Sky’s Formula 1 viewing figures for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix increased year-on-year, but failed to counter a significant decline for Channel 4’s own coverage, UK consolidated audience figures show.
Site announcement – UK TV overnight audience figures
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond Motorsport Broadcasting’s control, this site will no longer be providing UK overnight audience figures. Motorsport Broadcasting will only be providing UK consolidated audience figures with immediate effect.
A limited about of consolidated audience data is available via the BARB website and released each week for outlets, such as this one, to report on. The financial cost of continuing to report overnight audience figures is too large for this site to consider, even when accounting for the possibility of donations.
The change is far from ideal and limits what I can write about. For example, the BARB website does not provide peak audience figures for each programme, only average figures. Nevertheless, this site will continue to report viewing figures regularly where possible – in one format or another.
Consolidated figures account for viewers who watched via the TV set within seven days of transmission, and exclude commercial breaks. Therefore, we cannot compare them to previous overnight audience figures written on this site.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Race
Last year, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix aired live across Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1, whereas this year, coverage aired exclusively live on Sky.
Consolidated figures from BARB show that Sky Sports F1’s live coverage of the race itself averaged 904,000 viewers from 13:04 to 15:21 on Sunday 28th April. This excludes Sky’s pre-race build-up and post-race analysis.
Last year’s race coverage on Sky from 13:04 to 15:36 averaged 666,000 viewers, an increase of roughly 238,000 viewers or 35 percent.
Sky’s On the Grid segment averaged 350,000 viewers from 12:29 to 13:04, also an increase on last year’s figure of 243,000 viewers.
The Paddock Live segment, which started at 15:21, dropped year-on-year, from 178,000 viewers in 2018 to 146,000 viewers this year. Ted’s Notebook followed Paddock Live this year, drawing 104,000 viewers from 16:00.
Meanwhile, Channel 4’s two-hour highlights programme which aired from 19:00, averaged 1.75 million viewers. Last year, Channel 4 split their live programme into three segments, meaning that we cannot make direct year-on-year comparisons.
Back then, their Baku build-up averaged 930,000 viewers (from 12:00), with the race bringing in 2.97 million viewers (from 12:42) and the reaction averaging 1.27 million viewers (from 15:32).
If you compare the race segment only with this year’s full highlights programme, then year-on-year, Channel 4’s average audience has dropped by 1.22 million viewers or 41 percent.
If you were to compare Channel 4’s full programme length (until roughly 16:25), which based on consolidated figures averaged around 2.31 million viewers, then their year-on-year average has dropped by 560,000 viewers or 24 percent.
With no Sky One in play for Azerbaijan, it is becoming clear that Sky’s figures have increased year-on-year. However, their increase has not offset the decrease of Channel 4’s own viewing figures because of them losing live coverage.
Best of the rest
Elsewhere, ITV4’s live coverage of the British Touring Car Championship from Donington Park averaged 204,000 viewers across seven hours on Sunday 28th April. The same meeting in 2018 failed to make ITV4’s top ten for the week, averaging fewer than 237,000 viewers.
Over on Eurosport 2, the Paris E-Prix averaged 27,000 viewers on Saturday 27th April. Bear in mind that Formula E also airs on the BBC’s Red Button and BT Sport, so the number in isolation is incomplete for the championship.