The United States Grand Prix performed better than 2012 and 2013 in the UK viewing figures, unofficial overnight numbers show.
Live coverage of the race, simulcast across Sky Sports 1 and F1 averaged 1.34m (5.4%) from 19:00 to 22:30. The Sky Sports 1 airing brought 309k (1.2%) to the channel, with Sky Sports F1 averaging 1.03m (4.2%) in the same timeslot. Sky’s coverage peaked at 20:05, just as the race was starting, with 1.93m (7.5%) watching. At the time of the peak, the split was 1.45m versus 479k in Sky Sports F1’s favour. The numbers are up on both 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the race peaked with 1.63m (6.4%). Technically, it is not Sky Sports F1’s highest ever peak, but if you combine the two figures, then it is.
The fact that I’m left to combine them to get a higher number than 2012 means that this years figure is not great. In fact, given the Sky Sports 1 simulcast, you could argue that the race really should have peaked with over two million viewers. Maybe this is a case of me expecting too much, but clearly the ‘Hamilton factor’ is not that big to draw viewers to watch the races live on pay TV, otherwise Sky Sports F1 would have had a bigger audience. If the pay TV model is really going to work, then the viewing figures really need to show a serious shift, which in my opinion they are failing to do so.
An interesting note in the breakdown is that the build-up spiked at 19:20, hitting 1.01m (4.2%) before dropping back down to under a million viewers. That’s interesting, because that five-minute segment featured the Mentality of Winning VT starring Gary Neville, Carl Froch et al, so that part clearly appeased to casual viewers who were flicking through the pre-show.
Over on BBC One, their highlights show from 22:30 to 00:00 averaged 2.51m (22.9%). That number is up on previous years, but previously the US highlights show has ran for two hours instead of 90 minutes, which should be factored in. The combined average of 3.84m is significantly up on last year’s 2.47m, and up on the 3.38m recorded in 2012. However, both numbers are a far cry on the 5.24m (31.9%) average from 2007 when the race was live on ITV.
The qualifying programme on Sky Sports F1 averaged 532k (2.8%) from 17:00 to 19:45, with BBC Two’s highlights averaging 1.23m (7.1%), bringing us to a combined figure of 1.76m. That’s a really poor number for BBC Two’s highlights programme, again when you consider that there is a championship battle involving a British driver ongoing. The number is up on 2013, but down on 2012.
Next weekend should be very interesting, as the BBC have scheduled highlights of the Brazilian Grand Prix in the middle of primetime on BBC One. The highlights rating should be in the region of 4.5m to 5m, but with it now a dead rubber, I’m not very hopeful.
The 2013 United States Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.