In the second round-up catching up on the stories of the past month, this blog looks at the ongoing battle for readers across various websites and the advances over on YouTube.
Sky explore YouTube, but did anyone notice?
Sky Sports conducted an interesting experiment with the Friday 24th April episode of The F1 Show. Under the #AskCrofty banner, the episode was streamed live on YouTube. I believe this was the first time that Sky have ever streamed F1 content on the video sharing website, traditionally it had only been available to pay-TV subscribers via the usual ways. Personally, I think that such an occasion would have been good to ‘big up’ with some extra advertising or hype via social media, maybe try and reach out to a few new subscribers. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen.
The episode was streamed live on YouTube to around a few hundred people, a number which can only be described as shockingly low. Yes, it is only an F1 talk show on a Friday night, but you can’t defend numbers as low as that. I’d have expected at least a few thousand people to watch it live via YouTube, given the amount of people that the Sky Sports brand reaches on Facebook, Twitter and their own website on a daily basis. This experiment failed before it even started, to be honest. The low number also in its own way confirms the low TV viewing figures that The F1 Show receives, never hitting 100k and very rarely hitting 50k.
Sticking with YouTube, and the news that the official F1 channel appears to be forming some sort of partnership with NBC. Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that the F1 website tends to take NBC’s interviews conducted from the broadcast pen, as of course Formula One Management (FOM) own all the content that is filmed inside a race track. That relationship appears to be evolving, with NBC features possibly appearing on F1’s YouTube channel, according to NBC’s pit lane reporter Will Buxton who commented on it during a recent AMA on reddit. Obviously such a development, should it come to fruition, is positive news as it means more people will be able to experience the content that NBC’s F1 team produce.
F1 2016 schedule and the implications
The provisional 2016 Formula One schedule presents some interesting decisions for both BBC and Sky should the schedule not change. The good news is that the season would start after the conclusion of the Six Nations and after the Boat Race. The Australian Grand Prix, scheduled currently for April 3rd, would not clash with any of the big standalone events. The Chinese Grand Prix would be held on the same weekend as the Grand National, but not a direct clash. It is the Bahrain Grand Prix that would suffer, clashing with the London Marathon and the FA Cup semi finals, but on the other hand it could provide BBC with a bumper Sunday if they showed the Grand Prix live after the marathon.
However, with both the football European Championship and the Olympic Games taking place next year, it means a congested Summer of sport. Provisionally, the Canadian, Austrian and British rounds of the championship will take place during Euro 2016, whilst the Hungarian Grand Prix clashes with the opening weekend of the Olympic Games. And that hasn’t even taken into account Wimbledon…. of course, it is impossible to avoid everything. But, the promoters and governing body of the sport must ensure that F1 is given the best scheduling opportunities where possible, minimising the chance of direct clashes.
AUTOSPORT widen their horizons
The online battle for readers has increased over the past year, with multiple talent changes across AUTOSPORT and Motorsport.com. The talent changes are now in place, which should result in stronger competition across the board, as Motorsport.com tries to take a slice of the action from AUTOSPORT and other related websites. In theory, the changes can only mean good things for the consumer. The quality should increase as both sites strive to make their portfolio of content as strong as possible, irrespective of whether it is two wheels, four wheels, tarmac or gravel.
AUTOSPORT are further bolstering their line-up with a new website currently in beta, so that will only help things for them in the online department. Their commitment to all things two and four wheels was demonstrated a few weeks ago, with Kris Meeke’s victory at the Rally Argentina their lead story on the cover of AUTOSPORT Magazine, despite rallying traditionally not a strong selling point in comparison to Formula 1. Edd Straw, AUTOSPORT’s editor, justified the decision noting that he hoped that AUTOSPORT’s readership would respond to a different cover “better than expected”, whilst it was simply “the right thing to do” due to the story behind Meeke’s victory. It should be noted that some mainstream media covered Meeke’s victory, both the BBC and Sky covered the victory on their respective websites.
Elsewhere, the recent general election alongside Floyd Mayweather’s victory against Manny Pacquiao in the boxing meant that the BBC smashed their own online records, with 12.3 million browsers accessing the BBC Sport website in total on Sunday 3rd May. 8.7 million browsers were from within then UK, with the remaining 3.6 million browsers from outside the UK. In comparison, as the aftermath of the general election was felt, a whopping 28.3 million browsers accessed the BBC News website, of which 20.6 million were from within the UK. The numbers are simply staggering.