Sky Sports F1 to split race day programme in three?

Sky Sports F1 are to split their race day programme into three, schedules today show, for India at least. Before today, the Indian Grand Prix race day programme was simply listed as:

08:00 to 12:45 – Live Indian F1 GP

That has now changed. Instead, the EPG now lists:

08:00 to 08:30 – Live Indian F1 GP: Track Parade
08:30 to 12:00 – Live Indian F1 GP: Race
12:00 to 12:45 – Live Indian F1 GP: Paddock Live

What I don’t know, and what will only become clear on Sunday is if Sky have made the move to create three distinct programmes, with opening titles and close for all three. Considering we are three quarters of the way through the season, I’d be incredibly surprised if a drastic change was made to the structure.

The other possibility, and the one far more likely is that this has been done only for EPG purposes, and therefore ‘rating inflation’ purposes. Thankfully, Formula 1 blogs such as this one paint a full picture of Sky Sports F1’s ratings, giving not only a full slot rating, but also a ’12:10 to 15:15′ viewership number for European races, to bring it in line for BBC. For those of you that are wondering why this has changed, I quote from August: “Further analysis shows that, versus the same races last season, BBC’s Formula 1 ratings have increased 21 percent, whilst Sky Sports F1′s ratings have dropped 9 percent.”

Of course, the above split could be human error, but I doubt it. We will soon find out on Sunday if it is purely for EPG purposes, if it is, then it is fairly clear to see that there is some concern internally with Sky about Sky Sports F1’s race day ratings.

Thanks to gillw72 for the tip.

Update on October 24th – The EPG description for ‘Track Parade’ is as follows: “The build-up to the 2013 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit. Plus, a review of the qualifying session and interviews with drivers ahead of the race.” Whilst the EPG description for ‘Paddock Live’ is as follows: “Simon Lazenby reports on all the breaking news, views and reactions following the 2013 Indian Grand Prix. Plus, Ted Kravitz gives his analysis of the race.”

10 thoughts on “Sky Sports F1 to split race day programme in three?

  1. Another theory is to increase advertising time and hope the viewers doesn’t notice.

    We’re used to maybe 2 ad breaks per hour in the build up, this change would allow them to keep those breaks but insert additional ones between the branded program chunks.

  2. Sky F1’s unique viewers are nearly 20% down on 2012, even with the ratings manipulation, without it they would be closer to a 30% drop.

  3. Interesting move by sky it could be like you say, have been done for editorial reasons to create 3 distinct segments or as you said to enhance rating numbers. Maybe it’s for both reasons. O and like somebody else also pointed out. To squeeze in more ad breaks. Boooo. Actually while I’m talking about ad breaks it’s surprising that sports broadcasters in the uk haven’t adopted picture in picture adverts yet as it’d be less intrusive than full screen ad breaks. Speaking as a fan I’d rather see no adverts at all. But if they help fund coverage…

  4. it could be that they are trying a slightly different way of showing there coverage for next year or it is because they need to put more adverts in as they are struggling with finance for the channel

  5. Well it seems we were all wrong. It’s actually an ASA/Ofcom/ad revenue dodge, if you watched closely you’ll have noticed that the Track Parade sponsorship idents were Shell but the Race block sponsor idents were Rolex.

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