Merry Christmas from The F1 Broadcasting Blog

2018 has been another fantastic year of motor sport. Neither the MotoGP or F1 championships may have gone down to the wire, but we watched some great battles throughout in both categories, whilst the likes of IndyCar and the World Rally Championship also delivered.

For me, 2018 has been a pretty brilliant year, and I am genuinely thankful to all of those in the industry that have chatted to me throughout the year, at the race track and beyond. Autosport Show, the Silverstone Classic, MotoGP, British Touring Cars, and the Wales Rally GB – I have enjoyed every second being at those events.

I hope by attending those events I have been able to bring readers a different, original focus on the motor racing world, that is not available anywhere else. I have tried to emphasise quality over quantity: fewer pieces, but of a higher quality is the mantra for me, and I hope that has come through in the writing this year.

To every single one of you who has read the site this year: thank you for making 2018 a record-breaking year in terms of website audience figures.

This holiday season, whether you are reminiscing on the moments that have passed, or looking ahead to the future, I hope you and your loved ones have a relaxing festive period ahead of 2019. Stay safe, wherever you are heading.

Cheers,
Dave
Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog

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The magic 2018 numbers

It has been a record-breaking year for The F1 Broadcasting Blog, with motor racing fans flocking to this site for all the latest media stories. But just where have the visitors come from this year, and why?

Inevitably the focus is on the United Kingdom, this year more than most with question marks surrounding the UK F1 television rights picture. The proportion of people visiting from the UK increased significantly compared with 2017 as a result. Australia and Netherlands dipped for the second year in succession, but Germany bucked the trend, moving ahead of the Netherlands.

The same ten countries occupy the top 10. Portugal, Finland, and Belgium sit just outside the top 10, but some way behind Italy.

Top 10 Countries – Percentage of all hits
01 – 76.4 percent (2017: 72.2) – United Kingdom
02 – 6.0 percent (2017: 6.4) – United States
03 – 2.1 percent (2017: 2.4) – Ireland
04 – 2.0 percent (2017: 2.2) – Australia
05 – 1.5 percent (2017: 1.3) – Canada
06 – 1.3 percent (2017: 1.1) – Germany
07 – 1.1 percent (2017: 1.6) – Netherlands
08 – 0.9 percent (2017: 0.9) – France
09 – 0.8 percent (2016: 1.3) – Spain
10 – 0.7 percent (2016: 1.1) – Italy

Social media is increasingly irrelevant. Well, not quite. Nevertheless, despite breaking several stories throughout the year, Google was comfortably king, with many people reaching the site because of its high placing on the search engine where major stories were concerned.

Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook all lost percentage points compared with 2017, although the increase in total hits year-on-year may mean that the volume has not dropped as much as the percentage suggests. RaceFans enters the top five at the expense of Autosport Forum, which drops to seventh behind Crash.net.

Top 5 Referring Websites
01 – 77.9 percent (2017: 73.8) – Search engines
02 – 15.3 percent (2017: 18.6) – Twitter
03 – 2.1 percent (2017: 3.4) – Reddit
04 – 1.5 percent (2017: 2.7) – Facebook
05 – 0.9 percent (2017: n/a) – RaceFans

The whereabouts of Sky Sports F1 analyst Martin Brundle drove a lot of traffic to the site in 2018, and is a little bit of clue as to what the most read article on the site was this year! Brundle’s absence from three races resulted in spikes at various points this season, showing how much F1 fans appreciate his presence throughout each race weekend.

Beyond the top two, there is a mixture of MotoGP and Channel 4 F1 queries, as fans wondered what the future would hold for the free-to-air broadcaster.

Top 10 Search Queries
01 – martin brundle
02 – where is martin brundle
03 – f1 broadcasting
04 – formula 1 f1 broadcasting blog
05 – motogp highlights 2018
06 – channel 4 f1 2019
07 – motogp on tv 2018
08 – julian ryder
09 – f1 broadcasting blog
10 – motogp tv coverage 2018

Assuming Brundle is absent from three races again in 2019, there is a very good chance that we could see a similar looking table next year. Lower championships fail to break into the top 10, showing what generates the majority of traffic throughout the year.

Statistics compiled and correct as of December 19th, 2018.

Video: What would Coventry MotoFest look like if it aired live on TV?

First held in 2014, Coventry’s annual MotoFest event has grown with each passing year, now a firm fixture on the calendar for those that live in the city, including myself.

From 2014 to 2017, organisers held parade laps using a portion of the city’s Ring Road. With a change in law last year bringing motor sport back to the UK’s towns and cities, organisers took advantage of this, adding a sprint time trial event to the Moto Fest bill.

But, what would the city, which is also UK City of Culture for 2021, look like from a broadcasting point of view if it ever aired on television? Where would you place the cameras? I had a bit of fun across the two-day event, filming the machinery from various vantage points around the Ring Road based course.

I should note that the organisers did not ask me to write this, I have had no contact with them, just thought that this would make for an interesting piece of the site, and it falls into the broadcasting bracket very nicely.

So, how did I get on? Pleasingly, the result is a 90 second ‘directors cut’ lap of the 2018 Coventry MotoFest course! 30 minutes of footage from 18 different angles cut into a short edit. It is not intended to be perfect.

A few years ago, during University, I did gain an Adobe Premiere Pro certificate, but for this I jumped into DaVinci Resolve, which in terms of look and feel in my view is easier to use than Premiere Pro.

I filmed this on my Nexus 6P, no specialist camera, just me and my (un)steady hands. Resolve’s stabiliser function was my best friend for most of the clips! I had a good idea of where to get the best angles, but sometimes I used my instinct if an opportunity presented itself.

Some areas were restricted, such as the tunnel, whilst viewing areas down at the far end of the circuit were also limited, preventing me from poking my Nexus through the railings! Maybe I should have done my own recce

Once I had narrowed the clips down to the chosen ones, it was a matter of making sure they cut in and out at the right moment, road markings as well as my own knowledge guiding the process.

The cars in each clip were different, which resulted in different tones, so it was vital to correct that and attempt to equalise the audio in the editing process. Some of the sound is also taken from the preceding or following clip, as portions of it turned out to be unusable.

Being an event on public roads in a city centre, some cars were not taking break neck speeds around the course, so one or two clipsp may look slightly slower than those around them, but that is the luck of the draw.

Whilst I have corrected the key things in the first version, one thing caught me out and that was the sun, which eagle-eyed watchers will notice suddenly re-appear at around 28 seconds in. I want to do colour correction, across the whole film but that is a longer task for the future.

Currently, Coventry MotoFest does not look like UK’s version of Monte Carlo, but a bit of colour enhancements will change that. Maybe

Happy 6th Birthday!

An idea following my first year of University in 2012, turned into something that thousands read every month and enjoyed by those inside and outside the paddock.

Today, this site marks its sixth birthday. My main driver behind setting up the site was that motor sport broadcasting, in my view, is not adequately covered by the mainstream motor sport media, something that I wanted to change. Yes, the headline stories are, but underneath the surface in-depth independent pieces are rare.

We all watch motor racing for the drivers, the machinery, the thrill of the speed. But there is an undercurrent to all the spills: an effort consisting of hundreds, if not thousands of people to get the show televised, to get the story told and re-told in various formats, around the world.

Combining my love for motor sport, my interest in the media landscape and then the data driven side led to the creation of this site, which felt like a natural fit for me. Writing race reports that are elsewhere ad-nauseam does not interest me, other sites exist for that purpose.

The reason this site exists is to tell the broadcasting story, and to be distinctive in its content, from behind the scenes with those involved in motor sport broadcasting through to the analytical in-depth number crunching.

Over the past twelve months I have moved towards focusing on more on in-depth writing: fewer posts, better content, branching out into previously uncovered areas, and I hope that comes through on the site.

There will always be a need for instant posts in the event of breaking stories, however I have tried to balance the nature of the articles produced. If you are reading this and thinking “you should cover X”, I am open to new, original guest posts. Whether it is Formula E, World Rally Championship, or something completely different, new ideas and contributors are welcome.

I am proud of how far the site has come and look forward to seeing how it continues to evolve over the next year.

Cheers,
Dave
Creator and Editor of The F1 Broadcasting Blog

The top 10 posts of 2017

New beginnings, and the end of an era in at least one respect, 2017 had both. #AlonsoRunsIndy caused a major traffic spike for The F1 Broadcasting Blog in April and May, with record numbers reading about the Indianapolis 500. Elsewhere, it was also the end for two legendary MotoGP commentators. Here is what you read most out of the content published during 2017.

10. BT Sport likely to retain UK TV rights for MotoGP – August 29th
One of the key broadcasting stories that is likely to conclude early in 2018 is the destination of MotoGP’s live television coverage from 2019 onwards. This writer spoke to Dorna during the 2017 British MotoGP weekend, and with it found out that BT Sport are likely to retain MotoGP beyond 2018.

9. UK – Alonso’s Indy 500 exploit peaks with 203,000 viewers – May 29th
Fernando Alonso’s participation in the Indianapolis 500 was a huge driver for a large portion of readers visiting this site during May. His stint in the famous race provided BT Sport with a major boost, increasing their Indianapolis 500 audience year-on-year by 975 percent!

8. Channel 5 to continue World Rally Championship coverage in 2017 – January 12th
Remaining on four-wheels of a different kind, it emerged straight after the Winter break that the World Rally Championship will remain on Channel 5. MotoGP would soon join the series on Channel 5…

7. ITV and MotoGP part company ahead of 2017 season – February 16th
…after they parted company with ITV, who had been covering highlights since 2014. The move came as a surprise given that MotoGP was an easy schedule filler for ITV4 and was rating reasonably well for the broadcaster in that slot.

6. Liberty Media helps bring F1 social media strategy on-track – August 20th
Amazingly, the only Formula 1 article to make the top ten. Relatively speaking, there have been no major news for UK fans from Liberty Media. The piece that did make the top ten surrounded Formula 1’s social media strategy, with an increased following because of the additional resources poured into the platforms.

5. Channel 5 secures MotoGP highlights package – March 15th
The parting of ways between ITV Sport and MotoGP prompted some chatter around whether Channel 4, Channel 5, or even the BBC would swoop in for the MotoGP highlights package. In the end, it was Channel 5 that secured the deal, announced shortly before the season opener in Qatar.

4. Scheduling: The 2017 Indianapolis 500 – May 17th
I posted the finalised Indianapolis 500 schedule on this site half way through May. Disappointingly though, no free-to-air broadcasters aired the event, which had significantly more attention than usual this year due to Alonso’s appearance. And, this is not Indy’s last appearance in the top ten either…

3. Discovery threatens to pull channels, including Eurosport, from Sky platform – January 25th
A spat between Discovery and Sky started off 2017, and escalated rapidly with Discovery threatening to remove their channels from Sky’s platform. The movement gained traction on social media, but in the end the two sides agreed a deal, ensuring Eurosport remained on Sky.

2. Julian Ryder to bow out of MotoGP commentary role following 2017 season – November 9th
One of the lessons of covering this site is to expect the unexpected. That was the case in November when news emerged that Julian Ryder was to hang up his MotoGP commentary gig, following Nick Harris into pastures new. Whoever is alongside Keith Huewen in the BT Sport commentary box in Qatar will have big shoes to fill.

1. The 2017 Indianapolis 500: how, and where you can see it in the UK – April 12th
There was immediate interest in the Indianapolis 500 as soon as news came out around #AlonsoRunsIndy. Reacting straight away, the number one post of 2017 outlined how viewers in the UK could watch the 101st running of the famous event, which formed part of the 2017 IndyCar series season.

Alongside the top ten posts, there are a few other posts from across the year that I want to highlight. In September, I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes look inside the British Superbikes outside broadcast (OB) truck (here and here). If you are at all interested in how motor sport television broadcasts are produced, I strongly encourage you to have a read of both of those pieces.

Elsewhere, I have also interviewed numerous motor sport personalities this year, ranging from former ITV F1 pit lane reporter Louise Goodman (here and here) to Sky’s Formula 1 presenter Simon Lazenby, and onto Motorcycle News (MCN) writer Simon Patterson, amongst others throughout the racing year.

The 2017 top ten only featured one Formula 1 post, however I suspect that there will be a lot more on the broadcasting side to discuss in 2018 where F1 is concerned…