The F1 Show having an audience: Yes or No?

This past Thursday, for the first time ever, Sky Sports F1 recorded a special audience edition of The F1 Show. Those of you who watched it on Friday will know exactly what I mean when it was their version of Top Gear. It basically was “Sky F1 does Top Gear” in all but name.

So, how did it go, and would I like to see it again? If this was a pilot for something in the future, then I would be commissioning a full series. Personally, I thought it went well, and better than I expected. The audience I felt added to the show. Sometimes the weekly studio shows do feel a bit run of the mill (it isn’t the most vibrant studio, either) and paint by lines, so having the audience present did make for a nice change, with them asking the questions. Arguably, shows like that are exactly what Sky should be doing on the channel.

I wouldn’t be keen to see it every week, but once every month or two would do nicely for me. I did chuckle to myself when some were making out how Formula 1 and audience interaction has never been done before. Did they not watch the BBC’s British Grand Prix forum shows in 2010 and 2011 where Jake Humphrey would throw the microphone to the crowd inside The Paddock Club for people to ask questions to Murray Walker and other guests? Okay, it wasn’t during a weekday show, but the way it was done was similar.

There were some weaknesses though, as it did feel a little bit too much ‘us, us, us’ at times. Interviewing people before and after the show just smacked of patting themselves on the back for no particular reason. The same has to be said for the band playing The Chain and Simon Lazenby basically dismissing it for another song. Did no one tell him which channel made Just Drive famous? I suspect not. Their jab at The Chain was plain unnecessary.

I’ve put a poll above, but more so in particular here I’d be interested in your comments as well as the vote.

Motor sport ratings (week ending 7th July, 2013)

As I noted in the overnight ratings report for the German Grand Prix, the Wimbledon final had a significant effect on the ratings for the race. The highlights programme on BBC One averaged a huge 5.26 million viewers in the official BARB ratings thanks to the tennis lead-in. Sky Sports F1’s race programme averaged 743,000 viewers, bringing the average to 6.00 million viewers. It will be a tough ask for that to be beaten late in the season, you would probably be asking for the title race to go down to the wire, and I don’t think that is looking likely at the moment.

Elsewhere on Sky Sports F1:

437,000 – Live Qualifying (Saturday, 12:00)
101,000 – Live Practice 3 (Saturday, 09:45)
80,000 – Live Practice 1 (Friday, 08:45)
72,000 – Live GP3 Race 2 (Sunday, 08:20)
68,000 – Live GP2 Race 2 (Sunday, 09:30)
60,000 – Live Practice 2 (Friday, 12:45)

All of the live Formula 1 ratings on Sky Sports F1 were down year-on-year. However, last year’s race weekend was free to Sky and Virgin Media customers. Maybe Sky should do the same tactic for next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix?

In the feeder series’, some impressive ratings comparatively speaking for GP2 and GP3, GP3’s Race 2 figure was higher than any figure recorded for the series during 2012, so very good stuff there. GP3 peaked with 92,000 viewers, again one of the higher peaks I’ve seen. It all comes down to promotion for the feeder series, but that appears to be improving slightly, GP2’s Jon Lancaster was seen doing a live interview with Sky Sports News last week following his German Grand Prix victory.

Motors TV struggled this week, with no ratings above 7,000 viewers, whilst over on ITV4, the Tour de France continued with highlights bringing in between 371,000 and 612,000 viewers.

Details for first IndyCar race on BT Sport revealed

Scheduling details for the first IndyCar race on BT Sport have this evening been revealed. The fourteenth round of the season from Mid Ohio will air live on BT Sport 2 on Sunday 4th August from 20:00 to 23:00. BT Sport formally take over from ESPN UK as part of their acquisition of the group, as announced back in May.

In another announcement this evening, it looks like that Georgie Thompson will be part of the new BT Sport channel after all. Thompson, who left Sky Sports in February and announced a move to America last week, is currently listed on DigiGuide as one of the hosts of the BT Sports Panel on Saturday mornings alongside Tim Lovejoy. A mistake? We shall see….

Update on July 29th – The Georgie Thompson listing is still there on DigiGuide. At this stage, it has to be an error, I cannot see it being anything else. I do find that interesting though, because it shows that BT Sport were definitely in advanced stages of bringing her on board, but for whatever reason, original plans fell through. Rather amateurish though of BT Sport not to notify DigiGuide and rectify it.

As for the IndyCar Series, a repeat airing is scheduled for ESPN UK on Monday 4th August from 17:30 to 20:00, whilst Indy Lights Series highlights are scheduled for the Tuesday at 21:30, so it seems nothing is changing on that particular front. I’m not going to list each individual airing, but both are repeated several times throughout next week.

Scheduling: The 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

The first of two Summer breaks is over for the majority of the Formula 1 drivers as the field head to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. This year’s calendar is a bit odd in that there is a three week gap between Germany and Hungary, then a four week gap between Hungary and Belgian, this mainly down to the fact that round 20 failed to materialise. Hopefully next year’s calendar is better planned instead of being a stop/start mess…

Onto the schedule itself, and it is a BBC highlights weekend, so highlights are at the beginning of primetime for both Qualifying and the Race. Sky’s schedule is as expected, with the usual GP2 and GP3 action alongside the Formula 1. The Classic F1 races this week are 1986, 1993, 1997, 2003 and 2011. On BBC Radio, Practice 3 will be online only due to athletics from London and Lyon. Allan McNish will not be with the team this weekend, but will be back for his final two races in Belgian and Italy.

Saturday 20th July
20:00 to 20:45 – F1: 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and James Hunt
– repeated on Friday 26th July at 18:00

Sunday 21st July
20:00 to 20:50 – F1: 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix Highlights (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and Jonathan Palmer
– repeated on Friday 26th July at 18:45

Monday 22nd July
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Murray Walker and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 28th July at 16:45

Tuesday 23rd July
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from James Allen and Martin Brundle
– repeated on Sunday 28th July at 06:05

Wednesday 24th July
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Martin Brundle and David Coulthard
– repeated on Saturday 27th July at 17:05

Thursday 25th July
14:00 to 14:45 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
21:00 to 22:00 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
22:30 to 22:45 – F1: Gear Up for Hungary (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 26th July
08:45 to 11:00 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
08:55 to 10:35 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11:00 to 11:35 – GP2: Practice (Sky Sports F1)
12:45 to 14:50 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
12:55 to 14:35 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14:50 to 15:35 – GP2: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
16:15 to 17:00 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 18:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Saturday 27th July
08:45 to 09:30 – GP3: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
09:45 to 11:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
10:15 to 11:05 – F1: Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12:00 to 14:35 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
12:55 to 14:05 – F1: Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14:35 to 16:00 – GP2: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
16:15 to 17:05 – GP3: Race 1 (Sky Sports F1)
17:15 to 18:40 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (BBC One)

Sunday 28th July
08:20 to 09:10 – GP3: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
09:30 to 10:35 – GP2: Race 2 (Sky Sports F1)
11:30 to 16:15 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 to 14:30 – F1: Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)
16:15 to 16:45 – GP Uncovered: Tribute to Fangio (Sky Sports F1)
17:05 to 18:35 – F1: Race Highlights (BBC One)

As always, the timings are subject to slight alterations, so I shall update this blog if and when that happens.

A new look for The F1 Broadcasting Blog

Those of you who have visited The F1 Broadcasting Blog may have noticed that things are a little different around here. Out goes ‘Blogum‘ and in comes ‘Mystique‘. With The F1 Broadcasting Blog continuing to grow, and about to hit 200,000 hits since launch, I felt the time was right to make the switch. The new theme integrates social media better than previously, with both Facebook and Twitter now firmly integrated into the blog layout.

It has been a quiet time recently with not many motor sport broadcasting stories making the rounds after the frenzied start to the season, but The F1 Broadcasting Blog will continue in full swing heading into August. ‘The Verdict so Far‘ series will be returning in August as I analyse both the BBC and Sky Sports F1 teams at the half way stage of the 2013 season, and look at ways both sides could improve the output as we move forward.

The next few months also promises more news concerning, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage plans and the talent that may, or may not, be involved with the broadcasts. Whilst the blog is motor sport orientated, you can be assured that the blog will have one eye focussed on BT Sport’s entry into the market. Alongside that, the blog will have the usual viewing numbers and all the Formula 1 scheduling details for upcoming races.

An exciting period loom on the horizon in the broadcasting world. For the moment, I would like to thank you for continuing to read The F1 Broadcasting Blog as we head towards the Summer break.

Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog