Spanish Grand Prix sheds viewers year-on-year

The Spanish Grand Prix performed poorly across Sky Sports and Channel 4, official consolidated figures from BARB show.

The race faced tough opposition against the conclusion of the Premier League football season, and with the F1 season not yet living up to expectation on track, viewing figures throughout the weekend suffered.

Consolidated audience figures include viewers who watched within seven days of broadcast, and exclude commercial breaks. Figures in this article should not be compared to previous overnight ratings posted on this site.

Race
Live coverage of the race itself on Sky Sports F1 averaged 799,000 viewers from 14:05 to 16:20, a decrease on last year’s figure for the equivalent programme of 852,000 viewers.

The remainder of Sky’s programme recorded year-on-year double digit drops. Pit Lane Live from 12:30 to 13:30 averaged 160,000 viewers, compared with 205,000 viewers from twelve months ago.

An hour later, On the Grid averaged 382,000 viewers, a decrease on last year’s figure of 432,000 viewers. Paddock Live rounded off a poor day for Sky on the F1 front, averaging just 97,000 viewers from 16:30 to 17:15.

Sky’s audience drops pale in comparison to Channel 4’s figures later in the evening. The free-to-air highlights package averaged 1.72 million viewers from 19:00 to 21:00, a decrease of 31.4 percent on the 2018 figure of 2.51 million viewers.

On both occasions, Channel 4’s highlights aired in a two-hour time slot, although this year’s offering aired an hour later, and contained less action. Nevertheless, this in totality does not explain the significant year-on-year drop.

Of course, part of the explanation is down to the change of F1 rights that kicked in this year, with less action on free-to-air television. The broadcasting changes are only part of the story: we should not forget that the on-track action has been one-sided.

Based on consolidated figures, the average audience across Channel 4 and Sky decreased year-on-year close to one million viewers. The drop for the peak audience will likely be lower year-on-year, around the half a million viewer ballpark.

Qualifying
Sky’s live coverage of qualifying dropped marginally year-on-year, averaging 425,000 viewers from 13:50 to 15:30, compared with 438,000 viewers for the equivalent time slot last year.

Their build-up averaged 114,000 viewers from 13:00 to 13:50, also a decrease on last year’s figure of 149,000 viewers.

Channel 4’s highlights programme completed the clean sweep of year-on-year drops, averaging 1.25 million viewers compared with 1.52 million viewers twelve months ago.

In the same way that Ferrari domination hurt F1 in the UK in the early 2000’s when the sport aired on ITV, Mercedes domination this year is driving viewers away from Formula 1.

The bad news for all concerned is that alienated F1 fans are not viewing other forms of motor sport. They are leaving the sport altogether.

Over on Eurosport, live coverage of World Superbikes from Imola reached its highest point on Saturday 11th May, when 77,000 viewers watched coverage of race one.

Afterwards, live coverage of Formula E’s Monaco E-Prix averaged 49,000 viewers from 14:30 to 17:00 on the same channel, this figure not accounting for fans watching via other outlets.

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Scheduling: The 2019 Indianapolis 500 / Monaco Grand Prix

Motor racing’s ‘biggest weekend’ is here. Welcome to the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix!

For the first time ever, both blue riband events air back-to-back live on Sky Sports F1, providing an afternoon of motor sport entertainment. Sky are taking NBC’s coverage of the 500, with Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Kevin Lee, and Danica Patrick on hand. Sky will air the race uninterrupted, with Tom Gaymor and Alex Brundle filling the gaps for UK fans.

Their Monaco schedule is as usual, with practice taking place on Thursday. Both qualifying and the race also air on Sky Sports Main Event. The length of their post-race Paddock Live show is flexible, depending on the amount of analysis required from Monte Carlo.

Channel 4’s team covering Monaco is their largest of the season so far. Steve Jones presents alongside Eddie Jordan, Mark Webber, and Lee McKenzie, with David Coulthard and Ben Edwards on commentary.

Alex Jacques in back on 5 Live duty for practice and qualifying, as Jack Nicholls in on Formula E duty in Berlin. The Formula E schedule is somewhat unusual this weekend to avoid the German FA Cup Final on Saturday evening. Formula E practice moves Friday, with Saturday’s activities taking place earlier than usual.

British Superbikes heads to Donington Park, with most of the action airing on Quest due to the start of the Roland Garros Tennis tournament on Eurosport.

Channel 4 F1
25/05 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
26/05 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
23/05 – 09:45 to 11:45 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
23/05 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
25/05 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
25/05 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event until 15:00)
26/05 – 12:30 to 16:30 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 13:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 14:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 16:00 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
22/05 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
22/05 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Welcome to the Weekend (also Sky Sports Main Event)
22/05 – 17:30 to 18:00 – Jenson’s F1 Memories
23/05 – 16:00 to 16:30 – The Story so Far (also Sky Sports Main Event)
25/05 – 15:30 to 16:00 – The F1 Show
29/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
23/05 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
23/05 – 20:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
26/05 – 13:00 to 16:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 (Sky Sports F1)
26/05 – 16:30 to 21:00 – Race

Formula E – Berlin
Also airs live on YouTube
24/05 – 10:45 to 11:30 – Shakedown (BT Sport 2)
24/05 – 14:15 to 15:30 – Practice 1 (BT Sport 2)
24/05 – 16:45 to 17:45 – Practice 2 (BT Sport 2)
25/05 – 07:30 to 09:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN and Eurosport 2)
25/05 – 11:30 to 13:30 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC’s digital platforms
=> live on BT Sport/ESPN
=> live on Eurosport 2
25/05 – 00:00 to 01:00 – Highlights (Quest)

British Superbikes – Donington Park
25/05 – 11:30 to 13:00 – Qualifying Part 1 (Quest)
25/05 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Qualifying Part 2 (Quest and Eurosport 2)
26/05 – 13:00 to 18:30 – Races (Quest)
29/05 – 22:00 to 23:30 – Highlights (ITV4)

Euroformula – Hockenheim
Also airs live on YouTube
25/05 – 14:15 to 15:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport Extra 2)
26/05 – 11:45 to 12:45 – Race 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

Formula Two – Monaco (Sky Sports F1)
23/05 – 08:10 to 09:00 – Practice (also Sky Sports Main Event)
23/05 – 12:15 to 13:00 – Qualifying
24/05 – 10:20 to 11:35 – Race 1
25/05 – 16:00 to 17:05 – Race 2

International GT Open – Hockenheim (BT Sport/ESPN)
Also airs live on YouTube
25/05 – 15:15 to 16:45 – Race 1
26/05 – 12:45 to 14:00 – Race 2

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series – Berlin (BT Sport/ESPN)
24/05 – 15:30 to 16:15 – Qualifying
25/05 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Race

Porsche Supercup – Monaco (Sky Sports F1)
26/05 – 09:30 to 10:05 – Race

Virgin Australia Supercars – Winton (BT Sport 2)
Also airs live on SuperView (£)
25/05 – 06:30 to 08:15 – Race 1
26/05 – 04:15 to 06:45 – Race 2

As always, this post will be updated as additional details are confirmed.

Sky’s Baku audience figures jump, but fails to counter Channel 4 decrease

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 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.

Scheduling: The 2019 Spanish Grand Prix / Monaco E-Prix

The European season for Formula 1 starts with a bang, with a ton of action to whet the appetite.

Joining the F1 party is Jenson Button, who is with Sky Sports in Spain for the first of his five races this year. Elsewhere in Sky’s line-up, Ted Kravitz is back on the side-lines until Canada, although Kravitz fans can see him as part of the W Series line-up this year.

Oddly, Sky’s race day schedule reverts to their 2018 format with Paddock Live shortened back down to 40 minutes and not airing (from an EPG perspective) until half past the hour. In the commentary box, expect Martin Brundle and David Coulthard to return to Sky and Channel 4 respectively after their absence in Baku.

Formula Three returns in Spain, the championship succeeding GP3 Series in the third-tier on the F1 support package. Race coverage airs live on Sky Sports F1, although qualifying airs on a small tape-delay following their Friday F1 wrap-up show.

Outside of the F1 circle, the Monaco E-Prix for Formula E is slightly unique: there is no Shakedown, the race starts 30 minutes later than usual and, like F1, the local host takes control with little input from Aurora.

As Jack Nicholls is on Formula E duty, Jolyon Palmer will be joined by Tom Gaymor on Formula 1 practice duty for BBC Radio 5 Live in the latest commentary merry-go-round. Marc Priestley joins Palmer for qualifying.

Channel 4 F1
11/05 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
12/05 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
10/05 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1
10/05 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event until 15:30)
11/05 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
11/05 – 13:00 to 15:30 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event from 14:30)
12/05 – 12:30 to 17:10 – Race
=> 12:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 13:30 – On the Grid
=> 14:05 – Race
=> 16:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
09/05 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
09/05 – 16:00 to 16:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
10/05 – 16:30 to 17:00 – The Story so Far
11/05 – 16:45 to 17:15 – The F1 Show
15/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
10/05 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11/05 – 14:00 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
12/05 – 13:50 to 16:10 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

Formula E – Monaco
Also airs live on YouTube
11/05 – 06:15 to 07:30 – Practice 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
11/05 – 08:45 to 09:45 – Practice 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
11/05 – 10:30 to 12:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN and Eurosport 2*)
11/05 – 15:00 to 17:00 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC Red Button
=> live on Quest
=> live on BT Sport/ESPN
=> live on Eurosport 2

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – Silverstone (Eurosport 2)
Also airs live on YouTube
12/05 – 16:30 to 18:30 – Race Finish

Formula Two – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
10/05 – 11:55 to 12:45 – Practice
10/05 – 15:50 to 16:30 – Qualifying
11/05 – 15:30 to 16:45 – Race 1
12/05 – 10:20 to 11:20 – Race 2

Formula Three – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
10/05 – 17:00 to 17:30 – Qualifying Tape-Delay
11/05 – 09:15 to 10:00 – Race 1
12/05 – 09:15 to 10:00 – Race 2

IndyCar Series – IndyCar Grand Prix (Sky Sports F1)
10/05 – 21:30 to 23:00 – Qualifying
11/05 – 20:00 to 23:00 – Race

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series – Monaco (BT Sport/ESPN)
11/05 – 10:00 to 10:45 – Qualifying
11/05 – 17:30 to 18:30 – Race [TBC]

Porsche Supercup – Spain (Sky Sports F1)
12/05 – 11:40 to 12:20 – Race

World Rally Championship – Chile (All Live – BT Sport Extra [TBC])
Also airs live on WRCPlus.com (£)
To be confirmed

World Rally Championship – Chile
To be confirmed

World Superbikes – Imola
Also airs live on World Superbikes‘ Video Pass (£)
10/05 – 09:25 onwards (Eurosport 2)
=> 09:25 to 10:25 – SBK: Practice 1
=> 13:55 to 14:55 – SBK: Practice 2
=> 14:55 to 15:55 – SSP: Practice 2
11/05 – 09:30 to 14:15 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
12/05 – 09:30 to 15:15 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
14/05 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

World Touring Car Cup – Slovakia
10/05 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
12/05 – 09:30 to 11:00 – Race 1 (Eurosport)
12/05 – 15:15 to 16:30 – Race 3 (Eurosport)

The scheduling information will be updated if timings change.

Last updated on May 8th.

Scheduling: The 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix / Paris E-Prix

This weekend is packed with motor sport, as Formula 1 heads to Azerbaijan for round four of the 2019 season. Will Ferrari claw the gap back to Mercedes, or will Baku signal Ferrari’s end game this year, only four races in?

On the broadcasting front, there are changes for all UK F1 broadcasters. Starting with Sky Sports, Natalie Pinkham to their line-up for the first time this season. Like last year, Martin Brundle is taking three races off this year, the first of which is this weekend, Brundle instead is racing at the Nurburgring. No word yet on who is stepping into the commentary box, but previous form would suggest Paul di Resta steps into the fold.

Azerbaijan marks the end of Sky’s simulcasts on Sky One, with qualifying and the race airing exclusively live on Sky Sports F1. A slight difference is that The F1 Show airs 45 minutes after qualifying instead of 30 minutes, as was the case for the first three races, a good move allowing for further post-qualifying analysis before The F1 Show airs.

Mark Webber replaces David Coulthard in the Channel 4 commentary box for the first time, Coulthard opting to take three races off this season. Eddie Jordan and Lee McKenzie join Steve Jones and Billy Monger in the paddock for Channel 4.

Over on 5 Live, Jack Nicholls’ Formula E commitments in Paris means that he is not on practice or qualifying duty. It is an unusual weekend for Formula E: not only is the series airing on tape-delay on BBC’s Red Button, it also finds itself airing behind BT Sport’s Red Button for the race itself.

Formula E plays second fiddle to football, rugby, hockey, tennis and WRC All Live on BT, whilst repeats of The £100k House and Your House Made Perfect air over on BBC Two (of course, the Formula E contract stipulated for one race to air live on BBC’s terrestrial channels, and that has already happened).

Nevertheless, fans can still watch full Formula E World Feed coverage via a variety of outlets, including YouTube after Formula E decommissioned their bespoke YouTube show.

Beyond the two leading single-seater racing championships, there is much more action with the British Touring Car Championship, World Rally Championship and World Touring Car Cup all in action across the weekend.

On a side note, following the recent Motorsport Broadcasting survey, moving forward the site will also list whether the series in question is streaming the action live via YouTube or via their own in-house platform.

Channel 4 F1
27/04 – 18:30 to 20:00 – Qualifying Highlights
28/04 – 19:00 to 21:00 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
26/04 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
26/04 – 13:45 to 15:45 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/04 – 10:45 to 12:30
=> 10:45 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 12:10 – Paddock Walkabout
27/04 – 13:00 to 15:45 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
28/04 – 11:30 to 16:30 – Race
=> 11:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – On the Grid
=> 13:05 – Race
=> 15:00 – Paddock Live
=> 16:00 – Notebook

Supplementary Programming
25/04 – 14:00 to 14:30 – Drivers’ Press Conference
25/04 – 16:00 to 16:30 – Welcome to the Weekend
26/04 – 16:00 to 16:30 – The Story so Far
27/04 – 15:45 to 16:15 – The F1 Show
30/04 – 18:00 to 18:30 – F1 Midweek Debrief

BBC Radio F1
25/04 – 21:00 to 21:30 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
26/04 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
26/04 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/04 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/04 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/04 – 13:00 to 15:25 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

Formula E – Paris
Also airs live on YouTube
26/04 – 14:45 to 15:30 – Shakedown (BT Sport/ESPN)
27/04 – 06:15 to 07:30 – Practice 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
27/04 – 08:45 to 09:45 – Practice 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)
27/04 – 10:30 to 12:00 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN and Eurosport 2)
27/04 – 14:30 to 16:30 – Race: World Feed
=> live on BBC’s website and Connected TV
=> live on Quest
=> live on BT Sport Extra 5
=> live on Eurosport 2
27/04 – 17:30 to 19:30 – Race: World Feed Delayed (BBC Red Button)

British Touring Car Championship – Donington (ITV4)
28/04 – 10:40 to 18:00 – Races

Euroformula – Paul Ricard (BT Sport Extra 6)
Also airs live on YouTube
27/04 – 13:15 to 14:15 – Race 1
28/04 – 12:45 to 13:45 – Race 2

Formula Two – Azerbaijan (Sky Sports F1)
26/04 – 07:55 to 08:45 – Practice
26/04 – 11:55 to 12:40 – Qualifying
27/04 – 08:50 to 10:05 – Race 1
28/04 – 10:00 to 11:05 – Race 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)

International GT Open – Paul Ricard (BT Sport Extra 6)
Also airs live on YouTube
27/04 – 14:15 to 15:45 – Race 1
28/04 – 13:45 to 15:00 – Race 2

Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series – Paris
27/04 – 07:30 to 08:15 – Qualifying (BT Sport/ESPN)
27/04 – 12:45 to 13:45 – Race (BT Sport Extra 5)

World Rally Championship – Argentina (All Live)
Also airs live on WRCPlus.com (£)
25/04 – 22:15 to 00:15 – Stage 1 (BT Sport Extra 1)
26/04 – 12:00 to 22:30 – Stages 2 to 8 (BT Sport Extra 1)
27/04 – 11:30 to 21:15 – Stages 9 to 15 (BT Sport Extra 2)
28/04 – 11:30 to 17:45 – Stages 16 to 18 (BT Sport Extra 4)

World Rally Championship – Argentina
25/04 – 23:00 to 00:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
27/04 – 04:00 to 04:30 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
28/04 – 04:00 to 04:30 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 2)
28/04 – 16:00 to 17:30 – Stage 18 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/04 – 02:30 to 03:00 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 1)
29/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (5Spike)

World Touring Car Cup – Hungary (Eurosport 2)
28/04 – 09:00 to 10:15 – Qualifying
28/04 – 11:30 to 12:30 – Race 1
28/04 – 16:00 to 16:30 – Race 2
28/04 – 16:30 to 17:15 – Race 3

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Update on April 24th – Added details about Brundle’s absense from Sky’s coverage this weekend.