1.1 million watch marathon Brazilian Grand Prix on Sky

An average audience of 1.1 million viewers watched the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sky Sports yesterday, overnight viewing figures show.

Live coverage of the race, broadcast across Sky Sports 1 and F1 from 15:00 to 20:00, averaged 1.12m (6.7%). Sky Sports F1’s programme averaged 648k (3.9%), with Sky Sports 1 adding a further 477k (2.8%), the split being 58:42 in the dedicated channel’s favour. Compared with 2014, which was also broadcast exclusively live on Sky, the average is up by 118,000 however it should be noted that 2014’s broadcast was not simulcast on Sky Sports 1.

The race started with 1.34m (10.1%) at 16:10, increasing to 1.49m (10.1%) at the time of the first red flag at 16:45. Audiences dipped, peaked and then dipped again during the two red flags going from 1.1 million to 1.5 million and back down to 1.2 million in the space of 45 minutes. When the race eventually did restart at 18:05, an audience of 1.43m (7.3%) were watching. The audience increased steadily to hit 1.75m (8.1%) at the time of the chequered flag. USA 2014 therefore remains Sky’s most watched race.

Sky’s Formula 1 audience did not grow in line with the total TV audience, meaning that the Grand Prix was not attracting casual viewers. That does not mean that the race wasn’t exciting, it may mean that the race was not accessible enough. If you are not a regular Sky Sports watcher, you’re unlikely to tune into the race. It feels like casual viewers are not attracted to Sky’s F1 coverage. Why is a peak of 1.7 million viewers ‘their roof’ for Formula 1 with very little opposition? That’s not great. Looking at the breakdown, the first red flag period cost Sky a lot of viewers, but was exasperated by the second period.

Channel 4’s highlights programme averaged 1.42m (10.6%) from 22:00 to 00:05. Not a great number influenced by several factors. Humans, which aired directly before Formula 1’s highlights programme, is turning into a flop in the overnight viewing figures. Last night, Humans averaged just 1.01m (4.0%), which is clearly before Channel 4’s own expectations. Highlights might have done better at 21:00, but then it would have been directly against I’m a Celebrity on ITV, which averaged a whopping 10.66m (44.3%). So, it was a no-win situation.

The combined audience for Brazil of 2.55 million viewers is the lowest on record for Brazil, down 35 percent on the previous low of 3.93 million viewers recorded in 2013. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but disappointing nevertheless for a race that can, has done in the past, brought in extraordinary figures for Formula 1. Let’s hope Abu Dhabi lives up to the hype.

Live coverage of the qualifying session on Sky Sports F1 averaged 344k (2.6%) from 15:00 to 17:45. Channel 4’s highlights programme added a further 1.32m (6.2%) from 20:00 to 21:30, bringing the combined average audience to 1.66 million viewers, the lowest since 2006 for a Brazil qualifying session.

The 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.



6 thoughts on “1.1 million watch marathon Brazilian Grand Prix on Sky

  1. It should have been broadcast from 19.00 – 21.00, which would have been permitted based on USA’s highlights show (3hrs after start). Poor figures but X Factor and I’m a Celeb would have caused big problems.

  2. Exacerbated, not exasperated!

    My employer has Sky Sports so my plan was to drive to work on Sunday night to watch the race live. But I got my timings wrong (despite your excellent “scheduling” posts which I always keep handy), so I had to watch it on Channel 4. Half decent figures for the C4 showing considering the lateness of the hour! Also I’m surprised that Humans season 2 is struggling. I took the decision to wait until the end of the series to binge-watch it all, perhaps I’m not alone.

  3. On these numbers I’m struggling to understand how Sky can think it worthwhile paying a fortune for the rights to screen races. I doubt they can stem the haemorrhage of viewers but they badly need to rethink their line-up. Lazenby is shocking and needs to be dropped, he struggles to convey any interest in events other than quips about the journey to the track and last night’s restaurant. I know Paul Di Resta is a stand in but surely they can find someone better. He’s a droning bore. Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill are lovely guys/great racers but don’t add any up to date insight. Ted Kravitz knows his onions, but he’s not nearly as amusing as he thinks he is. The director needs to keep him on a tight leash. David Croft, Martin Brundle and Rachel Brookes are standouts and keep it watchable. I wish they’d make more use of Mark Hughes. I do actually prefer C4 when it’s on.

    1. I would say 1.12m is a pretty respectable figure for Sky, not far off being in line with your average premier league game on there, and they pay far less for F1.

      You’d be the first person I’ve seen who thinks David Croft & Rachel Brooks keeps it watchable. Both of them are horrendous in their own right.

  4. These figures are irrelevant nonsense because they don’t include millions, like myself, who watched via Now TV.

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