Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 10th November 2013

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More bad news for SKY F1? (05:15)


More bad news for SKY F1?

The news broke yesterday that BT sport had bought the rights to broadcast all Champions League and Europa League matches from 2015 onwards which at best, will be a dent to the pride of BSkyB sports broadcasting. What this has to do with F1 I hear you ask? Allow me to explain.

With the emergence of a genuine rival to Sky Sport’s crown as the UK’s most complete sports broadcaster there will be undoubtedly be ripple effects. Having lost their main football rights, ITV will now be forced to concentrate their efforts onto other sports. They already host the British Touring Cars Championship, so perhaps focussing on other forms of motor racing could be an option. The only slight drawback to this plan being that it would mean advertising during races again.

Then there is the BBC, who have lost part of the rights to Moto GP (to BT Sport). If (and probably when) Suzi Perry is forced out of the host role it would give the opportunity for a complete revamp of the show they deliver. The offer of F1 being ‘free to air’ again on terrestrial TV would certainly attract many back to the screens of the beeb.

Then there is BT Sport who have clearly shown they have the budget to compete with BSkyB, given the £897 million deal for European football (3 times what ITV and SKY were paying), what’s to say they would not want to venture into F1 broadcasting if it could be lucrative. It would also see NASCAR and F1 broadcast from the same station. The dream of Jake Humphrey coming back to F1 screens could even happen…

Ultimately, there would be no loyalty shown by CVC, who would happily grant the rights to whoever sends the biggest cheque in the post. If there are more losses of sports broadcasting rights, it will make the sports package Sky offers less attractive, meaning the F1 channel is in effect more expensive and harder to justify paying for.

If the SKYF1 channel continues to suffer the poor viewing figures we have seen then it could be a very difficult justification to those in charge to keep the F1 rights. Unless Sky can start to record Formula One themselves, and not take on the world feed, it seems there could be bleak times ahead.

The figures given by BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) show BT Sport 2 having 963,000 viewers from the week 21st – 27th October. Sky F1 had 1,729,000 during the same week. Whilst this may seem relatively good, when we consider it was the Championship deciding round at the Indian GP, they are not quite so impressive.

What do you think TJ13 readers? Where would you prefer to see the F1 broadcasting rights heading to?

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59 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 10th November 2013

  1. I won’t try to pretend I know what you’re on about here, other than doesn’t sound too positive. My TV provider has so far as I can judge, been immune to the shufflings going on over in Britain regarding televising F1. May it remain that way….Had a comedy moment tho’ at the presentation ceremony for the last race when as Brundle launched into that innane podium b/s, the broadcaster focused on the donuts that had been presented by Seb and we were spared the entire Brundle act. (There is a god after all.)

    • Hi Peter,
      if I remember rightly from the coverage in NZ there is a lack of pre-show build up which we are afforded in the UK. Does this not frustrate you?

      • Not quite sure what you mean by pre-show. We get the 3 practices and qualy – cover starts 5 minutes before the circuit timing kicks in during which they set the scene and reply to tweets from near and far. What is frustrating is the lack of coordination between camera and commentary – they’re often explaining something, even demonstrating, or discussing replays and the cameras are blissfully elsewhere……

        • there is no build show to the race and qualy though. Surely this means anyone who doesn’t understand the sport is excluded as there is no expert analysis?

          • No build show, no. ‘Expert’ commentary from whoever, plus Gary Anderson. Oh, and Suzi…..

  2. Any confirmation on the comment on Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat that Kimi is heading for back surgery on thursday and will skip rest of the season. Source mentioned his manager Robertson.

  3. BT Sport currently offer a sub standard offering for its Premier League viewers, especially in relation to SKY. Hopefully, by 2015, they will be a much more polished outfit or else Champions League viewing figures will plummet aswell. If not, I think this battle will be short lived and that (champions league) contract will be the last big contract they do. With regards to SKY F1, personally, I watch every race on there as I tried to watch a few qualifying sessions on the BBC and found it didn’t offer the same quality. It surprises me that it’s doing badly ratings wise, but then I bet they would be higher if the BBC didn’t have half the races live and highlights just a little later. Many are probably happy to stick with the BBC, but SKY offer a full channel dedicated to the sport and I,for one, would miss the F1 show and the classic races that it shows. BT Sport is probably the only other channel that could offer something on the same level of coverage, but on current form, they’d probably ruin it.

    • I took the sky F1 channel because the BBC highlights just don’t cut it, I want to watch a driver catch the man in front over 20laps not just the overtake. Plus that Suzi thing is soooooo annoying. Jake Humphreys was top class and added a little something to the shows. BBC were getting it right until sky got in too then BBC sort of gave up. I don’t actually pay extra for the F1 channel but it was the deciding factor in taking sky broadband/tv/phone. I would be happy to pay £5 a month if I had too but no more than that. They do a good build up show for both qually and race. The only thing I don’t like is Simon Lazenby, the most punchable bloke on the telly by miles, he is so smarmy and slimy I can’t stand him. But apart from that they got a good team.

    • Will BT Sport’s channel go free to all Freeview boxes? Surely they should do this to maximise advertising revenue of the channels, and gaining high viewership for their now exclusive football coverage. I have BT Broadband and follow Sky Go from parent’s online ID, yet I can only get BT sport on iPad at the moment, this after the second time of enquiring (and waiting for it to be ‘turned on’ after downloading the app), previously assuming it would be going onto Freeview, only to find it bundled with a BT Vision TV extra. Surely they don’t want to become another Sky Sports F1 channel with only 2m viewers. I’m sure it’ll be in all pubs though.

      It will be interesting to see what the other channels do with the money released from the football contract. F1 would be a good replacement.. Keeping the FA Cup and League Cup also? Europa League? BBC will probably get everything extravagant cut and focus on minor and cheap sports, like upcoming ones or something forgotten like hockey (previously to now pretty much never on TV, pretty much an amateur sport in the UK). I can see a lot of things ending up on ITV that used to be on BBC, to have worse coverage and ads at important moments. But the BBC need money for all those expensive management pay-offs! So technically, this is in the conservatives’ self-interest…

      (Jokes aside, I get the point that the BBC doesn’t need to have exclusivity on sports that would otherwise be free-to-view were ITV to get involved, which could save them some money)

  4. Not sure who wrote this piece but it’s not up to the usual standard for the site. Doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny at all and seems to have an almost Daily Mailesque bleak end-of-the-world-is-nigh negative spin applied.

    In reality the loss of football means Sky will have hundreds of millions to spend on other sports and it makes it more likely they will seek out new sports and develop their coverage of existing ones. It’s how broadcasters compete! They don’t just say “oh well, we’ve lost it – let’s pull out of sport”.

    Anyway I’m sure Ecclestone’s medium term plans will be to cut the broadcasters out of the loop entirely and put F1 on a streaming service sold direct from FOM to consumers, with many tiered levels of coverage at different price points. Absolutely no reason to be so irrationally fearful of the future as the author of this TJ13 piece is though, the level of access and coverage of this sport will only improve in the future as it has over the past twenty years.

    • seems a bit harsh Sharl. The point of the article is that sky sports sells itself as a complete package. the more it loses from that package, the less likely people are to subscribe.

  5. Back to free to air in the Netherlands.
    I know watch German RTL, but it’s not in dutch, which is a problem because my son is 3.

  6. McGregor are having a 30% off sale of their Caterham clothing. Off season? Or a sign of the future for Boekhoorn/McGregor/vdGarde?

    • Good sign or bad sign :p Does this indicate that they won’t be needed for next year?

      The problem for Giedo now is that even beating Pic does nothing for them, as taking him gets them a cheaper Renault engines/group sportscar contract I’m sure. And Tony is considering Heikki in case they are onto the back of the midfield next year..

  7. I think i get what the judge is saying. If he could hopefully reiterate my point.
    ITV have lost the rights to the champions league and Europa league. That in theory frees up 250 million for ITV to redistubute into bringing formula 1 back to itv in 2018.
    The stumbling block I think the judge is making is with sky. That with Bernies trial. It gives them a chance to basically buy fom out. And control the world feed. Which would hoodwink ITV, BBC channel 4 or 5 putting a bid in to have rights in the UK and other fta tv companies around the world as sky.will just put it all behind a paywall in each country they own sky in. UK, Germany and Italy immediately spring to mind.
    This could end up going to the courts due to monopolisation and forcing sky (if they do buy fom out) to distribute rights to other tv companys around the world. Of course this will come at a heafty price.
    There is 1 way this could be avoided.
    Hopefully if Bernie is found guilty. Jean todt and co can finally terminate fom and cvcs commercial contract like thry did with wrcs commercial rights holder a few years ago. The fia will regain control of the commercial aspects. And hopefully a fair price and fair distribution of formula 1 can once again happen. And fta channels will be given priority.

    • ultimately, if F1 wants to grow it’s audience in the UK it needs to be on free to air TV. No wonder F1 is not growing in popularity in areas where you must pay to watch it.

    • This x 1,0000. If I could buy a season ticket and watch each session when I wanted to on the computer it would be beyond brilliant. F1 is the last thing that is keeping me tied to cable TV. If I could watch it directly I would be done with the ridiculous amount of money I have to waste on all those shows I never watch.

      • ” If I could buy a season ticket and watch each session when I wanted to on the computer it would be beyond brilliant.” ——— uhhh, you haven’t heard of Racing for Me? And torrents? same-day GP viewing incl’g pre-race, race, and post-race, in 720p!!!

        • Until you mentioned it, no, I’d never heard of racing for me. Torrents, yes, but personally I’ve not had great luck trying to get them to work in the past, haven’t tried them for racing tho. Shoot me an email if you have time, I’d be interested…

        • joe, this sounds great, but i’m stuck at the invite code part… is this something you as a member can provide us? thanks.

          • It looks like some members get invite codes to distribute based on how much they participate in uploading and sharing content. I did find a website but they automatically delete and requests for codes. So if Joe has some, I would be delighted to join, but otherwise it looks like the kind of thing you just need to be in the right place at the right time for. Which is a shame, since I really only keep cable tv just to watch F1.

          • I tried once before to use iplayer and was successful (not for F1), but do they put the whole race up or just bits of it? I used to have to watch just highlights of the TdF and iit was better than nothing, but not as good as getting the whole show.

          • They show half of the races full length and half highlights only. Brazil will be full length!

          • Awesome, I’ll give it a try. Can I find it on the BBC website, or is there a specific place I need to look? Thx

    • I live in a small village nearly 11miles from the nearest town and my internet connection would not allow me to enjoy viewing on the internet as its way too slow. I got a good computer but a rubbish connection and mobile signal is always poor-non existent! This would be a nightmare for me if it went 100% internet only.

      • I can’t see it going 100%-WWW – not for quite a while anyway – but things always get better – in this respect if not in others… 😉
        I presently live in a COUNTRY that is like “a small village”, and several miles outside town… but even so I managed to get my first ever broadband connection (on a standard phone line) about a year ago – with a reliable 10+ Mb/s.
        As TV falls behind, the web will improve – actually it’s probably the other way round…
        Good luck, anyway.

    • That’s OK for you people that no doubt have fibre and ultra high speed connection. Out in the countryside we are lucky to see an maximum of 4 Megabits/sec and that is not sufficient for continuous streaming TV.

  8. As a belgian I watch bbc(if they air it) as I have been doing since I was a little kid. When I watch at home… with some exceptions. In a long gone past when I went to my grandmother (who is german) I watched RTL. So now if the bbc doesn’t air it I still watch rtl if I’m at home. If I’m at my best friends house(who has satellite and is, like me a f1 fan) we watch sky. In the beginning of the season we tried sport one(dutch kinda sky sports that bought the rights) but in all my years of f1 watching on different channels(belgian,dutch,german and english) I have never heard so bad commentaries… and the one they got in belgium now are already of an all time low. So for the dutch to do even worse was very disappointing. Especially if you know that they used to be done, on free air, by a man who did it for decades of a very good level. only negative about that was they had commercial breaks every 12 minutes. And if there is one thing I hate during a races its commercials. I wonder how people would react if, as an example, man u plays against city. And aftet 15 mins there would be a 5 min commercial. And again after 30mins, 45, 60,75 and 90… people would not take that.

    • just curious, but do Belgians w/ German grandparents grow up hating them for what the Third Reich did to Antwerp and the Ardennes?

      • No. The war was a long time ago. And the germans are ashamed of their history. If you believe it or not but there are more (neo)nazi’s in other countries than there are in germany. And we think falwty towers best episode is the one about dont mention the war. And the reason why I have german grandparents is the war… cuz at the end the belgian army had to “keep an eye” on the germans in germany it self. (And I believe some americans had to do the same) and thats where my dad(being a belgian soldier) met my mother.

        • “No. The war was a long time ago.” — Cheers, mate. Thanks for sharing, bruznic! I am fascinated w/ WW2 military history but always wonder what the relations are like on a personal, very granular level b/w former enemies and co-belligerents. Like in the USA, few young(er) people have even any knowledge of Vietnam War, for example, let alone WW2, and they certainly don’t have any animosity towards Germans, for example. And while most WW2 vets are very, very old now (mid to late-80s, i assume), those who fought in Europe you almost never hear say a bad word about Germans or Italians, but the vets who fought in the Pacific, some are not hesitant to express general loathing of the Japanese (discussion of racism/propaganda for another time). And there is a similar (anecdotal) expression of unabashed hate by some Vietnam vets towards the “Yellow Race”/Asians (prolly referring to NVA or VC). As for Korean War vets, I’m not really sure as that’s kinda a “forgotten war” here in USA.

          Anyway, thanks again, bruznic – you’re a good sport. Ciao!

          • Yes that is the episode. Brilliant show! And I’m not that easy offended, especially not on the internet. And I see your point, for people who live that far away from germany it’s not that easy to understand I guess. But the hate against the yellow like you say is also here against the germans don’t get me wrong. Most people still have a, trough ww2, twisted look on that country. And that will never ever change. Best example is football. If the belgians play against the dutch(they are natural enemies) it’s a tough game and they go beyond there limits. But if a country like belgium, the netherlands or england plays against germany its war. Or if a young lad starts to dominate f1 and hes from germany most of the brits complain. If it would be a brit who’d dominate, he’d be the next senna

  9. I think there is little chance the BBC will continue to provide free F1 coverage when current contract ends.

    My opinion is based on mutterings from Politicians a few days ago, see quotes below:

    ” ….. Every year the Corporation spends £150million buying the rights to major sporting events, including Wimbledon, the FA Cup, Six Nations rugby, Formula 1, which is now shared with Sky, and Premier League highlights for Match of the Day.

    Rival broadcasters believe there should be a level playing field, with the BBC unable to give away for free events that they have to pay for.

    Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps suggested the BBC could face a cut in the licence fee or even have to compete with other broadcasters for a share of the money

    The idea has been put to Culture Secretary Maria Miller to allow them to bid for a slice of the licence fee to air sporting events deemed too important and popular to be restricted to pay-to-view premium channels.

    A source close to Mrs Miller said: ’There is a conversation to be had there as to whether the BBC should be funding things that are also covered by commercial broadcasters.

    ’There’s an array of sporting events,’ the source told the Daily Telegraph.

    ’It would impact on the licence fee. The money that was given to the BBC could theoretically be given to other broadcasters who were doing something that we would consider of public service.

    ’The BBC covers a whole range of events which private commercial broadcasters pay to cover.

    ’The licence fee is not a given right any more. There is an acknowledgement that the change in commercial broadcasters means this is something that needs to be looked at.

    ’If the BBC doesn’t put its house in order we will bring forward talks on the royal charter and start to thrash it out earlier.’

    The changes could be forced through as part of the renewal of the BBCs royal charter, due in 2016. …. “

    • ” Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps suggested the BBC could face a cut in the licence fee …. ”

      as was pointed out on HIGNFY – Grant Shapps was, as per usual, talking out of his arse !

      The government has no power to do this – so please ignore him and the Daily Torygraph.

      And there is an argument that broadcasting sporting events IS a public service.

  10. F1 should be free to air exclusively with one network. No side deals. Keep it simple. Keep the advertising money pot centralized and easy to distribute. As for coverage in the USA (where I live), they really need to get better on-air personalities (except David Hobbs I like him).

    • Steve Matchett is great as well. Who I miss is Bob Varsha, from the old Speed Channel. It was fun to listen to the three of them talk, even if it had nothing at all to do with the race.

      • Sorry guys but I disagree and declare both Speed’s previous coverage, and NBC’s current efforts to be horrible, especially as concerns the in-studio personalities! Buxton is OK, but then again, he’s the ONLY ONE AT THE GP! gah! Hobbs is tolerable, but only in a grandfatherly way, Bob Varsha was annoying to no end, but ultimately, not even Matchett has any real credibility as he’s old, overweight, has been out of the sport forever and doesn’t even go to the GPs! You may feel otherwise, but even though I have the USA f1 coverage on my TV in hi-def, I still go through the hassle of watching the SKY coverage live online via a pirate stream in no-def, or wait til Sunday night to watch torrented 720p SKY or BBC coverage obtained via RFM.

        This is just my personal opinion and I realize others are fine w/ the NBC coverage, but I find the BBC or SKY (depending on my mood) to be so much more interesting and “authentic” that I subject myself to the pain of obtaining the capped files to watch on my dual-monitor desktop system (which actually is pretty awesome b/c I can watch the race feed w/ any other stream like pit lane or onboard or timing…etc.

        Cheers.

        • and Matchett drives me crazy with his damn telestrator. he just cant contain himself from using it to draw a maddening amount of yellow lines all over my screen whenever he opens his mouth. He thinks that the average viewer is a complete idiot and is constantly explaining the sport as if total F1 newbies are the main audience tuning in at 8am.

        • The Speed coverage was better than the NBC coverage, and none of it comes close to SKY (which I also watch for commercial breaks and support races). That said, it was fun when I started watching F1 again, to listen to the three of them talk, even if it had nothing whatsoever to do with the race, which was frequently the case.

    • The problem with that argument is that why should F1 be an exception.

      Shouldn’t ALL sports be free to air exclusively with one network ?

      • You’re right. I mean that free to air is the way to go. Doesn’t matter if the burden is shared by various networks as long as its included in your basic cable TV package.

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