The deal that changes F1 forever
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Feb 2012   |  1:07 pm GMT  |  211 comments

“It’s the most significant moment for F1 since the advent of satellites,” says Eddie Baker, the man responsible for broadcasting F1 TV and data around the world.

Today in London, F1′s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone unveiled a deal which will transform the way live F1 races are broadcast and all forms of digital content are consumed.

It’s the key which opens up a door onto a new era for F1. Satellite TV revolutionised the sport in the late 1970s, by making it possible for millions of fans to watch races live around the world. This was Ecclestone’s first revolution, providing the platform which made F1 a global sport, raising billions in revenues.

This long-term deal with Tata Communications, providing fixed line connectivity, opens the door for endless possibilities, way beyond what satellites can do, including broadcasting F1 on the internet, for interactivity between audience and the broadcaster at the circuit.

Tata has the largest network of undersea cables in the world and using MPLS technology it’s very fast and cost effective compared to previous offerings.

The deal begins with Tata setting up fixed line connectivity at all the 20 Grands Prix for FOM to send its data, such as track maps. The capacity that FOM will start out with is ten times what is currently available. But they have proved out the model to 100x what’s currently available, so within a few years it will be the means by which the world feed TV pictures are broadcast, as there are no delays unlike satellite.

“Formula 1 wants to transform the way it broadcasts the races and we can and will be a big part of it,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Tata Communications.

It will also handle video playouts by all the broadcasters on site, all the communications by the media. It brings a standardisation to the means of delivery of content from F1 races. Basically it connects F1 to the world in a completely new way.

It increases the amount of connectivity time, as it’s always on, unlike a satellite which is on for a matter of hours and it’s bi-directional, which means it allows the audience to interact with the sport, rather than sit back and consume. It means the sport can have individual relationships with fans, can supply content on a global and even individual basis, looking well down the line.

It will also greatly reduce the tonnage of equipment that FOM TV sends around the world as images can be sent back instantly and processed at the FOM broadcast centre in the UK.

I put it to Baker that Ecclestone is renowned for being suspicious of the internet and has been accused of missing opportunities as a result. According to Baker this deal opens the door to endless possibilities,

“It gives him the ability to be able to do whatever rights deals he feels are right without limitations,” said Baker. “That means he can assess every opportunity, he can react to every opportunity, he can move with the times in perhaps a way that we were not able to do in the past.”

Ecclestone himself at the launch quipped that he’d not done a deal like this previously because, “I’m getting old! “. But there’s no doubt that this is a complete game changer for the sport and the way fans receive it. Many will fear that it spells the end of F1 on free to air TV. But their businesses are under threat anyway. As traditional broadcasters like ITV and BBC in the UK and TF1 in France struggle with the changing media model and the ability to afford massive rights deals, F1 will have to look in future to new models. Clearly pay TV deals like SKY TV are one way of doing it, but they speak to small audiences. To maintain its mass appeal live paid streaming on the Internet is another option, as it sponsor funded mass market streaming in specific countries. F1, like any business, needs to find revenue and audience growth and this tool enables them to explore all the options.

Whether he’s the man still doing the deals five years from now when this technology hits its stride remains to be seen. But it’s a deal F1 needed to do and it’s now well set for the future.

Of course this makes F1 more valuable as a business and more attractive to potential bidders, should Ecclestone and CVC wish to sell the commercial rights at some point soon.

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211 Comments
  1. Brace says:

    I’ve no clue what this actually brings. It’s just a lot of tech-talk and I for one don’t have a clue what this in reality means for me. :)
    I’m not saying anything negative, I’m just saying that from the article above, I’ve no clue how can I enjoy F1 differently thanks to this, except perhaps, better picture quality or faster response or something like that.

    1. PBW says:

      Simply put it means that broadcasting races will be cheaper for tv companies and it will probably mean races are broadcast over the Internet.

      1. James Allen says:

        That’s part of it, but the possibilities are much wider than that

      2. db4tim says:

        James, what at the viewer level will actually change. Will we see live streaming video of all FOM feeds…I think the problems is we all want to know when sitting in front of the TV what are we going to be treated to???

      3. Adam says:

        So James what do you predict is coming?

      4. James Allen says:

        I’m still absorbing it, to be honest. Anything is possible and they won’t do anything quickly as a) existing TV rights deals are in place and b) the model with satellites etc works well at the moment. As much as anything this makes F1 as a business more future proofed, which helps if you are looking to sell the business

      5. jeremy Smith says:

        What are they James?

      6. Pete says:

        @james

        off-topic, but you could still shed some light on the question of “engine-mapping”, please

        there are all sorts of rumours that Whiting is going to ban the Mercedes and Renault computer programs , leaving Ferrari as main beneficiary and possibly forcing the other teams to adjust their cars accordingly

        any truth in those rumours and who is most worried about the Whiting verdict ?

        thanks

      7. paul casey says:

        Well done to the highwaymen of sky tv, yet another sport taken away for the the excessive greed of sky, I am a huge fan of F1 and I am dreading the first race on sky as I will miss out as many others will, this is because of the very high prices you have to pay to install and subscribe to sky tv. Im absolutely appalled at this. Many a sport has been lost to the moneymen, whats next, the olympics, F A cup, six nations. One day these WILL go and you will not be able to watch them unless you fork out a large part of your wage packet. As a sporting nation we are very deprived.

      8. Kevin Green says:

        The vision i get from this in the future is you will have the mainstream running of the race on your tv (or main tv) and another 1-6 tv/computer screens on other chosen points at the circuit ie maybe 1 commentators one on the pit lane entrance 1 in the pit of favourite team etc etc etc. The possibilities now are going to be endless for most probably governed by how many tv’s computers they can afford!

    2. Dave says:

      Agreed Brace, what does this tech deal mean in practical terms for us average F1 fans?

      1. Sebee says:

        Probably means that we’ll eventually be able to pay $2.99 to watch a race live, or pay FOM $99.99 to have access to all streaming content of races for the whole season. I hope that’s what happens. I hope they also give the option to turn off the commentary and just listed to the track. No offence James, but you know it’s a pleasant experience.

      2. James Allen says:

        Rubbish – F1 needs commentary!!!

      3. Mike says:

        +1 to James, F1 is not the same without commentary.

        I lived in Germany from 2007 and trust me, coming back to the UK for the 2011 season and having the BBC commentary team really added to the experience.

      4. Dave Aston says:

        Imagine if there was no commentary in Murray Walker’s day; we’d have had to sit at home and set fire to our own pants… with respect to Clive James.

      5. Wollie says:

        F1 definitely needs commentary. There are however huge differences in the commentators. For example here in Costa Rica I’m stuck with FOX which is the worst _ever_. I would be more than happy to pay for good commentary!

      6. Sebeee says:

        Sure you would say that James.

        Dave, imagine no one will say a damn word while you sit onboard with Lewis and pump the audio to your surround.

        If you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it. When TSN would loose ITV feed on Saturdays from a race here or there – those were some of the most enjoyable quali sessions I’ve watched.

        Plus, it’s not like it means no commentary. Simply seperate the two audio feeds and let people who pay for the stream turn the audio layer on or off. Costs nothing and it’s easy. I for one hope they do it.

      7. Norman C says:

        If you watch ANY F1 footage from Brazil (South America), you will see the true value of commentry. I have no idea what they are saying but whatever it is I can tell is VERY EXCITING.

      8. Rominger says:

        Good that you don’t understand the brazilian commentators, because they suck big time. Galvao Bueno (the main commentator) is getting old and talks lots of rubbish, Reginaldo Leme is stuck in the 80′s. Only Luciano Burti, former F1 racer, adds something, but often is the “good guy” and rarely takes a position. The reporters are even worse: Mariana Becker never says something useful and the others only speak with brazilian drivers. Plus: no pre or post coverage. And the list goes on and on…

        I now prefer to download the Sat quali and Sun race from BBC and watch hours later, or even try to find a BBC link. Less exciting, but smart commentary.

    3. Goldfinger says:

      Ditto!!

    4. Trey says:

      [mod]
      I’m pretty sure there is not a lot that earth shattering here. Very fast data speeds are already in place at each track (pit side data, media centre, VIP hospitality, etc). Some tracks take place in cities with already have mobile LTE spectrum (up to 100MBs) so you could easily live broadcast 1080p with your smartphone (plugged into a power source).

      So much of the potential alluded to is very possible today. This is more of a Bernie tooting his own trumpet the the’s done a big deal. Fair play to him, but the current internet / mobile App offering are still very shoddy when they’re no reason for them to be. Fingers crossed these guys actually walk the walk.

      1. Athlander says:

        Sorry I can’t quote the source, but I read that when it comes to data transmission within the Formula 1 environment, the systems are quite antiquated. I think it was in an answer to why a hi-tech sport like Formula 1 was limited in the real-time data it offered the viewer and why all cars didn’t have the same set of onboard cameras.

      2. Dan says:

        There is a massive difference between a shared, consumer level internet service with a ‘theoretical’ max of 100Mbps and a dedicated 100Mbps service from 20 different locations, all the way back to the UK.

        For a start, contention ratios on consumer level internet service (at least where I live) are around 30:1 – that means that for every 30 customers on a 10Mbps link (for example), there is 10Mbps of back-haul bandwidth allocated.

        You will find a 100Mbps just in your local data center is very expensive, let alone 100Mbps across the planet.

        Also with regards to LTE, I am yet to see any device achieve 100Mbps in real world conditions, let alone at a crowded race track (being a shared medium of course).

    5. Robert s says:

      Yes i agree. I can’t see what will change. F1 is already available on free to air tv, pay tv, the internet (via bbc iplayer ect), I’m sure SKY will provide the red button as bbc did to view multiple camera angles and feeds on different drivers. I just don’t see how this deal will affect the normal tv viewer.

    6. Vik says:

      Yes, I agree. It is a lot of tech-talk. But simply put, its the equivalent of moving from a very slow dial-up connection to the internet (remember them?) to an extremely rapid broadband connection.

      What does that mean for you? It means much more of everything, precisely the way you want it.

      For example, you’ll be able to switch without delay to different team feeds, with exclusive team content. Imagine dedicated McLaren commentary, perhaps guest commentators – Nikki Lauda and Mika Hakkinen? How about a Red Nose option? Merchant and Gervais, or Ross and Brand?

      What about exclusive video feeds from inside the garage, unedited team radio, real-time interaction with the team, while the race is happening? Your very own Ted Kravitz, if you will.

      How about controlling the cams on the car, being the director – how about being able to record a sequence, and upload it to YouTube to share with your friends?

      Throw in gesture control (that is, moving your hands to change and select stuff on your television screen) and you’ve got yourself an exciting, fully interactive racing experience in real time that’s defined by you.

      And if you don’t want that, then there’s always Jake on the Beeb to take you through it.

      Huxley once wrote, ‘Speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.’ For F1 fans, with a love of control, the desire to mould and shape environments the way we like, how right he was.

      1. Dave Aston says:

        Huxley? So…what type of speed?

      2. Jonathan Taylor says:

        not that falling off a cliff and reaching F1 speed wasn’t a paleolithic possibility, but I think he meant the kind that alters your perception of the immediate environment.

      3. Dgmga says:

        Excellent explanation Vik, I think you are spot on with the possibilities. My hope is that they don’t do to much so I will be enjoying the world best drivers instead of browsing through different ways I can watch the race. The gesture swipe might be interesting though!

    7. dansus says:

      Sky say they will offer 10 feeds, which they choose. Now imagine having every trackside feed and data feed available. Lets say your favourite driver is Button, rather than watching Jake waffle on, you can follow his every move as he gets ready to race and stay onboard for the whole race if you wished.

      1. Sonnie says:

        Today you can get a Fanvision (formerly Kangaroo TV) – and I hate to tell you, but the live feed isn’t continuous. Not just because the equipment can’t handle it, but why would McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull et al want fans and anyone else to ‘lip-read’ privileged communication and information.
        But I do like the idea of the possibility of following the mid-field action that the producer/director isn’t interested in transmitting.

    8. radohc says:

      endless possibilities

      you could get option to control which camera you get signal from, e.g. pick camera from specific car and follow that one and not care what the director is putting on main screen if it’s boring.

      f1 teams are producing tons of data at anytime during race, lots of that could be shared

  2. Soroush says:

    Please, please, please let this lead to a MotoGP-style online subscription stream!!

    1. Dave says:

      Yes indeed. I’m not sure I fully understand what this deal means to us right now, but hopefully one thing it’ll lead to is the possibility of (legally) streaming races over the internet. This will remove our dependence on subscribing to an entire package of channels we don’t want purely to get the F1 coverage we do want – as well as allowing us to pick and choose our TV supplier based on more than whether they have the F1 rights!

      The current situation is far from ideal for the UK audience at the moment – BBC only has 50%, Sky requires a dish which for some is impossible (flats, etc) and Virgin is incredibly expensive with awful customer service (don’t get me started!). BT Vision have Sky channels but have not managed to strike a deal for the F1, and I can’t imagine Sky are going to release their coverage on other ‘top-up tv’ style providers as they know that at the moment they have the UK market where they want it.

      If this deal with Tata unravels that mess a little and gives us (worldwide!) an alternative, it can only be a good thing.

      1. Trey says:

        I don’t think this paves the way for an online only subscription. Not due to technicalities (you could have one today with the current infrastructure), but because it greatly devalues the broadcast package ROM / Bernie sell to Sky and other broadcasters.

        Sky (and Co) wan the internet rights too. It helps them push their own services like the Sky Anywhere App or for BBC, the iPlayer.

        I think they announcement is more B2B, so that in the next round of broadcast negotiations the entire broadcast package (internet, TV, Radio) has a higher value with these new shiny internet developments. More money for Bernie & F1.

        On a positive not, Sky has surprised many and recently announced they are soon going to launch an IP TV option, which means no dish needed (essentially like cable tv through the internet) and that you’ll be able to choose packages accordingly. Highly likely you’ll be able to get a sports package only and get all of the F1. Which will mean you can stream the races legally via a browser or App for a small additional fee.

      2. Dave says:

        Thanks Trey – I’d not seen that announcement from Sky, so that is good news indeed!

    2. Sebee says:

      Can I second that with a please please of my own?

  3. Luca says:

    Excellent news. Kudos to both parties. Now I really look forward to the changes in content delivery this will make possible. And I must admit I envy those who will have the opportunity to make them happen.

  4. Vvipkho says:

    Great for future of Motorsport

  5. Mike says:

    This is some move and nice to see Bernie embracing this new-fangled technology; the Internet!

    Hopefully this will open up other avenues than the current SKY/F1 deal for the UK, which I for one would be very happy to see.

  6. Z says:

    So reading between the lines – bye bye free to air broadcasts and hello to paying through the nose for cable/satellite TV broadcasts and internet streaming? I realise you folks in the UK already have this unfortunate situation, but get ready rest of the world.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s one model. Another is a sponsor funding the free to air mass market coverage on the internet in a specific territory, as Budweiser did with an FA Cup football game in the UK this season.

      So Santander might do that in Spain, for example. I’m thinking out loud, because FOM aren’t saying what models they might use. It may be that they just charge for everything, but the big numbers are important to maintain

      1. Michael says:

        I just don’t see how they can maintain those big, sponsor friendly numbers without using free-to-air TV. Internet broadcasting is certainly the future, and has been for a while, but how many homes are set up for it right now? If you want video in the living room, television is the only way to do it.

        Electronics manufacturers have been busy pushing HD and 3D and haven’t been properly able to co-ordinate with content companies on so-called smart TV. Apple and now Google are providing smart TV solutions, so it’s only a matter of time but take-up of these things is slow going.

        Bernie needs to be real careful picking his business model. It would only take one or two seasons of subscription only F1 to wipe out popular interest in the sport.

  7. Gazziboy says:

    Bye bye Formula 1 on Terrestrial TV. It’s been nice knowing you.

    1. James Allen says:

      Absolutely. But the signs are that they are less and less able to afford to do it anyway, look at ITV, BBC etc in last three years. Rights in Italy are up this year and it’s a stretch for RAI, in Spain the rights were hard to sell…

      1. bassbar says:

        that’s bernie’s fault for being greedy tbh, and that’s the long and short of it.

        f1 is heading back to being a niche sport that few people can watch

      2. bob says:

        But what that means is smaller audiences. Look at what happened to boxing in the US: It went from a very large sport to something rather tiny.

        Hand us PPV formula 1 in the US, and watch the little following it has now dwindle.

      3. James Allen says:

        Do you really think that the business brains in F1 and among the teams would allow that to happen?

      4. bassbar says:

        it’s already happening in the uk with the sky deal. 8 members of my family are avid f1 watchers but only 1 has sky so the others will be left out and then will drift away

      5. Phil says:

        Boxing in the US self-destructed over inability to present suitable matches and promote athletes that could draw the attention of the viewing public. At the same time MMA [mixed martial arts] rose to record levels to displace boxing as the fighting sport preferred by America.

        It was much the same situation as NASCAR vs open wheel racing over here. While IndyCar and Champ Car series had their blood bath feud, NASCAR became the pre-eminent American auto racing series.

        Its not an issue of whether you prefer boxing over MMA or believe NASCAR is for rednecks, it’s just the facts of the matter. It’s hard to think F1 will ever challenge NASCAR for the hearts and minds of American viewers given the limited number of races that take place in the US. It will perhaps always be a niche series here in the colonies.

        Still, with Bernie’s New Deal we can get increased access and broadcast time on the internet and/or cable feeds allowing for expanded coverage and exposure. And considering we’re already paying for it now on Speed TV maybe we’ll get more to choose from.

      6. Rupert Richardson says:

        Where, oh where, is an F1 Constructors Association when you need them to balance Bernie’s megalomania?

      7. MC says:

        James Allen: “Do you really think that the business brains in F1 and among the teams would allow that to happen?”

        Perhaps not, but the reality of the situation is that this sport under BE’s tutelage is all about the money. They will look for the profit sweet-spot, which means milking the cash cow–we, the fan base–for all it’s worth. They’d be happy to lose a portion of the fan base if that means maximizing profits with another portion and coming out ahead.

        I’m not saying that it doesn’t have to be profitable.Obviously it needs to be. I’m just saying that it’s apparent to many of us that the bottom line here is profiteering greed.

      8. Andy says:

        My worry is that Bernie thinks that his reine is coming to an end and is not trying to bag all the money he can, instead of doing what is right for the sport and securing it’s long term future.

      9. Jodum5 says:

        terrestrial isn’t dead yet. Maybe for F1 in Europe (thanks to their wobbly economy), but the NFL in the US is still raising record sums from free to air networks (ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS).

      10. mad79 says:

        although not a great market for F1,in Romania the rights for F1,have gone from the public television,to a company that offers cble,satelite,internet(mobile too) and phone in 1 so we can call it a Sky look a like.Im fortunate that i am in a town which is under the umbrela of this company and its great!We have F1mPremier ships,La liga,Serie A Ligue1,Moto gp,Gp2,Gp3 and various other sports.
        I wonder how this deal effects the rest of the world not just UK?
        If it means to pay 5 pounds to watch a race online,then i cant afford it!

      11. Gazziboy says:

        Yeah. I saw you James writing about the possiblity of this outcome. I’ve been reading the site for a few years now so thanks for giving me some intelligent coversation tools and making me look intelligent to my mates.

      12. Cheryl Sigler says:

        Absolutely more money and tighter control for Bernie…but regardless, here in the US not many us have the time or resources to travel abroad to see the races live and if two people (say a couple) who have enjoy watching live (getting up early or staying up late) I don’t believe watching the race on a computer monitor will be an enjoyable experience. Obviously, if we have to pay a subscription fee we will but I, too, think it will reduce the overall audience that are currently passionate about F1 (especially with the pathetic new coverages in the states).

    2. Richard Hinton says:

      If F1 disappears from freeview screens, we managed before, pre 1978 when there was very little GP racing on TV just 3 GPs a year in UK typically. Go back to reading magazine reports in following days, not the end of the world. This year’s halved coverage by BBC may actually produce a better experience with highlights at more convenient times. The red button discussion hour is usually far more interesting than the actual racing.

  8. Mike says:

    @Brace, it will allow you so have online streaming options, giving more choice that SKY and …well, SKY.

    It also could provide much more interactivity – think multi-camera live action and replays from any circuit/car camera of your choice.

    Let your imagination run wild, and you probably wouldn’t be far off from what you could get :)

    1. Hendo says:

      That’s what they promised us ten years ago when FOM took over broadcasting (well camera duty anyway)

      1. Robert s says:

        yes, The have had multiple camera angles already. what’s going to be new??

      2. Mike says:

        Technology has come a long way in 10 years – streaming video was still stuff-of-dreams for your average joe.

        Robert, perhaps, though not ones we could choose ourselves – at least not on plain old terrestrial TV – that’s the BBC here in the UK.

  9. damonsmedley says:

    So will this mean there is now sufficient bandwidth to stream onboards from all 24 cars at all times? I find it unusual that in this era we can only have several cars recording at once. If we had all 24 going, we would be able to see many more angles of incidents and overtakes otherwise not caught on camera. It would also help the stewards (and us fans deciding whether penalties are too harsh or too lenient) immeasurably.

    1. GT_Racer says:

      “So will this mean there is now sufficient bandwidth to stream onboards from all 24 cars at all times?”

      No, This fibre optic deal is more about getting the tv images & data feeds from the track to broadcasters.
      It wont affect how the Onboard cameras & other trackside cameras are transmitted from car to tv truck.

      THe reason that FOM are limited to 9 active onboard cameras is because of the bandwidth limitations of the system.
      FOM (like practically everyone else now) use a digital ground based system that relies on reception points placed around the track (You may sometimes see the white antenna on the fencing around the track). There currently running the system pretty much to capacity, Sending more signals through it would result in a loss of image quality & see an increase in signal drop-outs (Both big problems in early A1GP races where they tried to get all onboard units active).

      1. damonsmedley says:

        Thanks for replying. I’ve seen you on F1 Fanatic talking about FOM before and I’ve been massively interested in their coverage for so long now. You seem like the kind of person I’d love to talk to!

  10. Dan Smith says:

    I’m sorry James but I don’t understand why this is such a gamechanger and how it effects the future of broadcasting rights.

    1. Jim says:

      Firstly you remove satellites, and bring in the internet. Because the internet is a bidirectional media, it means you as a fan can be part of a world wide F1 social network, communicating with millions of other fans and possibly even the drivers. We got a taste of it when fans used Twitter and email to ask questions to Jake Humphrey on the BBC Forum. This year because of sky, we are getting helmut cams. But this is just a taste of what is about to come.

      Imagine Vettel wins another race and through some competition you won the chance to send Seb a congratulations message, live, whilst he is still doing his victory lap – and of course, it would be streamed to everyone else. All you would need is a computer with a headset, mic and web cam….and u guessed it, the internet.

      Fans could vote polls, surveys, send messages to the pitfall or to Charlie himself, while the race is being run. All this content will be on demand. Helmut cams are coming in this year, that is old news. With this new data capacity, it allows for more information to be made available to fans eg drivers heart rate, pupil dilation, fluid levels etc. Sounds silly but possible.

      As James said, the possibilities are endless.

      1. Crom says:

        “Helmut cams”? – there’s a film in there somewhere… “Being Helmut Marko” (think I’d much prefer John Malkovich)

      2. Rich C says:

        I had the same thought!
        But if we mounted a camera on Helmut we’d also have to put a leash and a muzzle on him.

      3. Jim says:

        LOL! Been an RBR fan for too long. Got Dr Marko on my mind. Typing on an iPad doesn’t help either. :)

      4. Cool. X_Factor up F1 bro.

        Sounds horrible! I just want to watch F1 races. And I really don’t want to see the face of somebody I’ve never met on TV, congratulating somebody that they’ve never met.

        I just want to watch the races, like.

      5. Bakdraft says:

        Totally agree here. I do not understand this non stop I want to see every car angle every driver angle every team member coment on everything, … I just don’t get it.I do not see how anyone can enjoy a race while trying to switch camera angle, at the same time as finding where a car is on track, at the same time as seeing who is on a purple sector, at the same time as who is comming in the pits… that what I have a comentator for… I just want to site and enjoy the race… must be part of the greedy give me more society in which we are in…

      6. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        +1
        Also, my internet bill is big enough now, with out having 2 – 3 hrs of live streaming added costs. Plus, I would have to watch it on my 15 inch laptop ! I want to watch it on my perfectly good 42 inch LCD TV in my comfortable lounge room, with surround sound.
        I’m all for technology and it’s advances, but let’s not get carried away. I hope common sense will prevail, and the average punter can still watch it on his telly, without paying an arm and a leg for it.

  11. David Earp says:

    So basically this is going to allow FOM to control the entire delivery method for F1 worldwide. They will then be able to charge as much as they like for access to content. So in a few years if anyone wants to watch anything F1 related they will have to pay FOM or whoever FOM sells the rights to.

    That may be a cynical way of looking at this but I seriously doubt that all these fancy new ways of watching F1 are going to be free, or a couple of pounds per race even.

    Personally I was happy paying my TV license fee and watching every race in full on the BBC.

    1. Mike says:

      I think you’re right, the days of Free F1 are over. But, perhaps this will give us options to find something cheaper than what it costs with the current providers.

      1. David Earp says:

        That’s what I’m hoping as well. To be honest I don’t mind paying for F1 because I love it. If I could get access to the full length races in full HD with great commentary and great behind the scenes content, then I’d happily pay maybe £100 per year. However, I would only do this if F1 was available separately. I refuse to pay for Sky as a whole when I only want F1. I don’t want to fund all their other cr*p and I don’t want Rupert Murdoch to get a single penny of my money.

        Online streaming of F1 would be fine with me. I just hope internet connection speeds in the UK get better before then. I can barely watch iPlayer on my connection so I don’t see me being able to get real-time HD streaming any time soon. That’s another issue all together though.

    2. Nick F says:

      I’m a bit worried about this. What if the money men win and they work out it’s more profitable to stream the races to a small group of subscription fans rather than to a large group? I suppose that’s already happening with sky.

      1. Andy says:

        It is bigger than that really. If the hard core fans are the only ones watching it then all the team sponsors are going to start questioning the money they pay out for the 200mph bill boards. I am sure Redbull and co want billions of people to see them winning.

  12. Graham says:

    Google or Apple to bid for the TV rights anybody? They both have TV platforms that they will want exclusive content for.

    1. James Allen says:

      The door is open for anything like that in future. Paid live streams

      1. Dan says:

        Yep, still a while off, but Netflix have started breaking some boundaries on the US as to what an online broadcaster is capable of, including bringing back and producing Arrested Development (formerly on Fox).

  13. bassbar says:

    i’m with poster #1, the extras are all well and good during a boring race but how many of those have we had during the last couple of season? two or three per year in my opinion. the satellite delay is only a few seconds so can’t really see a big benefit there.

    as for instant feedback with viewers, there is already twitter, facebook, email etc.

    can’t really see the point of this deal except it will save bernie some money.

  14. Rob Newman says:

    I always had faith in Bernie … bless him … sniff ..!!

  15. andypandy says:

    Is this in place for the 2012 season? I’d resigned to not watching this year but maybe I could watch it online somehow?

  16. franed says:

    Here is Bernie acting as if he is in awe of the new digital technology!

    Yet if we think back, the major reason that Max gave as he bludgeoned through the tv rights deal for his mate Bernie, for “100 years” was so that Bernie could re-coup all the millions he had invested in digital tv technology.

    Bernie knows everything about digital data transmission and in particular about digital tv feeds. If he chose not to invest in certain parts of it before, then it will be because he was waiting for someone else to come and provide either the money or the resource. He is a magician, if he shows you his hand you should be looking at what the other one is doing behind his back.

  17. Glen says:

    Oh joy, more “Internet Only” content. Whatever happened to just switching on your tv and watching the broadcast. Now we’ll need a computer with 4 screens to get all the information. All this talk of it beig cheaper for the stations to receive the feeds. Will that be forwarded to the fans. In a word, NO. We will still have to pay for out satellite tv. We still have to pay for our Internet which by the way we won’t have enough Usage in which to watch everything.

    Unlimited data plan I hear you all shout. Well, have at look at the so called unlimited plans and you soon find out what your restrictions are. Unlimited doesn’t mean unlimited. It means “Subject to a fair usage policy”. Which means that if you go over a certain amount your speed get throttled or you end up paying for the extra.

    So this deal might be lining Bernies pockets even more but it will also end up costing the end user, the fans who can’t afford to go to go the races and who just want to watch the cars go around the track even more money than it costs us at the moment!!

    1. dansus says:

      Soon what you see on your tv will be all IP based anyway.

    2. Jimbob says:

      “Unlimited doesn’t mean unlimited”

      Actually if you get your broadband from Sky their unlimited package is actually unlimited, no fair usage policy.

      Rather ironic isn’t it!

      1. Ambient Sheep says:

        Only in a Sky LLU area. If Sky don’t have their own equipment in your local exchange, you get a usage cap like everyone else, and not a terribly generous one either: 40GB *plus* a “Network Management Policy”.

        Much as it pains me to say it, if you’re stuck on an exchange without any LLU equipment in it (like I am), your best bet is “good” old BT. Seems to be the closest to unlimited that you can get in that situation.

  18. Seymour Quilter says:

    Hmmmm, this is a deal about hardware installation at F1 tracks.

    Content, i.e. multiple camera angles and such have been possible for years, and are used in Europe…

    It’s hard to see how this benefits F1 fans as it depends on the software, presumably supplied by the broadcast rights owners. Sky are appalling at this sort of thing and I can imagine the advert loaded web pages now.

    If the broadcast rights owners don’t own the content for this, how will they stop thousands of subscribers cancelling and going online subscription?

    This press release is great news for Bernie and FOM, let’s see how much it’s going to cost us fans!

  19. lee saunders says:

    sorry james , theres nothing good in this .the present uk tv deal is bad enough , but this kills f1 for the average fan.can’t see sky being happy with this either their exclusive rights are dead in the water with live internet streaming .the only person with anything to gain is bernie and he has been slowly strangling the golden goose he created and using it as a personal bank for himself and [mod] daughters

    1. James Allen says:

      Why does it kill F1 for the average fan?

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Think he is maybe pointing out the fact there’s many millions in the UK either out of work/choosing not to work or not earning enough/working hard enough or having too many Kids to afford to view all the full races. Obvious is the solution I would say!

  20. Titus Pullo says:

    How much is this going to cost us?

  21. Tim says:

    Unlimited bandwidth my let FOM TV and the big national broadcasters mover a lot of there edit/back office team home. The time/ travel/ accommodation/ etc saving could be vast.

    Plus

    Could the teams use the bandwidth to take less data people to each race?

  22. kf1 says:

    GO INDIA!!!!

  23. Lawrence says:

    A quick poll of friends seems to show 0% interest in buying into Sky to see every race live, but about 25% interest in finding a pub open that does!

    I would have been OK about buying just Sky F1, but VirginMedia only sell it as a bundle with Sky Sports, making it too expensive. Any 100% coverage of races alternative would be welcome.

    1. bassbar says:

      best of luck finding a pub that shows f1. when football is in season you know what will take priority.

    2. DH says:

      Funny, ok to the pub it is.

      Seriously, I’ve long thought those in power would be surprised to find how many would gladly pay for F1-only over the internet.

      Getting a TV, its feed, and paying for the expensive ‘package’ deals is a rarity amongst my circle anyway when F1 is really the most popular thing we’d want to watch.

  24. Hendo says:

    Will this mean that we wont be stuck with host broadcast directors following their national hero in the HRT for 90% of the race?

    1. Jimbob says:

      That hasn’t been the case for years, since FOM took control of the live feed.

    2. Host broadcasters? You’re a few years behind the times, my friend!

  25. Agent Orange says:

    If we the viewers will be able to interact with the sport does that mean we can tell Massa where to brake for a corner? ;)

    It sounds good to me. Standard model, cheaper costs and the ability to deliver more content.

    At a high level who could object to that?

    1. Popee says:

      Or alternatively we can all tell Felipe that Fernando is faster than him! ;-)

      1. Ohm says:

        Or that Lewis is coming up on the inside…so don’t forget to turn in! ;)

  26. I think this will lead to fan led tv. For example, you could have a VIP Ferrari experience streamed over the internet, covering the entire weekend. Or, you could choose to follow a preferred driver for the duration of the race or some laps, whilst tapping into their communications or juwt commentary. I would have loved this option when Button was on the charge in Montreal.

    I don’t necessarily feel that paying for content is unreasonable, but as a paid subscriber I would like to be able to derive the experience that I feel most satisfies my own interest in the sport.

    The fact of the matter is that there are multiple elements of intrigue in F1, and technology used well will serve to facilitate the fans’ varying interests.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think you are right, as I said in the headline; it changes everything

      1. So do you see teams running their own broadcasts in the future?

      2. James Allen says:

        They’d like to have ability to have their own streams on their own websites

      3. I see this as a very effective way of the teams gaining a greater share of revenue from F1.

        If I was Ferrari, I’d loan the stream/broadcast feed then encourage people to subscribe. The more popular the streams, the more revenue is made. What’s more, they will have earned it from their own endeavours over and above the shared contribution that the F1 circus generates as a whole.

        Furthermore, this would satisfy the incumbent owners with multiple sources of revenue for a fixed feed. They won’t have to grant exclusivity to certain markets to traditional broadcasters.

      4. @James Allen

        Re: They’d like to have ability to have their own streams on their own websites

        If teams do get the chance to do this I do hope they don’t end up making it ‘all about them’. If you’re watching an internet stream there’s going to be at least a couple of seconds delay against a TV broadcast; so you can’t watch the two along side each other.

        The way to make it appealing to fans of Team X would be to show the live feed, and (for example) to the left hand side of the main feed have driver cams for their two drivers stacked on top of each other. That would be good for fans of a particular team.

    2. Rob Newman says:

      I agree with you. You don’t want to be watching some back markers coming for tyres when there is something interesting up front or you want to watch where your favourite driver is. You are totally in control of what you want to watch.

  27. GT_Racer says:

    In-Line with this story is that it was announced a few weeks back that Sky will be using Fibre Optics rather than Satellite to transmit all there TV signals this season.

    Also worth mentioning that FOM were looking at using Fibre Optic technology as fas back as 2001. We had a Fibre Optic cable system running the length of the track back then & were using it to bring in various innovations on the F1 Digital+ service we had.
    Even back then Eddie Baker had big ideas about its use for the future & he always put forward the idea of scaling back equipment sent to the track & having everything sent back to Biggin Hill via Fibre Optics & sent to broadcasters from there.

    In terms of Internet broadcasting, It opens the door but the problem will still be that many broadcasters sign exclusivity deals.
    In the UK for instance while Sky/BBC share the coverage, Sky has exclusive access to various extras (As well as exclusivity for live coverage for 10 races) so any internet service provided by FOM would likely have things blocked in the UK market as per TV broadcasters request.

    Same would apply elsewhere, It currently happens with other sports where TV rights holders block internet coverage in there territory to protect there paid for TV rights.

  28. Alastair Archbold says:

    I’m pretty sure it means “more money for Bernie, and in the future we’ll all have to pay more to watch f1″. That’s if there’s a decent fan base left after it goes to sky full time eventually. Shame.

  29. F1 viewer says:

    @James Allen

    This new deal and issues with FTA broadcasters in Europe are separate and there is a more important TV issue that could end up changing the current UK BBC and Sky deal or it could affect the Concorde talks.

    How are teams that rely on sponsors like Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Marussia, Catheram, Sauber and HRT going to react when they see the edited BBC highlights of the 10 delayed Qualifying and Races?
    Right now it is expected the highlights will not cover the entire qualifying session or race meaning cuts will be made that will affect the smaller teams the most.

    Those team advertisers will expect to pay less for a massive reduction in their exposure to viewers in one of the Worlds major economic countries as the edited Qualifying and Race will just focus on the front runners for most of the time.

    There is little chance a broadcaster could be forced to have minimum exposure times of each team now the contracts have been signed and it would only cause a further backlash from the viewing public who will be putting up with edited coverage who will expect mostly the front runners to be covered in the race highlights and during qualifying highlights to bring the most important coverage.

    Perhaps you could talk to the back and middle F1 teams to see how they and sponsors feel about reduced exposure during the reduced edited qualifying and race highlights that the BBC is only allowed to show.
    You could also ask them what they will say to Mr Ecclestone during the next round of Concorde talks?

    The smaller teams will see that if every other major European country ends up with a similar UK deal with a similar 10 races of delayed and edited highlights for the FTA broadcaster it will mean further massive reductions in advertising exposure for the smaller teams.
    Sponsors are given a huge amount of information on how much exposure they get in each county and a reduction in those exposure will not work well.

    If every race in Europe was split 10 FTA live and 10 edited highlights delayed not only would the smaller teams begin to question how much they should pay but also the trackside sponsors who would get less exposure as well will question how much they should be paying.

    European FTA viewers might not be important for the TV deals that Mr Ecclestone makes but the loss of them will cause huge losses for the sponsors and advertisers who pay large sums of money to reach those viewers will be lost if more similar UK deals are signed.

    Unless the teams are given a guarantee in the next Concorde agreement of extra financial payments to cover any advertising losses they will not sign up.

    1. franed says:

      If I were a headline team sponsor I would be reducing my contribution in proportion to the much reduced audience which will result this year.

      It needs to be remembered that the audience figures Bernie uses include every mention in every news program, not just the number who watch the races live.

    2. Optimaximal says:

      I don’t think any teams have necessarily spoken in any great deal about the BBC/Sky deal…

      That said, I remember rumours of up-front pay-outs by Sky (to the order of £1 million?) to each of the teams to ease the transition.

      Can you confirm that James?

      1. James Allen says:

        Not heard that. Sounds unlikely

    3. Phil says:

      It’s not a problem for HRT, they don’t have any sponsors.

      Unless “you could be here” and “your logo here” are acutally companies…

  30. AuraF1 says:

    If the bandwidth is what they’re suggesting it definitely means a much shorter wait for 3D and eventual holo-v broadcasting as soon as the tv/computer sales match up. Rather than the extended wait for HD it will also mean greater parity between tracks – no more dodgy broadcasts from certain parts of the world.

    We’re definitely looking at google or apple or indeed sky et all bidding for live streaming rights with added features – choose your own angles, pit vision, fan based director feeds, in car choice, overlay maps/time charts/integrated twitter feeds etc

    1. GT_Racer says:

      You won’t see 3D for a while as current 3D technology doesn’t work for Motorsports.

      FOM have tried 3D & the results were far from impressive, Nascar, indycar & others have also tried 3D & reached the same conclusion.

      “no more dodgy broadcasts from certain parts of the world.”

      Thats already not a problem as FOM produce the world feed broadcast for every race apart from Monaco & Japan & have been doing so since 2007.

      Monaco & Japan are now the only 2 races that still use a local broadcaster to produce the world feed.

      1. Nick says:

        Do you know why this is the case? What makes these two races different?

      2. StefMeister says:

        Monaco isn’t promoted by FOM, Its promoted by the ACM (Automobile club de Monaco) & they insist on bringing in there own broadcaster (VCF handle the broadcast).

        With Japan the biggest thing was that FujiTV sponsored the race & wanted to stay on as the broadcaster. They now no longer sponsor the race but still have a contract in place to produce the race broadcast.

        FujiTV don’t do a bad job with there broadcast, I dislike some of there camera locations & directing style but overall its not too bad.

        The Monaco broadcast however I think is often very poor & I really wish FOM could get that as back when we were doing the F1 Digital+ broadcast’s there I think we had much better camera locations & I think the current FOM director would do a much better job with Monaco.

        The biggest problem with the broadcast is that the VCF director selects camera angles depending on where the sponsorship banners are & so many of the camera angles have been the same for over 30 years. He then instructs the camera operators to pan & zoom the shots to keep the sponsor banners in frame, sometimes at the expence of the cars (The Lowes hairpin operator is usually the most obvious example of this).

      3. GT_Racer says:

        There are also some more complex reasons but thats more or less correct.

        I also agree about Monaco, Always loved working on that broadcast for FOM, Felt that we had some fantastic camera shots which really showed the speed of the cars & just how close they got to the barriers, don’t think vcf manage to catch either with there camera positions although they did start using some of ours when f1 digital+ shut down although sadly not some of our best ones.
        As someone that worked Monaco for FOM watching the vcf broadcast’s is often frustrating as i know there is someone out there who can do a lot better.

        At least the fujitv guys have got away from sticking with the local drivers/teams/engine suppliers now.

  31. Phil says:

    Imagine:

    You could watch F1 on any connected device, wherever you are: TV, PC, Tablet, Smartphone

    You could choose what cameras you want to watch and when, or which driver you’d like to follow (effectively produce your own race coverage if you want)

    You could see video feeds, timing screens, GPS track map, weather satellite images all at once in whatever arrangement you like

    You could listen to team radio of any driver at any time, possibly review telemetry data if the teams choose to allow it

    You could choose from a variety of commentary streams. Not just from the major broadcasters but freelance or independent journalists or even fans could stream their own commentary for anyone to pick up

    The teams could provide their own tailored coverage. Want to watch a GP weekend on Force India TV or The McLaren Channel?

    Just a few thoughts off the top of my head. But, for the doubters, this deal could revolutionise F1 coverage beyond anything you ever thought possible.

  32. Nathan says:

    i would gladly pay for an online subscription to watch in australia, trying to watch free practice is a nightmare.

    welcome to the 21st century one of the biggest sports in the world (..finally)

  33. Alex says:

    Interesting article James, I can definitely see big potential in it, remains to be seen just how it ends up being used. Good move for the future of the sport. Biggest thing for me though is to keep F1 in some way on Free To Air TV or web in the future.

  34. Jon A says:

    I think a number of people have missed the point of what this deal means. There are three paragraphs in the middle than make it clear.

    This is simply about getting data and pictures from the circuit back to the FOM TV Centre and getting data, pictures and stories distributed for the onsite media.

    Rather than FOM having to send its data back to the UK via Satellites (for which the bandwidth and duration are rented), each circuit is going to be hooked up by land-line (very very fast land-line) then undersea cable, to the broadcast centre in the UK.

    This will allow more information to be sent, for a longer period of time at a lower cost. The upfront cost is very high (hence the TATA “partnership” but the long term cost is very very low.

    From the UK the data is then relayed to each broadcaster, and for the moment (the next few years at least) nothing will change here. Not for you or for me.

    What it may lead on to is fascinating however. Instead of the ‘World Feed’ being directed from the circuit and sent back as a single stream (a few streams are actually sent as we do have alternative viewing choices) each camera could have all it pictures sent back as a stream. That’s probably 50+ from the cars and another 50+ around the circuit.

    Broadcasters could begin choosing whichever pictures they wanted from a choice of a hundred, not the current three or four. Perhaps direct there own alternative view(s) or follow their choice of on-board cars/drivers through out the race.

    What this doesn’t mean (for the foreseeable future) is consumers getting an Internet feed or other subscriptions directly from FOM. This purely about getting more data and pictures back to the UK for a low cost. But from this, people have ideas and other things blossom.

    1. James Allen says:

      Both sides have said that the intention is to take it in the directions that I highlighted in the piece

      1. Mike says:

        yeah but we have been sold that line of all these added features before.. where has that gotten us…

        How bout the update the live timing from the basic feed stuck in the 80s…

  35. Crom says:

    I suppose this is anticipating the day when the humble TV is completely replaced by the “all-in-one” entertainment centre – ie, an all-singing all-dancing internet/music/movie unit – which is happening already with new TVs and their built-in connectivity.

  36. Mike P says:

    From my perspective it is just another revenue stream for F1 and does little for the fans. The FOM ipad app that displays lap times and GPS on where the cars are on the circuit is a great idea but the application costs $28 so I never bothered to Download and use it. These types of apps help get the fan into the sport and should be free or $1.99 like other iPad apps. The cost is ridiculous… so I fear more of this will lead to unique ways for fans to get information… but at a high cost.

    1. James Allen says:

      Shouldn’t you wait to see what the deal is first before dismissing it? If interactivity means fans can get closer access than they’d dreamed of, would that be a good thing?

      1. db4tim says:

        This is what fans have wanted for the entire time with F1

      2. smellyden says:

        “If interactivity means fans can get closer access than they’d dreamed of, would that be a good thing?” That depends on the cost!

  37. Mark Crooks says:

    If they introduce a reliable and high quality subscription internet streaming service then this will mean I can finally ditch my cable box that forced me to buy channels I didn’t want or need just so I could watch F1 in the US.

    1. Harry says:

      Exactly. I paid $20/month on top of the basic price just to get the Speed channel here in the U.S. All for a race that I would fall asleep to at the 45 minute mark.

      Then I found that you can view streams on-line for free. Now I don’t feel bad about falling asleep.

  38. dansus says:

    Awesome! Hopefully this means i can be my own director one day.

    Google has a live streaming platform, wonder if they would be interested in buying up the rights as they come available. Ditto Apple.

    What would be best is if FOM took it all in house and expanded on its current IP offering and made it available on many platforms like YouView, Google, Apple ect.

  39. Colin says:

    Hi James, When do you expect internet streaming to start for F1?

      1. Colin says:

        Thank you for the information and your time to reply.

  40. Jonathan says:

    Sky have already been branching out into the online market for the last few years and this is a continuation of it. They had the skymobile package which allowed subscribers to watch sky sports on their mobile phone and also did an online subscription that I had which meant that for £35 per month you had access to all the skysports and entertainment channels and skyplayer online. With a modern laptop/pc this meant that with an hdmi cable you could watch it as normal on tv without a sky dish. The other positive was that you could use it on upto 4 devices therefore 4 people could share it for £8.75 a month each.

    Now with skygo its still the same package but only allowed on 2 devices which is a shame as its only a monthly contract so would have been good for f1 fans. Also it can now be used on apple devices (ipad, iphone etc) and recently android so you can watch sky on your mobile.

    Do you think though James that part of the reluctance by bernie or his advisors or whoever to go online is because of illegal streaming and how it makes it easier for FOM F1 footage to then be uploaded to sites like youtube? Also I know people havent been happy about F1 going onto sky but surely there will be illegal streams of the F1 channel online, afertall its not hard to find live premiership matches streamed online is it?

    Keep up the great work,
    Jonathan

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes for sure. Security of the feed is a big issue. Especially now with the Sky deal for 10 races where there’s no BBC

      1. KeeleyObsessed says:

        Re: the Sky deal for 10 races where there’s no BBC

        I wish people would tell it as it is, it’s not really helping the people who believe that BBC are only showing 10 races this year.. The last time I checked, the BBC are still showing EVERY race. If 10 of them are extended highlights, that’s still 10 races being shown on TOP of what I can presume the 10 live ones as you are mentioning..

  41. Richard D says:

    At the end of the day the sponsors who pay big bucks to put their logos on the cars and trackside need a mass audience to make it worth their while. Therefore, they need the free to air audience and commercial pressures will eventually win through and the likes of BBC will get paid to broadcast it rather than having to pay for the privilege! This new technology simply puts distributes the live feeds from the ciruits more efficiently.

  42. Vincant Hanna says:

    Sounds great..like all new things, but the devil is always in the detail which i’m sure we will find out.
    The internet is the way to go…
    Don’t see BBC keeping F1 after this year and the sport will be only available on SKY in the UK.
    SKY only selling it as part of package, viewing figures will surely drop.
    There is no fun watching the race which is not live..
    I for one will be streaming it from the net just to P off Mr Bernie!

    1. James Allen says:

      BBC have it until 2017

  43. Egal says:

    I think this will enable FOM to satisfy their “free to air” mantra although it will in fact be “free to computer”. A base stream available via http

    Leaving the way clear to develop and sign more lucrative pay TV deals with individual broadcasters. They will be the ones to offer “follow me” on drivers or teams and include a plethora of various options in their pay packages.

    Plus extra revenue for FOM if a team picks up and broadcasts their own stream – in pit, in garage, in car.

  44. Dizzy says:

    Isn’t much of what some people here are hoping will happen as far as additional video/data feeds already going to happen on Sky this year.

    Sky have already said they will have 9 additional video feeds avaliable on there interactive service as well as online & on there ipod/ipad apps.

    Those with Sky this year will already be able to select from several in-car cameras, timing, gps, pit cameras etc….
    And they said in there media day on monday that they will use more team radio feeds (Which teams must make avaliable to broadcasters this season).

  45. StefMeister says:

    Sky will also be using Fibre optics to send all there feeds back to the UK this year:
    http://bit.ly/wmUgWQ

    “All seven feeds, allowing viewers to choose between main race, onboard cameras or stats for example, will be sent back to Sky on a fibre optic network jointly delivered by the EBU and AT&T.

    “We don’t want to rely on satellite so we are sending and receiving feeds via fibre,” said Long. “At&T are already onsite delivering data for teams and it has an extensive worldwide network.””

  46. SK Anand says:

    Well this is perhaps a first time a sport is embracing convergence at such a scale. This opens up limitless opportunity for instance, currently we only have access to timing, but with this, probably we could have bird eye view of the team and its working. Since the access to information is limitless, probably the team will deem it neccessary to provide only that much information, which does not compromise its race strategy. Other than the fact the beaming of race will become cheaper in terms of production value, which would also mean the rights of sport will be split between tv and broadband. That would indeed mean more viewers, particularly in countris where the broadband penentration is deep and widening. But it also means that it addresses the two new world of entertainment on the go…the tablet and the internet tv. Those are my initial thoughts…

  47. Franco says:

    All, this is great news when you consider the wider audience F1 will be available to with the use of the Internet although do have some major concerns of TATA infrastructure based on my experience but then again working for their main competitor I’m obviously jealous that my employers were not selected.

    James, as per my previous post a few weeks ago I’m still working in Barcelona this week and planning to be at the test on Friday so if you wish me to assist in your testing review in providing a fans experience let me know.

    Franco

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that. Please send in a fans’ eye view of what you see and a photo and if we like it, we’ll make every effort to post it.

  48. Rich C says:

    lmao
    I just *love all the “Bernie is evil and plotting to get more money whilst cutting us fans out of the deal” responses!
    So predictable. So entertaining.

  49. radi says:

    I just paid 20GBP for an android app to keep an eye occasionally on the live timing. I am definitely in for lets say 50-60GBP yearly subscription that allows me to move ‘my camera’ between Lewis’ onboard and Button’s all the race. And rarely on Massa, even though on rainy races this might be head spinning experience.. literaly:)

    seems like a good development to me.Before I read the article, I kind of knew what to expect, but the name of Tata, brought that image of small 1000USD Indian car which is hard to connect to F1.

  50. Daniel says:

    I really hope the Sky F1 project falls flat on it’s a*se. Be VERY interesting to see the viewing figures for the first two sky races this year versus last years bbc coverage. Can we view that data online, anywhere ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Very unlikely. Try Googling Premier League viewing figures and see how far you get !

    2. jonathan says:

      Sunday times gives weekly viewing figures in its culture section each week and just to give u an idea liverpool vs man city last month got 1.68m viewers.i doubt f1 wil reach that!

  51. Craigy J says:

    Am i the only person who is just more than satisfied with what we had?

    I dont want 1000 different camera angles, Paris Hilton and Eminem comentating option or to be able to see Massa going for a cry in the toilets.

    All i want is a free to air channel showing the live race with a couple of decent comentators and a pit lane reporter (and preferably no Eddie Jordan if possible).

    If the commentators are worth their salt I need nothing more.

    1. James Allen says:

      Many people were satisfied with a horse and cart until someone invented the internal combustion engine. Then came jet engines and then…..

      I’m afraid technology drives change, like it or not. I see it as an opportunity, others may see it differently

      Agree with you about the commentators though….

    2. Jonno says:

      Craigy J – you’ve got it in one.

  52. Nil says:

    This is fantastic. Some possibilities I can think of:

    - Fans pose questions and vote on them. Most voted questions asked to drivers after DNF and post-race interviews or to teams during the race.
    - Fans get to choose which commentary team they want to tune into irrespective of their geographic location.
    - Select cams feeds from particular corners on the track.
    - Fans from around the racetrack can send back weather info. Might save teams from employing cloud and rain spotters posted at various places!
    - Show race telemetry.

  53. Longy says:

    Huzzah! We get to pay MORE to Bernie for the privelage of watching F1…I’m sure the fan used to be important in this whole process, now all but the lucky few will not be able to afford to attend or even watch anymore. Still, as long as he gets his money eh? flogging and cash cow once again Mr Ecclestone. Sorry James, but I’m not going to get excited about something which he will clearly use to raise the viewing prices even further. Still, I’ve always got the Senna DVD to watch on repeat, about the only “edited/extended highlights” i can stand.

  54. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Listen Bernie, about my budget:

    I won’t pay any dollar on TV nor Internet,
    but I pay already a TV-Internet connection for general purposes.

    However, I want to pay one ticket a year for being in a race.

    And I don’t want to pay for writting silly comments on F1 blogs!!!

  55. Jonno says:

    Did the FIA only sell the tv rights to FOM? If they didn’t sell the internet rights, could they have a valid right to get some more, a lot more, out of Bernie ?

    1. senna007 says:

      I would have thought that it would be phrased “broadcasting rights” that were sold so as to cover for everything, although the internet may not have existed when the FIA sold the rights radio did so i would be very surprised if they didn’t use this phrase or something similar.

  56. Jonno says:

    I’m amazed, er, no I’m not, that so many nerds have jumped on this contract in the belief that F1 will become some kind of a computer game that they can get directly involved in.
    Sharing team data – social networking with drivers – accessing cameras in the garages – watching and controlling car cameras – watching multiple cameras at the same time – etc, etc.

    Are these people into motor sport or just lala land technology, that only a minority have any interest in?

    1. Jim says:

      We non-uk based fans invite UK fans over to our countries to experience the type of service we get. Our very limited coverage has left us yearning for more. I for one grumble at the fact I can’t watch the BBC F1 forum, having to resort to the Internet for illegal streams which do not work most of the time, often with unwatchable laggy coverage. So I try downloading the BBC forum using their media player through an illegal proxy, but it takes ages at 3kb/sec. All this time and effort to watch an extra hour of F1 has left me very jealous of the UK coverage.

      So I email the BBc asking them, pleading them, begging them to make more content available because I am willing to PAY for that extra hour. No response of course. I can’t even pay for it! I welcome sky and this new deal with open arms if it means more content and more accessibility!

      1. Jonno says:

        You’ve no chance of seeing any Sky broadcasts in your country. Bernie/FOM’s broadcasting contracts restrict companies to specific areas. That’s why the BBC have ignored your request.

  57. Dmitry says:

    Oh, yes!

    My dream of the past 14 years is finally getting alive!
    Internet broadcasts, interactive sections, live feedback… OMG, my head is just spinning!)
    Can’t wait to see the first “new feature” of clearly the “new age F1″!

  58. F1 Novice says:

    Picture this…..

    We all sit in front of our TV / Tablet or some other platform and on our Xbox / PS3 or £120K Cruden Hexatech racing simulator we line up on the grid in REAL TIME with the REAL CARS/DRIVERS on the track and race them and us as if we were there (creating a fans WDC)- that´s one potential outcome of this deal.

  59. Mo kahn says:

    So Jaguar Returns to Revolutionise F1.

    FYI: Tata group owns Jaguar and Rover :)

    Go India :)

  60. Edouard Valentine says:

    Has FOTA had any input into this or a say in the direction that this deal will go in?

    I find it strange to think that the Concorde agreement runs out in less than 1 year (allowing the teams some freedom to renegotiate)yet this deal, one that is so significant – agame changer – is multi year.

    1. James Allen says:

      This deal is part of the infrastructure of the future F1

  61. F1 viewer says:

    @ James Allen

    You mention security issues with this new deal with people watching online but this will widen the gulf between sponsors who want as many viewers as possible and F1 rights holders who want to make money from pay tv deals without thinking of the loss of exposure to a mass FTA TV audience.

    Team sponsors will monitor how much reduced exposure each team and car gets, so will the track side advertisers for the UK broadcasts.

    They will be both looking at the reduced live viewing audience and how much of the middle and back F1 teams are cut out of the edited highlights and qualifying and the reduced track side advertising exposure.

    With the 10 delayed qualifying and races being edited rather than full delayed coverage if these pay tv and FTA model is rolled out in Europe and beyond causing a large reduction in sponsorship exposure which means lower payments for teams that need them to exist it will put the next Concorde talks in severe doubt.

    Any new online services that could be provided will be unlikely seen by UK viewers except those who will currently subscribe to the new pay tv service meaning that the sponsors will not gain much more in exposure.

    It would be good if at a practice session or the next race you attend to ask teams and sponsors of the back and middle field teams how they feel about reduced exposure in the edited qualifying and race highlights and whether they could afford the financial sponsorship losses if the UK deal was rolled out over Europe where there is a huge FTA viewing audience.

    Will the teams be so happy about TV deals if in the end European FTA companies lose out meaning that the huge European audience numbers are lost that are very important to car sponsors?

    You mention about RAI in Italy possibly losing out but even as a front running company that has substantial financial backing do you really believe Ferrari would want Italian viewers to have to watch 10 race with edited qualifying and edited race highlights meaning less live exposure for Ferrari?

    Like McClaren in the UK they may have enough money money to brush aside any sponsorship losses or payment reductions but do they really want viewers and smaller teams to suffer?

  62. Krishna says:

    This deal signifies a new way for fans and the sport to interact with one another. I think it is a magnificent deal with limitless possibilities.

    The internet is how most fans interact with the sport as a source of news. And now, for those who choose not to pay for cable tv, having the ability to purchase the feed directly from the race providers is great.

    While the above example may seem small, many of the developed countries have users leaving the spectrum of TV to find their shows/movies etc via the Internet.

    I, for one, look forward to being able to watch a certain driver or team instead of being fed a race cast by director focused on aspects of a race I’m less interested in. If customization of the feed is indeed available, sign me up.

    Good on Bernie to get the ball rolling on this, I would be surprised if other sports with a world wide base, such as soccer and basketball, followed up with their own deals of this nature. And congratulations to Tata for securing this deal.

  63. PaddockF1 says:

    I think this deal is absolutely fantastic for F1 on many levels and we could see the following:

    a. an impact on fanvision and ipad apps for fans attending the races. Imagine being able to follow the action at races from your ipad thanks to the new wireless comms infrastructure?

    b. wider reach for internet audiences especially for those not wishing to subscribe to Sky etc or don’t own a TV – i.e. more revenues

    c. Choosing to follow your favourite team or driver on the track via an app/tv/the official f1 website – using stats, camera angles

    d. Different camera images

    e. choose language commentary if you’re on holiday

    f. Reduced cost for broadcasting and more flexible business models which might actually make TV coverage more affordable as they have less costs to cover – thus more broader TV audience reach.

    The possibilities are certainly not limited to the above and this is very exciting stuff.

    Hopefully this may make the teams more money which will help get rid of pay drivers, lower Pay TV prices.

    On a tangent, I actually think Bernie could have done a better job on the sky deal by forcing ads on the terrestial channels and the likes of Sky to not run ads. This would follow a freemium model seen online where paid users benefit from ad free content and non paying subscribers subject to ads.

  64. senna007 says:

    I agree with what many above me have said this gives far more choice of video, commentary and interactivity to us fans, which can only be a good thing. Bernie also has the option of selling direct to the fans using this system or as is currently the case to broadcasters but this will add value to the product he is selling and also increase the market he can sell it to. For example instead of just traditional broadcasters BBc, ITV, SKY etc this now means that youtube or another web based video broadcaster could buy the broadcasting rights, thus increasing competition for the rights and making more money for Bernie.

  65. Rambala says:

    This is a good news to every one in the USA keeping in mind some races are not broadcasted live by FOX as one can watch over the internet

  66. Chris R says:

    I’d agree that this strengthens bernie’s position when it comes to sell. I am ignorant of the current deal FOM has with satellite providers for the uplink from races.

    I noticed the sentence ‘setting up fixed line connectivity at all 20 grand Prix races’. So it’s not a view to creating a method of f1 TV, outside of the race weekends. But more a change in infrastructure only.

    I see your point of how it affects the coverage of the weekends much more, the amount of data/live feed that tata can deliver will be sufficient for whatever FOM come up with, in terms of a product.

    Im most likely wrong in seeing any irony in this announcement of moving away from satellite, to cable, after announcing the Sky deal?

    Seems like a no brainer deal to me, as long as tata can deliver, and data prices dont rise too high.

  67. Joe says:

    All very interesting. But you, James, have of course moved away from the TV side of things…

    …can you tell us who you will be commentating with on 5 Live this year?

    very much looking forward to flicking between Crofty/Martin, Ben/DC and you and…. over the course of the season!

    1. James Allen says:

      You’ll find out soon

  68. Kevin Green says:

    being a really big fan and not just being interested on watching the race as it is or being a particular fan of any team or driver and also being interested on how F1 ticks as awhole i think its great!

    The Advantages are going to be obvious with so much possibilities more so in respect to how much live streams will be available ie i have visions of having 6 or so tv screens on my wall in a few yrs with the main one showing the main streaming race on race day along with selected others or all following the other action in the garages on the pit entrances continually showing replays of action/crashes post retirement unlimited time interviews etc etc etc the opportunities appear to near limitless :)

    The downside, Well yes its going to cost somewhat more and more as time goes on probably .

    But if you are really in to it you wont mind paying right?? Dont get nothing for nothing in this world unless its undesirable right ?

    All sounds great to me, cant wait! :)

  69. Don Farrell says:

    I know this is slightly off topic…. but I sold out today… after 10 years of saying I’d never do it… I gave in… a moment of weakness… but I saw the adverts for it… and the thoughts of watching the 2012 F1 on a dedicated HD channel were too much temptation… I joined Sky!!! It better be better than the BBC coverage! Roll on March 7, and the launch of the new Sky HD F1 channel! :)

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Yeah Sky knew what they were doing as with the F1 channel being non profit making really due to lack of adverts with uninterupted racing, they knew they would lure plenty people who never had sky into having the £1k whole package seeing they were committed to taking sky to view all the races anyway.

      Clever thinking! thats a lot of £500-£1K’s a year nomatter how you look at it! whats the bets within 5yrs everyone has to pay per view regardless of package!

  70. Owen says:

    I appreciate you leaving a bit of tech talk in there James – the mention of MPLS was surprising to see!

    This is exactly what F1 needs. Cut out the middle-men and digitise the broadcast, deliver it directly to fans.

    I can’t wait.

  71. Ritesh says:

    First off, this gives FOM huge bandwidth at real-time speeds to over 200 countries. That means less equipment to lug around and much more data that can be added to the world feed. As mentioned, it will be bi-directional and way more interactive than just pressing the Red button for a few camera angles. It also means a lot more real time data rather than just the live timing and usual stuff that we’re used to.
    Look at this as an addition to existing terrestrial TV.

    Lets face it, internet, IPTV and interactive content is the future. This will allow a lot more information to be broadcasted worldwide in real time. Ever thought of watching multiple real time on car (or helmet) broadcasts in multiple windows on your PC while the main feed is running on the telly? The possibilities with this kind of infrastructure are simply endless.

    This also opens up access to people who’re not in their native country and might want a particular language commentary that’s not available locally.

    Another big thing of the future is mobile. Content could be delivered in high quality over mobile in real time and who knows what kind of interactivity can be devised?

    This is the future and I’m glad Bernie has done something in a long long time that I’m actually very glad about.

  72. Duncan Snowden says:

    I can’t see how sponsored streaming being the sole viewing method for everyone can possibly be avoided. No doubt they’ll try.

    The logical conclusion – some way off yet, admittedly – is that everything goes over IP: all broadcast TV is doomed. So, whatever the DRM snake-oil merchants will tell you, that means the only realistic revenue option is sponsorship and advertising: things that F1 is very good at. I don’t know what Bernie’s scared of. Get it out there, let people see it, waive your rights. Sponsors pay for eyeballs. Give them everybody’s.

  73. Nick says:

    Interesting read Alan. Great to read stuff about the technical side of covering F1, particularly FOM.

  74. F1 Novice says:

    Bear in mind this move is also not so much for our generation but for the next who we must remember will be born into, fully immersed & interwoven with the on-line world.

  75. BenS1 says:

    I’m not sure that letting the viewer choose which cameras to view will really work.

    For a start the commentry will be refering to what the default camera view is and not necessarily what you are watching.

    And secondly the chances are that the experts are going to be a lot better at showing you the relevant action than you are yourself. And if anything happens (Such as a crash) then the world feed switches to the relevant camera very quickly (If its not already viewing it) and will show numerous replays from as many different veiws as they have it.

    If you choose the camera views yourself then I suspect you will miss many of the incidents, and wont be able to switch to the correct camera in time to actually see anything interesting.

    I suspect many pople will think its really cool for maybe the first 30 mins and then realise that the best way to watch it is how we watch it today.

    Also, if there are 2 or more of you watching a race how annoying would it be if one person keeps switching views?!

    As for itnernet feeds… My TV screen is much bigger than my monitor and I can watch my TV from a comfortable sofa. Why would I want to watch an internet feed? In fact I see no benefits of an internet feed over a TV feed at all.

  76. Pete says:

    I like the idea of having lots of feeds so that I can choose what I watch and listen to, and how to do it, but I don’t like the idea of it being interactive because it will mean the dumbing down of F1 coverage. This has already happened on the BBC with their obsession with Twitter & celebrities, although sometimes there was some interesting stuff with Crofty on a Friday because the teams often participated.

  77. Kedar says:

    Seems more like marketing stunt to me. I would be surprised if F1 had plain jane VPN connections over the internet.

  78. Grant says:

    All sounds good but the issue of content ownership using internet based feeds will no doubt shape future deals and revenue opportunities. Interesting case occurring in Australia regarding AFL who have just gone down this path and found their $$$ deal maybe worth little value.

  79. don says:

    What it means to me:

    I don’t know if I have to laugh or cry about the excuse that making every single viewer pay because of the rights costs getting too high.

    1. All those free-to-air channels will be FORCED to quit broadcasting because of they can’t afford the high rights costs anymore.

    2. They (FOM) and his followers make us believe that these high rights costs are inevitable and necesarry to cover the costs.. bullshit.

    3. All the free-to-viewers who got through the maze of the fishing net by watching free-to-air channels or online via streaming won’t have this oportunity anymore because of this more advanced technology/contrology and will have no other option than to pay if they want to watch F1.

    4. All this above will be disguised in the excuse that it’s for our own good and that we should be happy the high because some new features that in reality are not necesarry.

    Fark pay tv channels. I already pay for my cable tv including lots of taxes etc.. I don’t want to pay again for TV channels. Thats like paying 3 times for the same thing. Leeches I tell ya.

  80. Andy says:

    I think if I directed what I viewed myself I would end up missing half the action because I was looking at another feed oblivious to what was going on

  81. Hovisbap says:

    I’m really going to miss Martin Brundle…sniff

  82. Ceejay says:

    Despite the comments about devaluing traditional broadcasting rights, actually Bernie may have done the sums and seen that having a direct relationship with subscribers, and cutting out the broadcaster middle-men, could, in the longer run, be the way to go.

    Until High Speed broadband gets critical mass it’s not really going to threaten the standard broadcasting model, but when it does he has the ability to make the leap into direct subscription.

    But for the moment the main benefit is a dramatic increase in the data backhaul capacity from the circuits to the rest of the world, which opens up a whole range of new possibilities.

  83. Michael says:

    Absolutely Hilarious. But the kiddies will love it so we can at least make a few more bob.

  84. DreadUK says:

    Having only read through a small proportion of this thread I may have missed it but I see no discussion of the two way ability of this technology.

    If you think adverts on the TV, random SMS spam to your mobile or spam to your email account is a pain in the ar5e then take note, this technology will target you personally whislt you are watching any TV, never mind F1, delivered this way.

    In terms of F1 itself, have you ever watched the Superbowl? hours upon hours of meaningless analysis by incredibly uninformed commentators only there to pad the program out for the advertisers.

    Call me old fashioned but I have been reading Aurosport, amongst a number of other mags for 40 years or so. I come from a motor racing background so I’m pretty well up on the technicalities of the sport. But that is all secondary now.

    F1 was founded on technical and innovative excellence. It was started by manufacturers and enthusiasts who frankly, had no interest in the spectating public; they just wanted to win races.

    F1 now operates merely to entertain hence DRS. Under the current restrictive regulations if one has a winning car there is very little anyone else can do to beat it. Radical changes like ground effect, turbo’s, carbon fibre tubs or active suspension can’t be introduced because they create to big an advantage however short lived.

    After 40 years I won’t be following F1 with anything more than a passing interest, instead, I’ll be watching club racing, cars or bikes, at Brands Hatch. Much more fun.

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