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.”

Motor sport ratings (week ending 13th October, 2013)

The British Touring Car Championship was the highlight on BARB this weekend as the series came to a conclusion. The final race day of the season, from 10:45 averaged 364,000 viewers across nearly eight hours on ITV4, a fantastic figure. Last year, the broadcast averaged 318,000 viewers, although the show was 15 minutes longer (in an eight hour broadcast this would have made very little difference to the overall average).

Sadly, not all of the Sky Sports F1 data has been processed properly, meaning not everything is available, but here is what is on the site:

212,000 – Live Qualifying (Saturday, 05:00)
=> 117,000 – 05:00 to 06:00
=> 267,000 – 06:00 to 07:45
120,000 – First 30 minutes of Race Build-Up (Sunday, 05:30)
100,000 – Race Replay (Sunday, 11:30)
68,000 – Qualifying Replay (Saturday, 11:00)
46,000 – Race Notebook (Sunday, 19:00)
44,000 – Qualifying Notebook (Sunday, 19:00)

What is interesting there is that live coverage of Qualifying did better for Japan than Korea, despite the latter being a Sky exclusive weekend which is a bit strange.

No BBC data, with both MotoGP and Formula 1 on the fly-aways, it means that individual airings do not make either BBC One’s or BBC Two’s top 30. Last weeks Broadcast magazine however did overnight ratings of 550,000 (7.6%) for the MotoGP live airing, with 630,000 (5.7%) watching the repeat later on. F1’s Japan overnights can be found here.

Scheduling: The 2013 Indian Grand Prix

It may not have happened in Japan, but the chances are significantly higher in India for Sebastian Vettel to clinch his fourth consecutive Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship. If you happen to be reading this and work for the BBC F1 team, chances are you want to be there and on-air live when Vettel wins the title. So, they probably want it wrapped up this weekend. On the other hand, Sky will definitely want the title race to continue to Abu Dhabi or USA, which are both Sky exclusive races.

There is also MotoGP from Motegi as the series completes its triple header, with coverage live on BBC Two, the team presenting their penultimate race before the championship moves to BT Sport. My plan is to watch the MotoGP on iPlayer whenever I get up, and jump into the middle of the F1 build-up. After all, MotoGP’s title race is now firmly in the balance, whilst F1 is now a foregone conclusion. And a reminder that the clocks go back one hour in the early hours of next Sunday morning.

Thursday 24th October
10:30 to 11:15 – F1: Driver Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 to 17:15 – Gear Up for India (Sky Sports F1)
20:00 to 22:15 – F1: 2011 Indian Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
– commentary from Martin Brundle and David Coulthard
– repeated on Sunday 27th October at 20:30

Friday 25th October
05:15 to 07:20 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
05:25 to 07:10 – F1: Practice 1 (BBC Two)
09:15 to 11:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)
09:25 to 11:15 – F1: Practice 2 (BBC Two)
11:30 to 12:15 – F1: Team Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)
13:30 to 14:30 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

Saturday 26th October
06:15 to 07:40 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
06:25 to 07:35 – F1: Practice 3 (BBC Two)
08:30 to 11:15 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1)
08:30 to 10:45 – F1: Qualifying (BBC One)
13:00 to 14:00 – F1: Qualifying Replay (BBC One)
18:45 to 19:00 – Inside F1 (BBC News Channel)

NOTE: Clocks go back one hour, with the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. The times below are GMT…

Sunday 27th October
04:30 to 06:00 – MotoGP: Motegi (BBC Two)
08:00 to 12:45 – F1: Race (Sky Sports F1)
– please see for possible format changes
08:30 to 11:45 – F1: Race (BBC One)
11:15 to 12:00 – Slicks-0-Six (BBC Radio 5 Live)
12:45 to 13:00 – GP Uncovered: BRM Beginnings (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 to 14:30 – MotoGP: Race Replay (BBC Two)
14:00 to 16:00 – F1: Race Replay (BBC One)

Wednesday 30th October
19:00 to 19:30 – Midweek Report (Sky Sports F1)

As always, if anything changes I shall update this blog if necessary.

Motor sport ratings (week ending 6th October, 2013)

Sky Sports F1’s race day coverage of the Korean Grand Prix averaged 453,000 viewers from 05:30 to 10:15, official ratings from BARB show. Because of the way the TV world works, the rating is split into two. The first half an hour brought 113,000 viewers to the channel up to 06:00, with the remainder averaging 493,000 viewers. When compared to Japan last year, the rating is 100,000 viewers up, so a very good rating there for Sky.

Elsewhere on Sky Sports F1:

185,000 – Live Qualifying (Saturday, 05:00)
=> 101,000 – 05:00 to 06:00
=> 233,000 – 06:00 to 07:45
84,000 – Qualifying Replay (Saturday, 12:00)
74,000 – Race Replay (Sunday, 11:30)
52,000 – Qualifying Notebook (Saturday, 14:45)
49,000 – Cevert: The Most Exciting Man (Sunday, 10:15)

Nice rating for the Cevert show, and higher than the Alain Prost and Eddie Irvine première editions of F1 Legends, which aired after Italy and Singapore respectively. Nothing from Friday made the top ten, quite surprised to see no practice in there, even a repeat. I guess with the title effectively over, practice becomes even less relevant in the grand scheme of things. Qualifying is slightly up on Japan 2012, but not a lot. You may think that comparing with Japan last year seems fairly invalid, but I explained on Monday the logic behind it here.

Both IndyCar races averaged 9,000 viewers each. Saturday’s race aired live on BT Sport 2, with Sunday’s live on ESPN.

BBC live coverage helps Japan increase year-on-year

The Japanese Grand Prix increased year-on-year, overnight ratings show, but when comparing the Japanese and Korean Grand Prix ratings from 2012 and 2013, an interesting pattern emerges.

Live coverage of the race on BBC One, from 06:00 to 09:15 averaged 1.30 million viewers, recording a 15-minute peak of 1.96 million at 08:15. The re-run at 14:00 averaged 1.92 million viewers. I have not seen Sky Sports F1’s viewing figures, but if last year’s Korean Grand Prix is to go by, then the race programme averaged around about 210,000 viewers.

Japanese Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2004 – 2.86 million
2005 – 3.32 million
2006 – 2.87 million
2007 – 3.17 million
2008 – 3.14 million
2009 – 3.63 million
2010 – 3.70 million
2011 – 4.38 million
2012 – 2.76 million / 2.88 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
– overnight figures were ~2.70 million / 2.80 million
2013 – 3.42 million / 3.50 million (overnight rating)

Japan has always been one of the lowest rated races on the calendar, as seen above only one race in the past ten years has averaged over 4 million viewers. When you consider that the title race is almost over, I’d say yesterday did respectably. Not great, but not appalling either. An interesting comparison, and why I have called the title what I have, is comparing BBC non-live for Japan 2012 and Korea 2013 with BBC live for Korea 2012 and Japan 2013:

– BBC live: 3.18 million / 3.42 million (JPN 2012 / KOR 2013)
– BBC non-live: 2.76 million / 2.84 million (KOR 2012 / JPN 2013)

Does this mean a good half a million people for the Asian races just read the result and not bother to tune in if BBC are not showing it live? I don’t know, but thought it was an interesting little tidbit worth bringing up. It may well be viewers hanging over who usually watch BBC Breakfast, but who knows.

Over on ITV, ‘Senna‘ averaged 1.09 million viewers at 22:20 for its première airing. The timeslot restricted its numbers badly with it going on beyond midnight. Promotion from ITV was appalling too, I didn’t see any adverts for the film, sadly. My initial thought that the slot was good turned out to be wrong, and it seems like it could have got double or triple the audience in a 21:00 slot on BBC Two. Expect it to be repeated frequently on ITV4, and film repeats on ITV4 tend to do well. ITV have the exclusive terrestrial rights to Universal films, so don’t expect it to turn up on other terrestrial channels.

The 2012 Japanese Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.