The loss of the BBC… and the TV world in general

The potential loss of BBC coverage of Formula 1 is a massive blow for the sport. The BBC may not be the richest TV channel in the UK, but it is the largest by a considerable margin, although multichannel fragmentation is having an effect on all the numbers. It is a complex market with two chartered public broadcasting companies (BBC and Channel 4), two franchised commercial TV companies (ITV and Channel 5), with a total of five free-to-air channels, three of which are funded by commercial advertising. In addition there are a large number of digital channels, including six from the BBC, five from ITV and three from Channel 4. Others are provided by Virgin Media, British Sky Broadcasting and free-to-air digital terrestrial television by Freeview.

The key point when it comes to F1 is who can afford it and in this respect the viewing figures are not representative of the buying power of the various channels. The BBC has around 30 percent of the audience, including BBC1’s 20 percent, BBC2’s seven percent and the various other offshoots that add to the total. ITV has around 16 percent of the audience, BSkyB’s 7.3 percent, Channel 4’s 6.8 percent and Channel 5’s 4.3 percent. The reality is that beyond BBC and ITV the other channels are really marginal players. One can argue that BSkyB has a little more reach than the numbers suggest if one includes other channels that are included with a Sky subscription but the fact remains that a global sport such as Formula 1 wants to be on the biggest and best channel – and that is the BBC.

ITV is short of cash. It is an advertising-funded company and the advertising world has been suffering in recent years because of the recession. It cannot afford the kind of numbers that have been mentioned in relation to the BBC deal. It does not take a rocket scientist to conclude that Channel 4 might be a potential bidder for the F1 rights, but it too has financial ills and just a few years ago had to go to the government for help. So it too is short of cash. There might be some potential if there was a long-term commercial partnership with the sport, but F1 does not do deals like that.

The one organisation that is not short of money is BSkyB, which may not have high numbers but has subscribers, but the Formula 1 world does not want to go to pay-per-view as this will damage the current funding structure of the teams, which rely on sponsorship, which in turn relies on the viewing figures. The best solution, therefore, would be to offer the BBC a better deal. This would impact in the Formula One group and on the teams, but would help to maintain the kind of viewing figures that bring in sponsors. The alternative economic model is to move the sport to pay-TV and share the revenues differently, providing teams with the money they need to survive and stopping a large percentage of the revenues leaving the sport, as is currently the case.

The problem for F1 in the longer term is that most big broadcasters are suffering from the fragmentation of the industry and the beginnings of alternatives that do away with the need for national broadcasters. More and more of the big channels are likely to baulk at the money being asked for F1. There is likely to come a point at which the money available from global broadcasters (either satellite or the next generation of Internet TV companies) will match that which can be raised in the traditional way. From a team perspective, the future is probably to argue for a bigger share of the traditional terrestrial TV revenues in the hope that in the longer term everyone is a pay-TV user and so the question of visibility disappears.

55 thoughts on “The loss of the BBC… and the TV world in general

  1. As you say Joe

    ‘The best solution, therefore, would be to offer the BBC a better deal. This would impact in the Formula One group and on the teams, but would help to maintain the kind of viewing figures that bring in sponsors.’

    Nuff said really – pay per view or subscription Sky/Virgin in my view would be an absolute disaster both personally for me and I suspect the sport – the UK audience would shrink considerably

  2. How close are we to the internet being a competitor to the mainstream broadcasters ? I would envisage one of the main ISP’s bidding/Sponsoring (BT?) and streaming to HD TV/Monitor output, perhaps with adverts around the outside of a letterbox screen – not as bad as interuptions but not my cup of tea.
    The BBC team do an excellent job as an adjunct to having the main broadcasting rights but could it be deemed to be a competitor or just for the die hard fans with multiple screens being used (Action, Live Timing, telemetry etc)

    Paul

  3. Joe, can you clarify “The majority, however, are provided by Virgin Media” – it seems to suggest something that is not the case at all, as far as I’m aware.

  4. I’ll readily admit that if F1 becomes pay per view I would be watching one of the many free and not exactly legal livestreams of the races and download recorded races that can be found fairly easily on the internet. Moving F1 to pay per view is likely to push many others like me down that road.

  5. Didn’t know where to post it, so I decided to do it here: Joe, do you have any news about Ricciardo replacing Narain K. for the British GP? Scam or truth?

  6. Hey Joe,
    With regards to “Internet TV”, do you see a stage in the near future where FOM go down the route of starting “F1 TV” in the same way GT1 is doing now (via their website).

    Of courseF1 and GT1 are separated by a massive gulf in terms of business delivery, but in terms of product accessibility, they seem to have their heads screwed on (for now).

    Of course, I may writing nonsense…

    1. Leigh,

      F1 already does its own TV production. The difference is that it has customers and GT1 does not.

  7. Good piece Joe. The BBC is actually quite a contradictory organisation in that it receives guaranteed licence fee income whilst at the same time having a strong commercial arm that sells programmes, DVD’s, books and magazines based on BBC TV content, so almost a cake and eat it scenario, which has long wrankled other broadcasters and publishers.

    The BBC is already a quasi promoter of sponsorship and carries so many heavily sponsored sports events in it’s schedule, that surely the next step for the BBC is to ‘sell’ sponsorship of the F1 coverage – this could be done in many ways and types of partnerships/contra agreements.

    For events like the Chelsea Flower Show it already appears to be contracutally obliged to have the presenters mention the RHS (not BBC) show sponsors, this is also happening with some award shows that are sponsored.

    I am sure the watching public will not be heavily offended by this and if it provides programming an a subsidised cost to the licence fee payer, everyone’s a winner – surely?

  8. As much as I like Formula 1, hardly missing a race in 25 years, I wouldn’t pay to watch it, just the same as I won’t pay the ridiculous entry prices (£166 general entry to Spa).

    Maybe one of the biggest broadcasters walking away might provide the reality check that F1 needs – somehow I doubt it though. It should be the teams paying the Beeb to get on there not the other way around

  9. @ MarkW

    As far as I’m aware, BBC Enterprises is a separate organisation that derives its funds from commercial releases.
    BBC Enterprises essentially has to license produce from the BBC to sell.

  10. As someone who lives in a non-English speaking country, with limited F1 access, I would suggest the way of the future is to make sure there is a significant online presence.

    Either streaming (which I dislike) or delayed downloads make the sport accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Ads can be included, and commentary can be in any language you like.

    A move to Sky would be commercial suicide, as young people are migrating to the online world to provide their entertainment, where everything is available for the price of an internet connection, they are simply not interested in paying more to get it sent to their tv set….

  11. The once mighty WRC has moved from a prime channel in the UK onto Dave and then onto somewhere via cable – ESPN I think. Coverage and exposure of the WRC in the UK has basically disappeared. Maybe the WRC Team sponsors get enough coverage overseas and don’t require the UK market for their purposes. From a commercial perspective the lack of exposure to the widest UK market would likely be an important factor to an F1 Team sponsor. The BBC provide this.

    The bbc coverage has been second to none – I hope they get a suitable deal that lets them continue to provide a superb service.

  12. Channel 4 are looking for something to replace their £72 million a year Big Brother show with.

    Their Rally coverage was rather good, and they show F3 etc in the mornings, and they pioneered American Football until they turned it into a kids show, so they have some potential, even if it’s still seen as a quirky minority channel.

    1. Karen,

      Yes, but you would say that, wouldn’t you? And anyway, is F1 really as big a draw as Big Brother? I would have thought they would be better off with Paris Hilton does Dallas or some other tosh.

  13. MarkW has had the same thought that I had which is to allow the BBC take on sponsorship of programmes whilst still keeping it ad free. The “F1 in association with X” type of deal.

    There are, from my understanding, a number of problems with this though. One is that this would require a change to the rules governing the BBC which is a change that would have to be passed through government and that won’t happen soon. It would also be very hard to make such a scheme work if the licence fee remained as it would be seriously anti-competitive to all the commercial stations but, if you removed the licence fee, programme sponsorship and no-ads would never produce enough income.

    Perhaps what is needed here is intervention from the sponsors themselves? Surely, it is in the best interests of Philip Morris, Santander, Vodafone etc. to have the biggest audience and we know what corporate pressure can do to politicians.

  14. Hi Joe.
    What is your gut feeling on this, will the BBC get a better deal? Could they maybe get the same deal but with the ability to sell their coverage overseas?

    As it seems a lot of people have found ways to pick up the BBC coverage covertly, legitimising the overseas coverage F1 could help retain it’s TV revenues, while giving the BBC a mechanism to offset it’s costs.

    Enjoying the blog.

  15. I know this isn’t a commercial consideration in terms of finance but as a viewer, the one thing that the Beeb can bring that none of the other can is uninterrupted coverage of each race; i.e. no ad breaks!

    I hope someone high up realises that the BBC are the best people for the job and without free-to-air coverage, sponsors are going to move away from pretty quickly!

    There is a deal to be done here…

  16. NB & TheVillainF1

    If F1 becomes pay-per-view, here’s my advice. Buy a dish and try to get Abu Dhabi Sport 2 channel, it’s free and F1 is broadcasted there. Listen to BBC radio commentary & there you are.

    The other solution is illegal streaming with average quality. Even if I have F1 for free in Arabic, I prefer to watch the BBC coverage but it doesn’t always work & rarely smoothly. The loss of BBC is a really big blow.

  17. Joe,

    France 2 sports director in an interview said that events such as Football world cup, champions league & the Olympics are all displayed with loss. The channels buy them anyway because they enhance channels image.

    I’ve got the feeling that F1 doesn’t belong to that club of main events. Am I wrong ?
    ..

    1. Jo Torrent,

      Formula 1 is also good for the image of a TV company, but perhaps not quite as much as the others.

  18. I must admit some confusion regarding the issue of ‘free’ (BBC) versus some form of user pay. (I hesitate to use the term ‘pay per view’, as living in Canada, that term is used specifically for single events such as MMA or boxing, and I don’t know if that is what meant in this case.) In North America, F1 is available on Speed TV (US based) with Canada also having TSN – both of which are ‘cable’ channels. If I want those channels, I pay for them as part of a cable, or satellite, service.
    My – decidedly North American – belief: a serious F1 enthusiast will pay to see F1; a casual, there-is-nothing-better-on, viewer won’t. That will hold true whether streamed via the internet, or part of a pay package.
    And, as an aside, I watch the Speed TV broadcasts of practice, and would watch their qualifying and race broadcasts except that, living in Canada, those are blacked out by TSN who uses the BBC feed. The reason why I would prefer not to get the BBC feed is that McLaren is not my favourite team, and the BBC team is decidedly partisan. (If the words Hamilton, McLaren and Button were banned, the Beeb would have 50% dead air.) The American feed, without an American driver, is not.

  19. The loss of F1 from BBC would be a major setback for motorsport fans in the UK.

    Unlike many I’m not going to suggest that a move to Sky would be an awful thing. I look at what Sky has done for premier league football and especially cricket, I think it’s hard to say the coverage is anything less than fantastic. That said you have to pay for it via a subscription (which I do as I’m a massive sports fan). I know lots and lots of F1 fans who’d not dream of paying to watch the sport though, and even more casual F1 fans who never comment on blogs and would simply never watch F1 again if it went on subscription TV.

    The BBC are looking to cut costs and perhaps the way to do that is to scale back on the frills around the races (like sending BBC people of to Watkins Glen for example?) and concentrating on race weekends. Although I think we all know the way for F1 to stay on it’s rightful home is for a renegiation of the cost of the rights, as the advertising F1 gets from the BBC is nothing short of sensational with it’s TV, Radio & Web coverage.

    I fear going back to the dark dark days of F1 on ITV with awful presenters, advert breaks in vital points of races (San Marino anyone!) and commentry that made all my F1 fan friends cringe and hide behind the sofa! (e.g. Accusations regarding FA brake testing LH for an entire race).

  20. @NB said “Maybe one of the biggest broadcasters walking away might provide the reality check that F1 needs”.

    Reality isn’t something of which the people who run F1 have much of a grasp. They live in what my dear old Grandmother would describe as ‘cloud cukoo land’, a parallel universe as far from reality as Narnia or Middle Earth!

    It would be great to think that something real would slip through their defences but I doubt it. They will continue to sit in their ivory towers feathering their own nests at the expense of us fans. I have seen nothing in 30 years of watching F1 to suggest anything else.

    (Sorry, I’m having a cliche day – I normally avoid them like the plague).

  21. *Waves @ Jo Torrent*

    @JTW if you think the BBC guys are biased you obviously didn’t hear the ITV commentator ! I counted the number of times the top 3 drivers were mentioned in one race, IIRC it was something like HAM:~180 KIMI:~30 ALO:~40. I really dislike partisan commentry, but I think the BBC team are improving in that respect. Coulthard (although perhaps Red Bull biased, or defensive about their approach) is at least a bit more realistic about McLaren, Hamilton & JB.

  22. Ask the ALMS about the consequences of eliminating live terrestrial broadcasts. The teams and partners are in revolt behind the scenes (source: a friend in the competition division of one major manufacturer).

  23. @jwylie,

    WRC’s disappearance from UK audiences (now pulling sub-10000 on ESPN, topping out at 15,000 for highlights on Eurosport – according to BARB), isn’t helped by the absence of manufacturers.

    Citroen doesn’t seem to care much: it’s happy to be a big fish in a rockpool. Ford is concerned about the UK and keeps rattling the promoter’s cage about its long-promised online revolution. Frankly it’s hard to find anyone with faith in that ever happening.

    MINI and VW must have other criteria to justify joining the fun! After all, James May test drove the new car for three minutes on this week’s Top Gear – netting more viewers than they’ll get for approximately 500 rallies on ESPN in one fell swoop!

  24. Id love to see lil missy paris Hilton do dallas in a ferrari….or under one, either way it’d be a good watch

  25. One thing that no-one that hasn’t really been discussed is the timing of the broadcast and its impact on the costs/revenues involved. There used to be live coverage on Euro/Sky/Whatever (probably still happens – not a PTV subscriber as you can probably tell) on the saturday or sunday but then the same coverage was broadcast on say, channel 4 or 5 at about 3 in the morning on a wednesday or available online. Presumably there is nothing to stop one broadcaster e.g. Sky negotiating to sell coverage e.g. an highlights programme to another lesser broadcast provided it goes out an agreed time after the live event? I think the majority of TV programmes these days are actually made by external production companies rather than the Beeb, etc. Does that open up a whole host of other distribution possibilities?

    I guess we would all like to continue to see F1 being shown at the time it is actually happening, but in recent months I have had to travel a lot and several times missed the F1 or MotoGP coverage which I then watched up on BBC iPlayer on the monday or tuesday – not ideal but it still allowed me to enjoy the coverage. The hard part is getting through to the evening without hearing the result on the various news broadcasts – especially difficult in airports where one is assaulted on all sides by large, loud omnipresent TV screens!

    As a result of this delay in my ‘viewing’ I have been struck by how much difference in activites there is between my actual watching of the race and the pre and my own idividual post race analysis I do, like viewing the various websites for post-race written analysis, watching unbroadcast interview clips, etc. (always checking this site first of course!). The degree to which the different methods of content provision strongly affects my overall viewing and interest was not something I’d really thought about or apreciated before.

    I bet many posting here are old enought to remember early F1 BBC coverage which started about five minutes before the race and finished almost as soon as the winner crossed the line – no pre reace build up hour, no post race analysis, no grid walks or pundits with questionable fashion sense exchanging their views (some of which are really on a ‘bloke in pub’ level of expertise), just here’s the start, here’s the race, here’s the end, now onto the next programme! In some ways I’m not sure that wasn’t preffereable.

    Sorry for rambling on – you’ll be thinking I’m really ‘John (other John)’ if I don’t stop now ;-D

  26. JTW They do mention McLaren, Hamilton and Button a lot but its hardly always positive. It seems to be Red Bull & Di Resta they can’t praise enough at the moment. Even if they weren’t largely impartial though, after seeing the Speed TV special on the F1/Nascar swap I couldn’t put up with that commentary for a whole race. Martin Brundle all is forgiven.

    Each to his own I guess.

  27. Re F1 being as being big a draw as Big Brother.

    As soon as they’ve got a few lesbigays, a transexual, a racist, someone with tourettes and a few people thicker than 2 short planks driving the cars I’m sure the viewing figures would go sky high.

    Then once the season has finished we could have Celebrity F1 or is that too many Jordans for one sport?

  28. This was discussed at the FOTA fans forum today.

    Virgin’s Graham Loudon stated that for the small teams only 5%-ish of the budget comes from the TV and prize money so they are dependent of mainstream free-to-air coverage to entice the sponsors for the other 95%. Moving to pay-per-view, or even a FTA channel with less reach, would seriously affect their ability to raise the cash to race.

    Bob Fernley of Force India was ambivalent about FTA or PPV until a show of hands of those unwilling to pay the PPV charges. As Martin Whitmarsh then commented “and that’s about a 1/3 of the committed fans here”. Implying what percent of casual fans (the ones the sponsors want to reach) would bother with PPV?.

    Ignoring the adverts-or-not issue in the UK C4’s, and Sky’s, potential audience is much smaller than the BBCs and the causal viewer attracted by this season would disappear.

    The team’s problem is that this decision is out of their hands and Bernie’s goals are not theirs.

  29. Agree about getting more creative with the Internet to keep the same revenues coming in, any reason why they couldn’t make a start by producing one of those kangaroo tv devices that would get the pictures from a home broadband connection? Would have one interested customer here…?

  30. Surely the WRC’s tv deal experiences are worth noting? It went from Channel 4 (mainstream terrestrial) to Dave (freeview) to ESPN (pay), where viewer numbers are now reported to be less than 10,000 in the UK.

    The alternative is that it goes to Sky and everyone watches via unofficial online streaming sites (very grey area)

  31. Channel 4 is in more serious financial difficulty than it lets on. Big Brother was not even financially viable any more as Endemol got a bigger and bigger share of profits and the celeb culture around the show wasn’t exactly paying dues to Channel 4 for the hype generated. Forget C4. It can’t even pay the production companies working for it and will be back begging for more licence fee support shortly.

    I think the long term interest is give the BBC a cut price deal to broadcast and continue the mass exposure of sponsors and then someone knock Bernie about the head until FOM actually produces a top-notch multi-media array of extras which can be accessed via the net, races purchased, teams totally interactive and integrated. As such a technical sport, F1 is actually better set up for this multi-pronged approach than even traditional big hitters like football, it just has no proper control and collaboration in the interest of promoting the sport.

    I know BBC sport are fighting like crazy to keep F1 but they won’t be able to publically justify retaining it unless the price comes crashing down or the viewing figures go up 50%. Since the timing and advertising of F1 is so poor for regular fans, the viewing figures won’t go up that much (though a Hamilton or Button championship would help a lot) so it’s all about how much of a deal they can get with the price cut.

  32. As an expat there’s not too much I miss about about England (I’d go back if there was) but the BBC is one of those few things* I do actually miss. It is a real asset for the country – people piss and moan about it – but my goodness you should try having nothing but commercial TV. If F1 gets shunted off onto pay channels the audience will drop, the sponsors/manufacturers will want to spend less, it’ll be a death spiral. Stupid people.

    My TiVo stopped recording the Canadian GP as it over ran so long. I watched a “illegal” copy of the BBC2 broadcast streamed through the TiVo and it was great. Not too many people would have qualms about not giving Mr E even more money, and it’s not exactly difficult to get the races off the net.

    (*pubs, bacon, sausages, chippies, low humidity being some of the others)

  33. If someone can’t afford to watch F1 on Sky then they are not going to buy a Ferrari or a Mercedes. F1 promotes high end brands. (I understand of course that some well off people just do not want Sky).

    Why do people expect to be able to watch F1 for free. Currently it is paid for by people who have no interest in it through the licence fee. This is unfair.

    I love F1, and I love it on BBC. But it is clear that the cost is too high, and F1 is popular, but not that popular.

    It is very sad that F1 will not be free to air, but the business model is changing, not just of F1 but virtually all enterprises.

    I fully agree with Joe’s pragmatic view on this.

    Being realistic, the best option for all stakeholders is that F1 is live on Sky Sports with the race or extended highlights being transmitted on free to air channels later.

  34. @Joe

    Yes I would say that Channel 4 is a quirky minority channel.

    The Big Brother finale got a peak of 4.5 million, F1 gets that (and more) for half the price.

    1. Karen,

      I don’t think I did say that Channel 4 was a quirky minority channel… I think someone else may have done but in your rush to defend all things FOM you may have credited me with the words of others.

  35. Not sure if I’ve misunderstood your point about digital channels being provided by Virgin Media, it reads as if you mean they are a content provider. While they used to be, they sold their production side to Sky about 6 months back as part of a deal to gain access to various other Sky channels there had been a dispute over. They are now solely a distribution point, they originate nothing.

    While I’ve never seen F1 outside the UK, it would appear to me that they BBC do a good job with the coverage. They have the resources to do things other broadcasters would struggle with and it certainly is a great improvement over the ITV coverage which was in itself a step up (adverts aside) from the old BBC shows. Might there not be possibilities for the BBC to ‘resell’ or somehow work with F1 to provide content and subsidise the deal that way?

  36. I would say, personally, that the idea of a national broadcaster is to make sound the culture we live in, especially when all the rest is going funny. But how do you make two reluctant lovers kiss? Not bloody easily, if they think it must mean till etc do they part. BBC wants a ring and a pre nup! But i think they are somewhat burgeoning with the outcome, which i haven’t heard anyone moan about, not this year. I’ll let someone else carry on this analogy! But if BBC want to make money, grab the best of the non english nationals, put them in the mix (they can all speak perfect english anyhow, so overlap will work in slots) and sell the relay to other nations. I will never speak native French, for example, so i cannot say how good anyone there really is, but i’d sure like variety, oh, and experience. Ageism, anyone? (oops) or silly side of the broadcast unions . .

    Why do people act as if they are backs up against the wall? I do not understand that. I never got a deal from projecting nihilism. RAF boys have a insult for the French, but we’re asking for that right back. Well, if anyone is out there from the relevant parties, have a crack at it! – john

  37. Gareth,

    i am having a good day, so don’t pick out anything negative connoted from this, but the axis of the flick Falling Down was complete inability to interact, by my view. I’m not going lovey dovey on you, just suggesting that one can make life easier, even when the wavelength of the air can change street to street nearby me. I felt what i thought i had grown up with as england, massively exaggerated because my parents had me late enough they could have put a generation in between, and i realised i conned myself. I was lucky, or unfortunate, to see as a littl eboy much of London almost unchanged from that earlier generation. I’s have scarpered long ago, had i a personal reason to do so, i even once looked for excuses, not of the tax variety. But the fact is, i’m not on a utterly private level entirely unhappy i stuck about to have a good look at what it was i was supposed to lament, and i think it is possible to adjust for inflation of social change. Ask a post partition Punjabi man, i met in a cafe when i was still a teen, who had to pick his bacside out of that mess, landed under Amin, and had to do it twice, his patents having rather given up. The only thing my dear friend will lament, is just what would get i think any brit soppy. The only thing which gets me down, is having grown to the age of our elected principals, and realising they were not exactly top of the class, at anything. For what it matters, as a normal family, you could hardly find lower taxation within a sensible drive away. Just wanted to suggest, i’ve been on that brink enough, to step back, and so offer how i thought about it. Not saying i will not, but it is a trade, and i really want then to know what i am trading. Painful as the whole idea is, even if just for vistas new, or love, or for better air and greenery, everyone seems so polarised, and that was what kept me instead just taking trains whenever i could, which i thought best of both for me.

    Forgive me, i gotta split now, or i’d find a nicer sign off. Just thought to write what went through my mind most my adult life. yours – j

  38. Joe Cowan : I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to buy a Ferrari. Is it OK by you if I stay interested in F1 ? Shish.

    If Joe S can do the sums, so can the Beeb, Maybe they’re just trying to put the price down. Let’s hope so, anyway.

  39. Channel Ten in Australia are progressively showing more ads as each race goes on. On the last race they were showing three ads every 7.3 laps and of course missing out on some action, as this year isn’t as boring as last

    They cut the interviews short for paid advertising (home shopping crap) and don’t show Qualifying live

    I understand the advertising dollar is needed more than ever, but I resent when it takes precedence over the sport. OneHD was created by Channel Ten as its Full Time Sport Channel, but as times have become tougher, they have stopped live Formula One, are showing movies related to sports, and next year, will not be showing Australia’s most popular sport, AFL Football. This was due the media rights been lifted from $750 million to 1.235b over 3 years

    I guess it true… $ talks, bulls*** walks!

  40. It will be a great shame if the BBC do drop the F1 coverage.

    I live in Australia and much prefer using the BBC viewer to watch F1 than suffering with the poor coverage we have here on One.

    I’d be quite happy to pay for the privilege as well if BBC chose to charge for it.

  41. The argument that F1 must be on TV for the teams to attract sponsorship is valid. To argue that F1 must be on free TV is ridiculous. The days of shotgun marketing are long gone. Marketers spend thousands if not millions researching methods to reach their target audience. F1 is not free to air in the US and F1 fans pay at least $50.00 per month via their cable subscription to watch, roughly $25.00 per race. As a marketer if the F1 demographic fits your target audience you are far more interested in reaching fans who invest their money and their time in the sport as opposed those who tune in on a rainy day.

  42. I’m an older guy and I can tell you that “Pay TV” is probably not going to fly with me. I’m already paying $100 a month for my TV connection as it is and I’m not going to be eager to pay more on top of that. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s the way I see it.

  43. I wouldn’t mind too much if the Beeb drop their excellent F1 coverage if it was streamed somehow. This would allow me to get rid of the TV completely, save £100 on the license fee, and track down that elusive copy of ‘Paris does Dallas’.

  44. @Joe

    No I said it, I was agreeing with you when you said I said it.

    I don’t agree with all things FOM, I intensely dislike the new schedule 10 agreement, and this ‘noise’ is important idea … Especially when you see that both Monza and Spa are under intensive pressure to cut noise (pollution).

    There’s a whole raft of things, that go all the way to 4:3 graphics, the bane of my life 😦

  45. Here in the states we have had F1 on subscription TV for the last twenty years or so. I will say the coverage is better than it would be if it was on terrestial tv.

    The only time I enjoyed it was in the late 70’s and 1980 when CBS/ABC had commentator who knew what they were talking about..

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