A peak audience of just over three million viewers watched Lewis Hamilton win the Canadian Grand Prix as the start of Euro 2016 kicked all competition into touch over the weekend, unofficial UK overnight viewing figures show
Live coverage of the race, broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 and F1 from 18:00 to 21:3o, averaged 853k (4.0%). The split across Sky’s channels was 620k (2.9%) on F1 compared with 234k (1.1%) on Sky Sports 1, 73:27 in the dedicated channel’s favour. The peak audience of 1.41m (6.3%) came at 20:30 as Hamilton claimed victory. It was a similar ratio at the time of peak, albeit skewed slightly towards the casual channel: 68:34 but still in Sky Sports F1’s favour. At the same time over on BBC One, an average audience of 6.31m (29.0%) watched Germany beat Ukraine from 19:35.
In isolation, I think Sky’s figures are pretty good. In 2012, the last time Sky showed Canada exclusively live, the average audience was 945k (4.3%), peaking with 1.77m. That is a drop of between 10 and 20 percent, but when you consider the trend towards other methods of viewing and the comparatively long time period (four years), I don’t think that the figures for Sky are bad. It is not great to lose viewers, but the figures are not shocking. As always, a reminder that viewing figures exclude Sky Go, Now TV and All4.
Highlights of the Montreal round, broadcast on Channel 4 from 22:40 to 00:40, averaged just 1.30m (15.3%), peaking with 1.72m. Both numbers are comfortably the channel’s lowest of the season so far. I appreciate that audiences are lower late at evening, but I was not expecting a drop of that magnitude for the late night highlights programmes. It is extremely rare to see the terrestrial TV and pay TV numbers so close, but yesterday the ratio between Channel 4 and Sky was 60:40 (average) and 55:45 (peak).
The combined audience of 2.15 million viewers is the second lowest of the season so far. The audience that watched yesterday’s race was the lowest as far as records go back for a North American round. Make no mistake about it: yes, the trip to Canada is to serve fans in Canada, but it is also a shop window in European primetime for Formula 1 regardless of whether there is a football competition or not. Miss out on that shop window, and you miss out on a raft of new viewers.
Live coverage of Wales vs Slovakia on BBC One heavily dented Sky Sports F1’s broadcast of qualifying, overnight viewing figures show. Whilst a peak audience of 8.00m (46.1%) were watching BBC One at 18:50, 370k (2.1%) were watching Sky Sports F1. As soon as the Wales game finished, the audience jumped from 370k at 18:50 to 602k (3.5%) at 19:00, peaking with 639k (3.7%) at 19:05 as Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position.
The average audience for Sky’s F1 broadcast from 17:00 to 19:45 averaged a low 285k (1.8%), suffering as a result of the tough competition. Channel 4’s highlights programme at 22:00 averaged 1.22m (8.0%). I’m pleasantly surprised by this number, I was expecting it to be the opposite side of one million. It may well have benefited from channel hoppers following the conclusion of the England game.
The combined audience of 1.51 million viewers is the lowest for Montreal since 2006. Every year from 2008 to 2015 averaged over two million viewers. Year-on-year, the audience has halved, with 3.06 million watching last year.
The 2015 Canadian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.