Away from the Formula 1 last Sunday, which peaked with 5.55m (46.3%), there was a lot of motor sport action on Sunday, albeit most of it occurred in the early hours. Nevertheless, as expected, the figures are once again a reminder that, in the UK at least, the F1 stands head and shoulders above anything else. And sadly, where BTCC and MotoGP are concerned, viewers appear to be tuning out…
The factors associated with both though are different. The British Touring Car Championship finale aired on ITV4 across a whopping eight hours, from 10:15 to 18:30. The entire programme averaged 186k (1.6%) according to overnight viewing figures, peaking with 360k (3.6%) at 15:00 at the conclusion of race two. The first of three races peaked with 99k (1.1%) at 11:40, whilst the final race peaked with 357k (2.0%) at 17:45, the huge difference in number can be put down to the fact that race one clashed with the build-up and early laps of the Russian Grand Prix, clearly taking a bite out of the audience.
I haven’t looked at all the numbers in detail, but there does appear to have been a fairly big fall in comparison to 2012 and 2013. Last year’s season finale averaged 328k (2.6%), peaking with 697k (3.8%) for the final race of the day, although that was with no F1 clash. Even so, that doesn’t account for the peak figure, outside of the F1 timeslot, dropping by almost half. I’m not sure why the figures have dropped year-on-year, but something has changed to make people turn off.
Meanwhile, over in Motegi, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage peaked with 108k (10.1%) at 06:05. Their live programme from 02:45 to 07:15 averaged 42k (3.8%), with the MotoGP portion from 05:30 averaging 74k (6.4%). As always at this point, it is worth me pointing out that the figures include anyone who timeshifted that programme before 02:00 on Monday morning, it does not mean that 108k were up watching MotoGP at 06:05 in the morning, it just means that an average of 108k watched that five-minute ‘segment’ before 02:00 on Monday, which is the cut off for overnight ratings. BT’s repeat averaged 34k (0.3%) from 12:00 to 13:30, peaking with 79k (0.7%). ITV4’s highlights programme on Monday evening brought 283k (1.3%), which I believe is their lowest MotoGP rating of the year so far.
What that means is that the MotoGP year-on-year comparisons with the BBC are worse than usual. 204k (18.4%) watched BBC Two’s live airing last year, with 900k (8.1%) catching the repeat. A combined audience of 1.10m last year compares with about 391k for this year, which is a 64 percent drop. BBC’s peak was 1.33m, with 281k (24.1%) for the live airing and 1.05m (9.2%) for the re-run. The ITV4 rating surprises me the most, given that Motegi was the title winning race for Marc Marquez, I would have expected that to pick up one or two casual viewers, but clearly that wasn’t the case.
The weekend also seen both the Bathurst 1000 and the latest round of the World Touring Car Championship take place, again in the early morning. The latter peaked with 29k (0.4%), whilst the Bathurst 1000 peaked with under 20,000 viewers.