The top 10 blogs of 2014

In 2014, The F1 Broadcasting Blog has been viewed over 370,000 times, with 2015 set to be another fascinating year. Melanie Sykes, Gary Anderson, BBC F1, Formula E are just some of the talking points of this past year. The most viewed blog posts of 2014 feature two main strands: Melanie Sykes’s BT Sport departure and Gary Anderson’s BBC F1 departure.

10. Statement from BBC’s Head of F1 following Gary Anderson’s departure – February 11th
As the top ten posts show, Gary Anderson parting company with BBC Sport was a big story in the early part of the year. This post shows what Ben Gallop, BBC’s Head of Formula 1, had to say about Anderson leaving the team. This was published one day after…

9. Anderson: BBC believe that viewers not interested in technical analysis – February 10th
…Anderson claimed that, according to the BBC, viewers were not interested in the technical side of Formula 1. Suffice to say that Anderson has never been properly replaced, with Tom Clarkson voicing over some technical features here and there.

8. BT Sport announces Melanie Sykes’s MotoGP departure – May 30th
After a few weeks where things were unclear (see #2), this was not a surprise. The announcement that Melanie Sykes was going to be BT’s MotoGP presenter was met with quiet disapproval. She lasted three months and did one race on location before leaving the role.

7. What today’s announcement means for Sky Sports F1 across Europe – July 25th
Steven in the comments put this one correctly by stating that “we will notice no difference at all.” Six months after that post, what we do know is that BSkyB will be rebranded as Sky. Nothing noticeable has happened on screen, and is unlikely to for some time yet, if at all.

6. BBC announces F1 team for 2014 season – January 27th
The BBC announced their 2014 team, minus Anderson, at the end of January. Their announcement made no reference to Anderson’s departure, with the remainder of the team staying the same.

5. New FOM graphics for 2014 and Coulthard gets a tablet – March 7th
It has to be said that Formula One Management did not give their graphics a complete overhaul, but they did tweak what they had slightly in time for the 2014 season. As for the BBC’s new tablet, it was not used too much on screen and didn’t really make a difference to the end product.

4. Scheduling: The 2014 Jerez test on Sky Sports F1 – January 8th
The first test of any Grand Prix season is hotly anticipated, and this proved to be the case again in 2014 with the new V6 power units. Sky’s 2015 schedule already goes up to January 30th, which means that provisional scheduling details for the first 2015 test will be on the blog in the next week or two…. eek. That’s come around quickly!

3. Melanie Sykes’s BT Sport MotoGP status – May 18th
As discussed above, Sykes at the beginning of May went AWOL from BT Sport’s MotoGP programming. The reason given at the time was “personal circumstances”. Nevertheless, she soon left their coverage, closing a chapter that BT Sport probably want to forget.

2. ITV4 wins rights to screen MotoGP highlights – March 8th
With BT Sport claiming exclusive live rights to MotoGP, the question was whether anyone was going to screen highlights to a wider audience. Thankfully, ITV filled the void, screening a one hour programme on ITV4. What we don’t know is whether that programme will still be around in 2015…

1. Gary Anderson to leave BBC’s Formula 1 team – January 13th
The news revealed not long after the New Year that Gary Anderson was not going to be part of BBC’s team for the 2014 Formula One season. A whopping 95 percent of you said that Anderson leaving was bad for the BBC’s product overall.

2015 will bring with it a new Formula 1 website, when exactly that will be, we don’t know, but that will be a main story during 2015.


Looking ahead to 2015

2014 has been a fascinating year in the world of motor sport broadcasting, from the launch of BT Sport’s MotoGP series to the launch of the Formula E series. 2015 looks like it will be another intriguing year with plenty of news lines heading into the New Year and beyond.

Something I was expecting to be announced last week did not happen. Normally, the BBC and Sky 2015 picks are revealed before Christmas, as has been the case previously. Presumably, the reason for the delay is because neither broadcaster expects Korea to appear in the finalised calendar. I would be surprised if there was a separate reason, but we shall see. The picks will need to be confirmed in the first few weeks of January, so that both sides can start publicity, in particular Sky where their exclusive races are concerned.

Another story that will be followed throughout the first few months of 2015 are the Premier League highlights rights, which went out to tender recently. The Guardian reported in November that ITV are going to bid for the highlights contract. It goes without saying that the Premier League highlights, through their Match of the Day brand, is the most important contract that BBC Sport currently hold. Any attempt to destabilise BBC Sport’s portfolio could have major consequences. The early rumour was that Wimbledon could be split between BBC and BT Sport, although this has been denied. Let us hope that any change does not effect the current BBC F1 package…

Formula One Management’s social media expansion is set to continue into 2015, with the relaunch of What exactly will the new website bring? Furthermore, based on Marissa Pace’s recent comments, we may well see an official Formula 1 channel on YouTube in 2015. Elsewhere, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage enters year two, and Formula E will be entering year two in September. From a UK perspective, I hope year two remains live on ITV, but we won’t know the answer to that question for many months yet. 2015 looks set to be another intriguing year on and off the track as Formula 1 heads into its second season with the V6 power units.

Series 2 of Racing Legends on BBC Two

The second series of Racing Legends begins tonight on BBC Two. The first series aired during December 2012 and January 2013 (see here and here), profiling Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart and Colin McRae.

Series 2 features Vic Reeves telling the story of motorcycling legend Barry Sheene. Sheene’s episode airs tonight at 21:05 on BBC Two. Episodes 2 and 3 have no transmission date as of writing, but feature Jeremy Irons profiling Graham Hill and Paul Hollywood meeting John Surtees.

I’ll update this post as and when scheduling details for the final two episodes are confirmed.

Update on December 30th – Episodes 2 and 3 have been brought forward it appears, with episode two airing on Sunday 4th January at 21:00 on BBC Two. The reason for this is that the original programme set to air in that slot, Reinventing the Royals, has been pulled for legal reasons.

The magic 2014 numbers

The F1 Broadcasting Blog launched in April 2012, and has since amassed nearly 750,000 views. But just where do the visitors come from? How do readers access the blog?

2014 has seen nearly 370,000 views (or just over 1,000 views a day). Unsurprisingly, again the United Kingdom dominates things, but with more people accessing the blog, the relative percentage has dropped. Australia and the United States have bucked the trend, it would not surprise me if the increasing popularity of Formula 1 has helped where the US is concerned.

Top 10 Countries – Percentage of all hits
01 – 75.0 percent (2013: 81.8) – United Kingdom
02 – 5.8 percent (2013: 3.3) – United States
03 – 2.0 percent (2013: 2.3) – Ireland
04 – 1.7 percent (2013: 1.1) – Australia
05 – 1.5 percent (2013: 1.4) – Canada
06 – 1.0 percent (2013: 0.9) – Netherlands
07 – 0.9 percent (2013: 0.6) – Germany
08 – 0.9 percent (2013: 0.7) – France
09 – 0.9 percent (2013: 1.0) – Italy
10 – 0.7 percent (2013: 0.4) – Spain

The interesting piece to take away when compiling the statistics is that the amount of people coming to the blog from Twitter has halved percentage wise year-on-year, which really surprised me considering that the amount of people following the blog on the social media site has increased year-on-year. Reddit makes an appearance in third, however it is still the search engines that dominate things, dwarfing the competition.

Top 5 Referring Website
01 – 73.5 percent (2013: 64.8) – Search engines
02 – 13.2 percent (2013: 22.2) – Twitter
03 – 2.9 percent (2013: 0.0) – Reddit
04 – 2.9 percent (2013: 2.3) – Facebook
05 – 2.8 percent (2013: 4.7) –

Social media is fantastic if you want an article to go viral, but in terms of day to day traffic, the majority of it comes straight from search engines. It is fantastic having a brilliant social media presence, but you also need good search engine optimisation (SEO). As always, there were some stories that dominated the year, and that was clearly evident in how readers arrived from search engines.

Top 10 Search Queries
01 – f1 broadcasting blog
02 – gary anderson f1
03 – f1 broadcasting
04 – gary anderson
05 – tom clarkson f1
06 – bbc f1
07 – gary anderson bbc
08 – melanie sykes motogp
09 – itv4 motogp
10 – bt sport motogp presenters

It is pleasing to see ‘f1 broadcasting’ again the top search query, aside from that, Tom Clarkson again makes an appearance which shows that viewers do not know too much about him and his expertise outside of BBC’s F1 programming. Elsewhere, Gary Anderson and BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage dominated the top ten, which is not too surprising given that both were key topics in the first half of 2014.

The top ten blog posts for 2014 will be summarised as usual on New Year’s Eve, but I thought it would be interesting to see how reading habits have changed year-on-year.

Statistics compiled and correct as of December 26th, 2014.

Merry Christmas from The F1 Broadcasting Blog

I’m not entirely sure where 2014 has gone, but my third calendar year of running this blog is coming to an end. To everyone reading this, I hope you have enjoyed the content that has gone up in the past year, whether it has been two wheels, four wheels or something of the electric variety. I’d like to wish each and every one of my blog readers a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

As 2014 comes to a end, in one sense, it begins how it started. Whilst we all have our own heroes on the track, this Christmas, I think it is fair to say that the motor sport community is united in saying two things: #KeepFightingMichael and #ForzaJules. Let us hope that 2015 is the year where both men win their battles.

To all of you, please stay safe over the holiday period and I hope that 2015 gives us more to talk about over in broadcasting land.

Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog