be left without an international voice for another year. It all seems to be a rather sad state of affairs that Formula 1 has – again – become embroiled in.

Sky Sports F1 – Top 10 ratings (week ending 7th April, 2013)

From BARB:

1 – 65k – The F1 Show (Friday, 20:00)
2 – 19k – F1 Legends (Friday, 18:00)
3 – 16k – The F1 Show (Friday, 22:01)
4 – 15k – The F1 Show (Saturday, 10:00)
5 – 13k – Ted’s Australian Race Notebook (Wednesday, 21:30)
6 – 12k – Williams FW35 Car Build (Monday, 19:31)
7 – 12k – Malaysian GP2 Feature Race Replay (Tuesday, 22:01)
8 – 12k – Inside Track: Damon Meets Lewis (Wednesday, 21:46)
9 – 12k – Australian Grand Prix Highlights (Wednesday, 20:00)
10 – 11k – The F1 Show (Sunday, 20:01)

As an extra this week, here is how Sky Sports F1’s reach is fairing year-on-year:

2012 vs 2013
– Australia race week – 3.405 million vs 2.383 million
– Malaysia race week – 3.473 million vs 2.832 million
– No race week 1 – 684,000 vs 751,000
– No race week 2 – 608,000 vs 394,000

Overall, the channel is trending down versus last year, if you can average out reaches year-on-year then it is an ‘average’ weekly reach of 2.04 million vs 1.59 million.

Football competition hurts Chinese Grand Prix ratings

Competition from Sky Sports 1’s Ford Super Sunday and ITV’s coverage of The FA Cup yesterday dented Formula 1’s ratings yesterday, overnight figures show. BBC One’s re-run show averaged only 1.35 million viewers, the lowest ever figure for a Chinese Grand Prix re-run. On Sky, their second Ford Super Sunday game from 14:00 averaged 1.21 million viewers, whilst ITV’s FA Cup coverage had over 4 million viewers.

The dent in the re-run rating did not increase the live ratings, as both BBC and Sky were down year-on-year. BBC One’s live coverage brought 2.58 million (35.6 percent) to the channel, compared with 2.85 million (39.4 percent) last year. Sky averaged 455,000 viewers from 06:30 to 11:00, compared with 480,000 from 06:30 to 11:30 last year. Overall, here is a summary of the overnight race ratings:

2008 – 4.42 million (2.44m + 1.98m)
2009 – 4.63 million (3.23m + 1.40m)
2010 – 4.70 million (3.17m + 1.53m)
2011 – 4.74 million (3.27m + 1.47m)
2012 – 4.93 million (2.85m + 1.60m + 480k)
2013 – 4.38 million (2.58m + 1.35m + 455k)

The live race on BBC One peaked with 3.88 million, compared with 4.21 million last year; Sky’s peak being 846,000 viewers versus 887,000 viewers last year. Whilst the football was a valid reason for the BBC’s re-run ratings, it does not explain the drop for the race ratings, especially when you consider that a Brit was on pole.

Whilst the race was down year-on-year, Qualifying and Practice performed very well, soaring to record highs for China despite the farce that Qualifying turned into. BBC’s live coverage averaged 1.13 million, up on 1.09 million last year. The re-run averaged 1.90 million (20.6 percent) versus 1.17 million (11.9 percent) last year, albeit last year’s Qualifying re-run was on BBC Two. Sky’s coverage was marginally up – 283,000 viewers versus 251,000 viewers last year. Here is a round-up of Qualifying in China:

2008 – 1.96 million (0.63m + 1.33m)
2009 – 2.90 million (1.00m + 1.90m)
2010 – 2.30 million (1.13m + 1.17m)
2011 – 2.93 million (1.38m + 1.55m)
2012 – 2.53 million (1.09m + 1.17m + 251k)
2013 – 3.31 million (1.13m + 1.90m + 287k)

Finally practice on BBC Two performed very solidly for the channel. Live coverage of practice 2 averaged 201,000 viewers, whilst the re-runs averaged 311,000 viewers and 470,000 viewers.

Scheduling: The 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

From China, the teams and drivers quickly move onto the Bahrain Grand Prix. As usual, Sky will be screening five previous races from the circuit – in this case 2006 through to 2010. GP2 is also back on the schedule after not appearing in China, this being round two of their season. Below are all the details you need:

Tuesday 16th April
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Friday 19th April at 23:10
22:15 to 00:30 – F1: 2007 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Saturday 20th April at 15:05

Wednesday 17th April
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Saturday 20th April at 20:15
22:15 to 00:30 – F1: 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 21st April at 06:30

Thursday 18th April
13:00 to 13:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
18:15 to 18:30 – F1: Gear Up for Bahrain (Sky Sports F1)
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 14th April at 20:45
21:00 to 21:30 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday 19th April
07:45 to 09:55 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
07:55 to 09:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
09:55 to 10:35 – GP2: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
11:45 to 13:55 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
11:55 to 13:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13:55 to 14:35 – GP2: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
15:00 to 15:45 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
16:00 to 17:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Saturday 20th April
08:45 to 10:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
08:55 to 10:05 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11:00 to 13:40 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
11:55 to 13:05 – F1: Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13:40 to 15:05 – GP2: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
17:10 to 18:25 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
19:45 to 20:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Sunday 21st April
08:45 to 09:50 – GP2: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
11:30 to 16:00 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 to 14:45 – F1: Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)
16:00 to 16:45 – GP Uncovered: Stirling Moss (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 18:35 – F1: Race (BBC One)

As always, if anything changes, I will update the schedule.