An average audience of just over 2.4 million watched the Russian Grand Prix on television in the United Kingdom yesterday, overnight viewing figures show.
Before we go into the in-depth detail, it is worth pointing out two things that would have adversely affected viewing figures. The first is the change of slot in the calendar. In both 2014 and 2015, Russia was at the latter end of the calendar when there was a championship battle ongoing, which may have increased audiences.
Secondly, Bank Holiday weekend in the United Kingdom means slightly reduced audiences across the board as people head away for long weekend.
Live coverage of the race, which aired live on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 470k (4.9%). In comparison, last year’s programme on Sky, which was shared with BBC One, averaged 497k (5.1%). So, despite the added exclusivity aspect this year, Sky’s number was slightly down year-on-year.
Highlights of the race were broadcast on Channel 4 from 18:00 to 20:00 and averaged 1.94m (10.8%). The combined audience of 2.41 million viewers is down 26.7 percent on 2015’s average audience of 3.29 million viewers. Unfortunately, the Russian Grand Prix now holds the accolade of being the lowest rated ‘European time zone’ race since the mid 2000s, taking away the feat that the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix previously held. The audience yesterday of 2.41 million viewers is the lowest for a ‘European time zone’ race since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix.
Live coverage of qualifying, broadcast exclusively on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 14:45, averaged 275k (3.6%). Last year, Sky’s shared live coverage with the BBC averaged 351k (4.3%) over a shorter slot from 12:15 to 14:35. Nevertheless, for an exclusive live broadcast, that is a very poor number, especially considering the lack of Premier League competition from BT Sport.
Channel 4’s highlights programme, which aired from 17:30 to 19:00, averaged 1.16m (8.2%). Although it was Channel 4’s only programme over one million viewers on Saturday, the raw number and share is arguably lower than they would have expected. The combined audience of 1.44 million viewers is down 39.3 percent on 2015’s combined audience of 2.37 million viewers. It looks to be the lowest audience for a qualifying session since the 2008 European Grand Prix.
The 2015 Russian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.