There have been three major strands to 2016 from the perspective of The F1 Broadcasting Blog’s readers. The site recorded nearly half a million hits in 2016 with the main three topics of conversation: Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage, Sky Sports and the ongoing saga surrounding Motors TV. Here is what you read most out of the content published during 2016.
10. Sky Sports to broadcast F1 exclusively from 2019 – March 23rd
After all the early year activity surrounding Channel 4, I thought it would become quieter for at least a year before the noise increased again. How wrong was I. On March 23rd, the bombshell announcement was made that Sky Sports had secured exclusive Formula 1 rights in the UK from 2019 to 2024 inclusive.
9. Formula 1 hits decade low audience in UK – April 18th
With no presence on BBC television in 2016, Formula 1’s UK viewing figures dropped considerably year-on-year. Here is the Chinese Grand Prix ratings report, which paints the overriding pattern for 2016 as a whole.
8. Channel 4 confirms Australian Grand Prix build-up programming – March 5th
Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage was eagerly anticipated by readers in the build-up to the 2016 Formula One season. The first sign of their Australian Grand Prix schedule came on March 5th, as ‘Speed with Guy Martin’ was announced.
7. di Resta to replace Brundle as Sky’s co-commentator in Canada – June 9th
Martin Brundle’s appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was preceded by a “medical procedure” which meant that he was out of action for the Canadian Grand Prix. Paul di Resta was drafted in as Brundle’s co-commentator for both the Canadian and European rounds of the 2016 season,
6. Channel 4 confirms F1 ad-break plan for live races – March 15th
With Formula 1 moving back to free-to-air commercial television, readers were concerned that Formula 1 races would be littered with adverts again. The good news was that Channel 4 would continue to air live races advert free, with the broadcaster confirming their plans in a press release following their initial announcement in December 2015.
5. What the future holds for Motors TV – July 5th
The future of Motors TV has been a hot topic in 2016. The channel was removed from Sky’s television platform in July and further research revealed that the channel was in financial difficulty. The Motorsport Network (led by Zak Brown) acquired the channel in November, securing the future of its underlying assets.
4. F1 teams “blocked” Sky UK exclusivity for 2016 to 2018 – March 24th
The news that Sky Sports would be broadcasting Formula 1 exclusively from 2019 onwards prompted a lot of negative reaction. This site revealed days after that announcement that Formula 1’s teams blocked an attempt by Sky to broadcast the sport exclusively with immediate effect following the BBC’s exit at the end of 2015.
3. Motors TV removed from Sky platform (and reinstated) – February 25th
A precursor to the fifth post above, the initial rumblings around Motors TV started in February, when the channel was removed from Sky. The channel was reinstated in early March having been absent for around a week.
2. Channel 4 announces Formula 1 on-air team – March 8th
After a long wait, Channel 4’s Formula 1 line-up was finally unveiled to the assembled media (including this site) on a cold March morning. Steve Jones, Mark Webber, David Coulthard, Karun Chandhok and more were some of the stars on hand as Channel 4’s coverage launched.
1. Davidson and Brundle highlight strengths and weaknesses in Sky’s Formula 1 team – July 16th
The most read piece that was published this year, by some margin. One of my mid-season pieces focussing on the strengths and weaknesses of Sky’s Formula 1 team went ‘viral’, with 25 comments on the piece alone and a lot of thoughts and opinion generated through Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
It has been an interesting year in the broadcasting world, and who knows what 2017 will bring us. From the racing perspective, a new battle at the front of the Formula 1 field? I hope so.