This evening I’ve managed to get a much clearer picture of how the new SKY/BBC TV deal in the UK is going to work and it’s not what many people think.
First the subject of what the BBC will show on the 10 weekends when SKY has the exclusive live rights. Although FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh says he has had assurances from Bernie Ecclestone today that the race will be shown in its entirety a few hours delayed on free to air, BBC sources say that this is not the case and that the show will be around 75 minutes, meaning extended highlights with brief introduction and post race analysis.
So either Whitmarsh is taking a leaf from Ecclestone’s book and spreading confusion, or he’s taking a negotiating stance, suggesting that the scenario he paints is what would be acceptable to the teams under the Concorde Agreement, which safeguards their interests against F1 going live on Free to Air TV exclusively.
There is more to come on this subject.
The BBC will show these extended highlights in a 5pm or 6pm slot on Sunday night, which is prime time TV, hence the assumption by Ecclestone that the casual viewer will be caught up and in this way the audience may grow.
The extent of the collaboration between BBC and Sky on the production of the coverage is also becoming clearer. The commentary will be shared between both programmes, but the presentation teams will be different. The BBC is likely to have limited presentation as they will want to get quickly into the race highlights action at the start of the show and then there will be some analysis afterwards.
However the on site facilities will be shared, so rather than having two trucks, they will share edit equipment and production facilities. This will mean a major saving for both sides.
This is what BBC F1 boss Ben Gallop means by “shared economy.”