Sky Sports’ Head of Formula 1 has admitted that the broadcaster needs to do a better job of explaining the different viewing options available to fans.
Scott Young, their Head of F1, was speaking in front of industry experts, including Motorsport Broadcasting, on stage at the Black Book Motorsport Forum event. In a session that also included broadcaster Steve Rider and Eurosport’s incoming Head of Motorsport Gernot Bauer, the three discussed the future of motor sport broadcasting.
Young was clear stakeholders need to do more to articulate the different options available to the viewing public.
“You can either subscribe to Sky and then upgrade to Sky Sports for a year, or you can go to Now TV, which is our streaming platform, and buy the race for a day,” Young said.
“Our app has our live feed, plus our race control channels, which has nine on-boards and some data feeds on it. Sky Go, if you are a customer, you can take it out to the pub and set it up the way you want to.”
“I think we need to do a better job of explaining that we are portable and that you don’t need to commit to us for a year to actually enjoy Formula 1.”
The statement comes off the back of an extensive pre-season marketing campaign from Sky, which saw them launch their ‘best ever’ F1 television offer encompassing the whole season.
Sky’s television offer received far more publicity than their Now TV season pass offer, which allowed F1 fans to watch all 21 races for a one-off payment of £195.00.
Young outlined that Sky have done “a lot of research” which shows that the average fan dips in and out of the F1 action each season, watching around a third of the races. “The audience, it taps out at about seven. So, after seven races pretty much you can repeat everything you do,” he added.
Sky “taking a deep dive look” at how people consume F1
One of the major topics of conversation throughout the session was how motor sport can entice younger people towards their offering, and Young noted that Sky are currently reviewing how audiences consume the sport.
“We know that we need to tap into a new and younger generation if we’re going to have a successful run of five and a half years,” Young said.
“We’ve got the youngest average age of 47 across all the sports channels. That means we should be focusing on a decade and a half under that, and how we target those people. We need to work with Formula 1 and others to make it happen.”
“A key part of F1’s strategy as well is to make sure there is a growth audience coming through, and what is it that they want to consume. We need to work out where the audience is coming from and what the audience wants.”
“Whether it’s long or short form programming I don’t think that’s necessarily to answer at the moment.”
Sky’s statistics, which Young quoted, show that 82 percent of their F1 audience watch the race from lights out to the podium, but Young ruled out tailoring their output to cover just the World Feed content, instead creating different content for different audiences.
“If the Grand Prix is 90 minutes, we want people to watch not only the 90 minutes, but the extraordinary effort that our amazing team puts into the pre and post-race packaging programming that goes around it. I think you need to make programming curated for a different audience, on an A.M. and F.M. level at the same time,” Young believes.
“After the 90-minute lead-up shows that we typically make, we hope that everybody understands the full picture from the lead up days.”
“They’ve heard from the stars and heroes of the sport and they understand that when the lights go out and Crofty picks up his famous line that there is knowledgeable they can possibly be across the depth of knowledge that they have, and that’s an art that every sports producer needs to be able to work on how you do that.”
“And that’s why we have a fairly deep roster of people, because each time that our talented hosts asks each one of the numerous people next to them what the answer is, they all know the answer, but it’s the way in which they interpret the question back that the audience picks up, is how they see this to be different.”