UK broadcasters reap rewards of dramatic German Grand Prix

A peak audience of 4.3 million viewers watched the German Grand Prix across Channel 4 and Sky Sports yesterday, overnight viewing figures in the UK show.

The race aired live on Sky Sports F1, with Channel 4 airing highlights later, both broadcasters reaping the rewards from a dramatic race. Sky Sports dropped its Paddock Live show after thunderstorms disrupted their post-race broadcast, the pay-TV broadcaster opting to head off air at 16:40 UK time.

Sky’s broadcast from 13:00 to 16:40 averaged 685k (7.7%), their third highest average of the season so far, only behind Monaco and Canada. Their coverage peaked with 1.19m (12.5%) at 15:20 as Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the Grand Prix. It is Sky’s highest peak for a European round since last season’s Italian Grand Prix, which peaked with 1.39m (15.0%).

Although the figures for Sky are good, both metrics are down by 20 percent when compared with the 2016 German Grand Prix. In 2016, the Hockenheim round averaged 932k (11.8%) across Sky Sports F1 and 1, with 1.48m (17.4%) watching Sky’s coverage at its peak, although it should be noted that those figures were very strong for Sky even at that time.

The difference between Sky’s 2016 and 2018 audience figures could suggest that more viewers are watching via Sky Go and Now TV, both of which are unaccounted for as Sky do not release these publicly. Sky’s core audience was likely split yesterday between the F1 and the Open Golf championship, so Sky are unlikely to be concerned by the drop in F1’s audience figure.

Following on from its Spanish Grand Prix success, Channel 4’s highlights programme recorded its highest ever peak figure yesterday. A peak audience of 3.11m (17.8%) watched Channel 4’s highlights broadcast at 20:15, the highest since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.

Channel 4’s average audience of 2.26m (13.8%) was slightly lower than Spain over a 135-minute time slot, but in-line with the 2016 average audience of 2.27m (14.1%). These figures come at a crucial time for Channel 4 as it looks to broadcast Formula 1 in highlights form from 2019. Certainly, audience figures indicate that would be the best course of action…

The combined average audience of 2.95 million viewers is the third highest of 2018, only behind Britain and Spain. Compared with the 2016 German round, the average audience is down by around 252,000 viewers, largely a result of Sky’s audience figures dropping.

A peak audience of 4.30 million viewers watched the race across Channel 4 and Sky, a split of 72:28 in Channel 4’s favour. The peak is in-line with 2016’s peak audience of 4.33 million, although the split on that day was 66:34 in Channel 4’s favour. In fact, the peak audience yesterday was the highest for a free-to-air highlights race since the 2016 Grand Prix!

Live coverage of qualifying averaged 335k (4.5%) across Sky’s F1 channel and their Main Event outlet. An audience of 260k (3.5%) watched via the F1 channel from 13:00 to 15:45, with 112k (1.5%) watching via Main Event from 13:55 onwards.

Later in the day, Channel 4’s highlights programme averaged 1.08m (9.6%) from 17:30 to 19:00, resulting in a combined average audience of 1.41 million viewers. Both broadcasters’ audience figures dropped by over 10 percent compared with 2016’s average of 1.69 million viewers.

The 2016 German Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.


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