The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix dropped below 4 million viewers to its lowest rating yet, overnight ratings reveal. This really should not be a surprise given the title race is over. What may be surprising, however, is that it appears that Sky Sports F1’s exclusive coverage actually did worse than the shared coverage for last year’s race. At this stage that is not 100 percent confirmed, and will only become confirmed in the official ratings next week.
BBC One’s highlights coverage averaged 3.367 million viewers, a 19 percent viewer share according to ITV Media. Qualifying highlights on the Saturday averaged 2.97 million viewers, a really good number for Qualifying, but again not surprisingly below what Pointless has been doing in the same slot on Saturday’s recently.
Last year, Sky Sports F1’s programme officially averaged 541,000, which is about 730,000 for 12:10 to 15:15. Yesterday failed to make ITV Media’s multi-channel top 10 which meant ‘it’ averaged under 607,000 viewers. What ‘it’ is, I don’t know. Is it the full programme average or is it the 12:00 to 15:15 average in Sky money? Either way, even with the title race over, this is fairly concerning – last year coverage was also live on BBC One, this year it was exclusively live on Sky. The problem for Sky though is that no casual viewers at all that would normally watch a race would be drawn at all towards their channel when a title race is over, they would have no reason to and are therefore unlikely to tune in. In that respect, terrestrial television and the BBC definitely has more of an advantage.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2009 – 4.88 million
2010 – 5.85 million
2011 – 4.69 million
2012 – 4.49 million / 4.68 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
– overnight figures were 4.40 million / 4.55 million
2013 – 3.82 million / 3.99 million (overnight rating)
– rough estimate and subject to revision
I’m not looking forward to USA’s rating, frankly. Another dead rubber race, which I cannot see doing well. It could well be a fairly embarrassing number. The side effect of that means that the season average is continuing to drop. It is not often the first half of the season is competitive and the second half of the year is domination all over. A tale of two halves, and the end number may not be pretty.
The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.