There have not been too many major news stories in the broadcasting landscape to report on recently, but there have been a few intriguing issues bubbling under the surface worth mentioning on the blog.
Formula E expands European reach, but UK deal remains a mystery
It was confirmed today that Eurosport would be broadcasting seasons two and three exclusively of Formula E in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, with the channel also broadcasting non-exclusive content in Iceland. The announcement is significant, as it allows Formula E to reach far more people than what it currently does in those territories, thanks to the Germany deal being a free-to-air one. Ali Russell, Formula E’s Director of Media and Strategic Partnership said that the deal “reinforces our outreach across key target markets in Europe alongside other existing deals.”
Whilst significant, the news is not necessarily surprising. As noted previously, Eurosport are owned by Discovery Communications who have a minority investment in Formula E. It is important to state that Eurosport’s Formula E deal does not cover the UK as, to quote Ben Constanduros, there are other deals in place which prevent it. As of writing, nothing has been publicly announced regarding where Formula E’s second season will be broadcast in the UK. 60 percent of you think ITV will broadcast season two live. We continue to wait for an official announcement on the situation.
WEC and WTCC gain UK free-to-air coverage
Good news for UK fans of the World Endurance Championship and the World Touring Car Championship, free to air highlights of both series are coming. Continuing the same theme as above, Quest TV, who are under the same umbrella as Eurosport and therefore Discovery, will begin airing a one-hour show with immediate effect.
The WEC programme will be presented by Toby Moody, airing on the Tuesday after each race weekend. The first WTCC highlights show aired last night and is currently available to watch on Quest On Demand, presented by Neil Cole. The development follows Quest TV’s successful coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this year. This is only good news for both championships, as it allows them to increase their foothold and bring in a bigger audience. I won’t be surprised if Formula E highlights turn up on Quest for season two, even if the live action is covered elsewhere. Anything that increases a motor sport series audience is good news in my view.
BT’s MotoGP ratings bounce back
A thrilling two rounds of MotoGP from Silverstone and Misano resulted in mixed viewing figures on BT Sport, overnight viewing figures showed. Silverstone peaked with 209k (2.3%), only marginally up on last year’s number of 205k (2.4%). Bank Holiday was the main reason for that number, however it was still a slight surprise when you consider that the trend so far this year has been of increases on a significant scale.
Misano fared much better than Silverstone, averaging 242k (2.8%) from 12:30 to 14:00, peaking with 317k (3.6%) at 13:40. A sign of how well Misano did is that this year’s MotoGP average is higher than last year’s peak number of 211k (2.6%). I would have expected Scott Redding and Bradley Smith’s podium finishes, along with the inclement weather, to boost ITV4’s highlights number. What we actually saw was a year-on-year drop. An average audience of 335k (1.5%) watched ITV4’s programme this past Monday, compared with 357k (1.6%) for last year’s Misano highlights programme.
Formula 1 celebrates one year of having a proper Twitter account this weekend with the Singapore Grand Prix. Technically, the F1 account on Twitter has been live since August 2009, but the proper interaction that you would actually expect from an account began last September. In the past year, their reach on Twitter has increased 62 percent from 937k to 1.52m, a fairly hefty jump, overtaking MotoGP in the process.
Over in America, great news for the IndyCar Series which witnessed a 70 percent jump in NBC Sports Network’s numbers between 2014 and 2015. Some of that has to be natural growth, but there is another part which is no doubt a result of piggybacking off Formula 1’s recent success over there. It’ll be interesting to see how much influence Alexander Rossi has on viewing figures. Okay, he is unlikely to trouble the points scores given the car he is in, but it may move NBC’s F1 numbers up further a notch or two.