Breakthrough in live broadcast of GP2 and GP3 races holds promise for future of F1
Innovation
Sky TV F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 May 2015   |  10:52 am GMT  |  125 comments

A significant step was announced today in the development of the way live TV pictures are distributed globally from F1 circuits with the news that F1 Management has appointed Tata Communications to carry the live signal for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series, which support the Formula 1 calendar at 12 rounds.

In practical terms this means that they will supply the signal to broadcasters around the world via fibre optic and satellite, starting in Spain this weekend. Why is it significant? Because, although neither side is saying it, this is clearly a trial run for both F1 Management and Tata with a view to one day transmitting F1 Grands Prix this way. One imagines that if the transmission of the support packages goes smoothly, a migration of the F1 signal to this platform will not be too far behind.

F1 mass market broadcast really expanded in the late 1970s and was built on the rise of satellite transmission of live TV pictures. This step towards fibre, installing fixed line connectivity at each race track and sending data and TV signals using a fibre-optic ring around the world has opened up more possibilities in a digital age for internet expansion, two way ‘conversations’ between users and the race track and a host of other ideas, not yet dreamed of.

Bernie Ecclestone

FOM’s then head of TV operations Eddie Baker described the deal with Tata (a sponsor of JA on F1.com) in 2012 as,

“It’s the most significant moment for F1 since the advent of satellites.”

F1’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has famously been suspicious of the internet, but seems to have relented in the past 12 months and has allowed FOM to open up a You Tube channel and to distribute some video material via that and other social channels, as well as an Official F1 app. A revised F1.com website has also expanded video capability, but it is still some way off sites like MotoGP, which have streaming.

An example of what it might look like is NBA Pass, which gives users access to any game they want to watch live on all their devices including mobile for under $100 a season. There is even an application for it on Apple TV.

NBA Season Pass

SKY TV F1

Everyone knows that the future lies in distribution direct to the end user at some point in the future for F1, it’s a question of how long it takes them to get there; for the moment the priority is protecting the value of the TV rights sold to the broadcasters like SKY, BBC and other rights holders.

Speaking in 2012, Baker pointed out that the Tata deal opened the door to endless possibilities,

“It gives him (Ecclestone) the ability to be able to do whatever rights deals he feels are right without limitations,” he said. “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.”

Today’s announcement shows that, three years on, the steps along that pathway are arguably increasing in pace, which is quite exciting for F1 fans. However, they will, of course, be wary of the cost to them of this process. Free to air TV coverage of F1 is an increasingly rare commodity around the world, as it is with football and it’s rare now to find a FTA channel with all 19 F1 rounds showed live. Many countries have adopted the shared model of all races and practice sessions live behind a paywall, like SKY’s offering, with half the races live and the rest highlights on a Free to Air station, such as BBC in the UK or RAI in Italy.

F1 TV

According to Tata Communications’ CEO Vinod Kumar, “Each Formula 1 race demands a range of connected services similar to that of a small city. By consolidating fixed line connectivity needs with Tata Communications, Formula One Management will be able to take the greatest possible advantage of that infrastructure and tap into the versatility, on and off-site support and existing knowledge and experience of our platform and our team

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1

I rarely saw such a long string of comments / reply on any technical or sport aspect of the F1. Any Marketing person should read it and draw the obvious conclusion:
Price asked by pay TVs are maybe insignificant for Bernie alike, but normal people have just so much “extra” to spend for fun, and 20 x a couple of hours in the armchair, watching a screen, won’t compete with the gym subscription, in some cases not even with a fishing party.

2

Ive been watching F1 FTA for the last 25 years here in Australia and a I cant bare the thought of giving money to Foxtel/murdoch for PayTV and even worse the thought that some of my money goes into Bernies pocket. No thanks.

Ive payed the $30 season pass for FIA WEC this year and the coverage has been fantastic. F1 needs to go that way, but they probably wont until bernie thinks he can make more money that way than by selling TV coverage to the foxtel and Sky’s of the world.

Bernie’s stuck in the 70’s model will bite him big time sooner rather than later. Then hopefully the investment companies who own F1 will kick him out on his ass. !

3

F1 Just ned to FIAWEC with their app coverage and live streaming

4

The same one which I couldn’t sign up to in the early hours of the race, so by the time I could and it was more than half way through, wasn’t worth paying for?

It’s amazing to me how bad WECs live timing is. Yeah, it’s still better than F1, but there’s info there that I wan’t, and they don’t make available.

5

I can’t believe it, not one comment on Videopass in MOTOGP which is their internet streaming service.

I am in my second season paying €99/yr I get all the races/testing/practice live and recorded for that. 18 races and all practice. OK sometimes the bandwidth is hit and the picture could be better but at £4 per meeting I really don’t mind.

Some real old school overtaking, so I have to ask what’s so great about the Tata F1 proposed coverage?

6

I am surprised that no-one has mentioned the FIA WEC live streaming site. US$5 for one race & $30 for the complete season by way of comparision

Normal race coverage on one stream with commentators who enjoy their job and a selection of in-car streams that you can select instead.

Not sure if you have to purchase the subscription via an I Phone / Android phone, via but it runs through a standard computer.

7

If you’ve paid for the membership you can login to the app using your username within the app and watch all the channels and timing

8
Torchwood Five

I have a tv-streaming app on my smartphone, that with Wifi access, can stream live tv from dozens of tv stations across the world.

From ABC in the US, to Sky F1 here.

That is an option if you cannot get Formula One on your local television, but already possess a smartphone.

9

Only a journalist would find this remotely exciting. WHo cares who brilliantly F1 looks if the end product itself is utter crap. Indy Cars are undoubtedly the best open wheel series with F1 lagging very distantly behind in their slow, bloated, and overly gaudy karts.

10

James, how do the teams feel about the sport moving towards Pay TV only? Do the falling viewership numbers make it hard for them to attract sponsors? Or is this offset by the fact that they receive more money from TV deals?

It’s gone mostly to Pay TV here in Australia and most people I know have stopped watching it entirely. With the other major sporting codes of cricket, AFL and NRL having their premier games on free to air, pay TV doesn’t offer enough incentive. Netflix has just launched here as well, giving us even less reason to purchase Pay TV.

An option to pay for race coverage through the F1 website would be awesome though.

11

Call me cynical, but I don’t see this leading to much in the way of positive change for the fans. Firstly, it’s almost certainly not about improving the product, but about FOM consolidating and reducing costs (and maybe about the relationship with Tata, who are a big player in India and other markets), and secondly Tata have done a very poor job so far with the live data app and website, which is now a significantly worse experience than last season. Even the payment system didn’t work properly when I tried to sign up.

The quality of the footage and the feed is important, but the bigger issue for fans is the distribution model – currently it’s a hodge podge of deals with free-to-air networks and cable or satellite pay-tv. FOM seem to be phasing out the FTA deals and moving to deals with legacy pay-tv networks, which is insane from a fan perspective because cable and satellite are a dying medium. Streaming internet delivery is the primary way all mainstream content will be delivered in the very near future, and locking yourself into multi-year deals with legacy platforms is a very good way of ensuring that your product won’t be mainstream for much longer. The cable and satellite companies are willing to pay over the odds for content right now because they know their business model is doomed and they want to prop it up for as long as possible. In Australia Foxtel wants as many exclusive content deals as possible, because they want to force people to buy a subscription, even if 99% of their TV viewing is on another platform, just to watch the 1% that only Foxtel has.

Bernie is showing the now-classic signs of a successful 20th C businessman who doesn’t understand the 21st C. He knows who his customers are – they’re the people who give him money for his product. We’re just the product he’s selling them. His objective is to please the customers (TV companies, sponsors), and to extract the most money from each deal.

That mindset worked 20 years ago, even 10, but it doesn’t work now, because the product – the fans – knows that they have options, and has seen a better way of doing things. 99% of my TV watching is on Netflix. I have no broadcast tv receiver, no cable or satellite system. I would happily give Bernie money to be able to stream decent F1 coverage, both live and delayed for the ones I can’t stay up for. But Bernie doesn’t want my money – he wants Foxtel’s money. What he doesn’t seem to realise is that Foxtel and their ilk are going away, very soon now – while they may not die completely for a while, their ability to pay for big deals with content providers will be gone very shortly, because they won’t have enough customers to justify it.

And once they’ve gone, Bernie – ore more likely his successor – will finally be forced to ask me to pay him directly to watch F1, but maybe by then I’ll have found a different hobby.

12

Just to put the mathematics in perspective here, I pay for a $10 per month higher tier to get motogp, formula 1, formula E, and up until last year also DTM, Aussie touring cars and BTCC in the off season.

When they stopped showing the Aussie touring cars in the of season, I didn’t go off searching for an extra subscription to that series. I simply stopped watching.

So I presently pay about $120 extra for a bunch of motor racing channels. I won’t pay $10 per race just for F1. It’s worth possibly $10-$20 per year to me in the overall spectrum of TV that I watch.

Then spare a thought for the teams that make the actual show in F1. Even with the same amount of money going to CVC, this model would represent a massive drop in viewing figures for the series. If the teams think it’s difficult to attract sponsors now, just wait for this monetization model to bite.

I don’t doubt that it is great for the commercial rights holders ability to milk the last drop of fluid from this desiccated cash cow, but it will be the death of almost every team in the series, leaving what remains completely irrelevant and devoid of entertainment value.

We are watching the death throes of a once mighty race series. It’s getting increasingly difficult for me to see a way that the different vested interests could pull back from the precipice of financial disaster.

13
Luke Clements

G’day James,

Sort of related to this, I checked into a hotel the other night, switched on the TV and pay TV just happened to have the WEC cars lined up on the grid at Spa about to start.

I’ve never watched a race, but I thought “you rippa!”. I watched for about an hour and a half(getting very late into the night in Australia) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be difficult not to enjoy snail races around Spa.

Anyway, then I was interested to find out who won etc. so I “liked” WEC on FaceBook and went to bed. Ever since, I’ve had literally dozens of videos from the WEC feed available to view on Facebook. All sorts of race highlights, interviews and even fan footage from Eu Rouge that WEC feeds on to all it’s online fans.

It’s absolutely fantastic, and great model for F1 to learn from. They really do seem behind the times compared to the job WEC does.

If I could watch a WEC race (and had the time) or an F1 race at the moment, I’d probably go with the WEC race. I know it’s a small sample to go on, but I really enjoyed it. The differences in the cars and categories all on the same track. And probably the bit I loved most which was pointed out by one commentator, these guys are going hell for leather for the whole race!

No engine or tyre management crapola. Just 100% the whole way. Great stuff.

Cheers

14
Stone the crows

I agree, WEC at this point is much more interesting than F-1. Used to be, I couldn’t stand to miss an F-1 race, now its ‘eh, no big deal.’

15

I live in Australia and I’d happily pay $100-$200 per year for a live stream of all F1 sessions, rather than pay $50+ per month for FOXTEL (whose coverage is rubbish anyway). FOXTEL should offer a one-off F1 package, but they don’t and probably never will.

16

Pay-subscription global streaming service via an app (andriod, apple, xbox, ps4, etc), and web-based access. Just like UFC (Fight Pass) – for which we pay $10 a month. Throw in the archived race catalog and some interview coverage – F1 could probably justify $25 a month for that . I’d pay it.

17

I said this in reply to a comment above but I want to add to it in a stand alone comment.

I’d bet everything I have on the next contract been either Sky or BT Sport, I’d even be surprised to see any live FTA content.

Live sport for FTA broadcaster’s is a dying thing as the costs involved in producing the broadcast’s is now too high for the budget’s the FTA broadcasters have. Thats why ITV dropped F1 before the end of there contract (Amid internal budget cuts & problems finding program sponsors for F1) & why BBC went to Sky with the idea of the shared coverage the UK now has.

Its not so much what they are asked to Pay Bernie for the rights, Its the actual cost involved in producing there own coverage. Live sport cost’s a fortune to produce/broadcast & a sport like F1 which travels the globe every other week is even more so & thats is a big part of why the general trend the past 10 years has been live sport moving to PayTV.

Live F1 & live sport overall on FTA to TV is going to disappear over the next 10 years, Its going to move to PayTV & subscription based online delivery.

To be perfectly honest the only thing stopping the subscription based online content from happening now is the PayTV broadcasters who still have exclusive contracts And/Or are unwilling to let whats keeping them alive from been available stand alone/cheaper elsewhere. Additionally there’s the problem of not everyone having internet speeds capable of handling the live streams which is preventing the rights owners from really pushing for it just yet, As soon as the number of those with speeds fast enough hits a certain point then you will see the move start.

18

“I suspect the BBC pays for Wimbledon rights, and then sells this content on around the world.”

Wimbledone TV rights are owned by AELTC & not the BBC so the other broadcasters around the world have to buy the rights from AELTC & not the BBC.

Should also be noted that the BBC have been looking to enter a shared TV deal for Wimbledon which would see much of the 2 weeks on PayTV with the BBC retaining highlights & the live finals-

http://bit.ly/1Ih6DWG

19

Something to consider when looking at the viewer numbers is what the current figures are been compared against.

Its true that there has been a drop since 2012, But the decline is when based off 2009/2010/2011 which were 3 years that saw a spike in F1’s TV figures.

When you look beyond those 3 years you actually see that the current F1 viewership figures on still higher than what they were for most of the 2000’s & that there still strong overall.

Looking just at the UK as there the averages I have to hand right now these are the averages per-year.

2009-2011 – 4.4m/4.3m/4.6m.

2001-2008 – 4m/3.7m/3.6m/3.1m/3.1m/2.9m/3.8m/3.9m.

From 1992-2000 the figures were 5.1m/3.9m/4.1m/4.5m/5.3m/4.6m/4.8m/4.5m/4.1m.

Looking at the figures from 2012-2014 where we had the Sky/BBC shared deal in the UK:

3.92m/4.06/4.01m.

20

It’s lovely that you have an inside track on how broadcasters regard the spend on F1. The point surely is that F1 is losing viewers, therefore relevance. Yes, we expect more than a commentary from London on a summary feed, and we don’t want to pay a lot, and we have other things we can spend our money on.

The challenge for F1 is to stay relevant in that environment.

21

I don’t agree, it’s absolutely the fee demands of F1 which mean the BBC are not prepared to pay that premium for F1 when they have a broad remit and other sports to cover. Sky can budget the cost as part of their strategy to capture customers for Sky’s other offerings and get extra payments for advertising as well as generate extra revenue by slicing their offering for extra sport, extra movies, extra ‘family’ content.

Meanwhile F1 fracture their offering to generate income by offering lap data separately, and then soon what? extra commentary, extra in car, extra analysis.

I see that Autocar are rowing back from their paywall by offering more free content before subscription. Presumably because of falling numbers. Personally I switched from Autocar to Yahoo Sport (same content), but in the end the adverts/moronic user comments lead me to switch that off as well.

F1 seems to have reached the absolute limit of how much money it can extract from the paying public. No wonder they are pressuring the teams to race more cheaply ‘for the show’, we won’t notice right?

It’s a long slippery slope, try and enjoy the ride.

22

I suspect the BBC pays for Wimbledon rights, and then sells this content on around the world. Very different to paying Bernie 2m/race for the right to their feed and passes for a truckload of staff. I have loved F1 for a long, long time, but it is a minority sport, and it will continue to be so. It might be on a par with tennis, but is not the Premier League. Bernie can inflate and massage the figures all he likes, but someone watching a 30 second insert on the news does not count. It is not so long ago that we had the race feed and nothing else, shoved out without fanfare on BBC2, with Murray +1 commentating over the TV feed from a small studio in London. Let’s get real here.

23

“I don’t agree, it’s absolutely the fee demands of F1 which mean the BBC are not prepared to pay that premium for F1”

Trust me the fee itself isn’t the problem, The BBC were happy to pay it when they got the contract in 2008 & as I said what Bernie ask’s is actually not that much when compared to what other sports are asking. BBC pay more for several other sports they show for instance.

I think i’ve said this before on here but back in 2008 when BBC did the deal to show F1, They worked out the deal with Bernie & as I say were happy to pay what he was asking (£40m a year as I recall, Same figure they pay for Wimbledon), At som epoint someone from BBC contacted ITV to get a broad idea of what they could expect to spend to produce the coverage & when they were told they realized they had badly underestimated the figure & were going to hit trouble down the road with regards to budget.

Remember that they have to send out TV production trucks & all the equipment that goes with it, The staff to run it & handle things like editing, B-roll etc.. They have the on-air staff & the camera crews that work in the pits/paddock, You have to then pay for hotel’s for the crew & to feed them on top of there actual salaries. You then have to pay for the satellite uplink to send the coverage back to base for broadcast. Also consider the cost of producing the various features you see in the pre-race shows now & of course the transportation costs of sending everything out to each race.

Its all that where the real expense lies & its all that which FTA broadcasters are struggling with, Especially as the more advanced technology used in Live TV production now has seen the cost’s of the equipment needed rise.

With regards to the BBC, They had ways to cut production costs which woudl have allowed them to retain there full live F1 coverage, They simply decided against them. For instance there was talk of cutting coverage of practice, Producing the Pre/Post race coverage from a London studio & sending a skeleton crew out to races (Just enough to have a pit/paddock reporter) & there was talk of ditching the Red Button coverage, ditching the extra content feeds like the in-car camera channel, timing, driver tracker etc.. & reducing the length of Pre/Post race.

The BBC refused to do a lot of that because it was felt these were all things viewers expect now.

24
Stone the crows

Easier access and more content should be the first priorities. As others have posted, in most locales around the world you have to pay for several packages in order to watch a race, and in some cases cannot watch the practices or qualifying. I’d pay for internet feed, since I’ve had to pay for a lot of other channels that I didn’t want in order to get Formula one on a channel that I may not even watch the rest of the year when the F-1 season is over. Additional production should be put in place, so that viewers can watch a part of the race that they would prefer rather than what one network has decided upon. I’m sure that when the USGP is on the folks in South America would like to check on Sergio Perez’ progress, or the Paulistas on Massa, etc. etc. This would also help with the criticism of F-1 being a boring procession at times, if viewers can see what else is happening on the track besides Hamilton vs. Rosberg yet again. Another thing they need to do recognize is that quite a lot of people are giving up on cable and satellite TV and distribute their shows the next day to streaming providers such as Hulu. Hopefully Bernie will recognize the plethora of revenue streams available and take advantage of them in a way that will benefit the fans and the sport.

25

Stone the Crows,

Your last sentence should be. Bernie will recognize the plethora of revenue streams available and take advantage of them in a way that will benefit Bernie.

26
Stone the crows

Point well taken, I’m sure if Bernie’s recognizing the possibilities of expanding the distribution of F-1 feed he’s also considering how he can increase the size of his own piece of the pie.

27

I’ll never pay to watch cars covered in advertising, driving on tracks surrounded by hoardings. If Mercedes, Honda, Renault, Red Bull, etc. want me to watch, make it free.

28

If I was sponsoring a F1 team I would want maximum exposure, if my “audience” is being reduced by pay per view I would think again. Cost control may be forced by a lack of sponsorship.

29

Not sure I see too many cars covered in advertising these days! The only sponsors I can name from memory on any car is Martini on the Williams rear wing. The rest are just team names, Merc, Honda, Redbull etc.

30

You mean Mercedes Benz Petronas, McLaren Honda, Redbull Infiniti, with Shell, Tag Heur, Santander, Kapersky, Fiat, Hublot, Johnnie Walker, aigo, mobil etc. you mean?

31

Exactly – but If you don’t have a Rolex Berine doesn’t care…

Tv – I pay for

Electricity – I pay for

F1 covered in advertising – should be free (money made on advertising)

Now Bernie has people paying for very heavy advertising on their TVs. Either have free advertised F1 or remove all advertising at the circuits and cars and have it as a pay service.

32

I’d be happy to pay for a premium yearly subscription service that’s competitively priced, providing it is premium.

I want to go to a reliable site on race day, stream a live race, practice and qualifying, choose which in car cameras I want to watch the entire race, switch off commentary and listen to in car radio chatter, look at the live timing and scoring and telemetry data all from one easy to use website.

If I’ve missed a race or incident then I can access all of the video footage anytime.

33

Maybe I’m grabbing the wrong end of the stick here, but would it not have been relevant to get the reaction of, for example, Sky F1 to accompany this article? They will be aware that, in the long term, their future is under threat so I can’t see that the value of the TV rights can be protected now that the technology – and clear intention – to put them out of business is almost upon us. Or is it a bargaining tool? “Give us more and bigger pots of gold, and we won’t go ahead with our plans for direct distribution.” Now, obviously, it’s hard to imagine honourable businessmen adopting such an approach, but the thought did just cross my mind.

34

Why would it put them out of business? They may be the broadcast partner of something like this for their territories? They may buy F1..there are all kinds of possibilities and they will be as alive to the next steps in this industry as anyone

35

“They may buy F1”

No thanks, don’t want Murdoch to own F1.

36

Well, as I said, I may have misunderstood, but In the article you say that “the future lies in distribution direct to the end user”. This implies to me that they can do without a broadcast partner.

37

I am sceptical this or any other corporate tie-up will lower my monthly money-out-the door. Theoretically all these “triple-play” or “quad-play” packages that the phone/TV companies have come up with over the last few years should’ve saved my combined Sky+Phone+Mobile+Internet bill … but hasn’t it.

Innovations such as this _should_ allow me to pay less because I want F1+Cycling+Cricket but not football… but somehow I doubt it will happen!

38

Sadly Sky (or other pay-TV broadcaster) will see this “innovation” as a threat to their cosy monopoly, then pay an insane fee to FOM to maintain their exclusivity for the UK market, and then pass those costs on to their entire customer base.

Note the recent football deal and the subsequent increase in costs…. Sky standard entertainment packages are taking a bigger increase in cost than the sports ones to fund their bidding hubris (£3 increase for entertainment pack, extra £1.50 increase for sports pack IIRC), so the evidence says that when Sky pays stupid money for sporting rights their entire customer base pays through the nose (whether they want any sports at all, let alone the sport in question).

I’ve been a long-term F1 and football fan, but the Sky pay-TV model has killed both for me to the point I cancelled Sky a few months ago on principle.

39

Well it would be easier if all races were on BBC.
We pay enough for a TV Licence &[mod]
Bring back full F1 race schedule on the Beeb.
Even on the radio we have only the 3rd practice live & Quali & the race.
The rest you go online to website & buffer your way through FP1 FP2.
“Brundle et al” seem to enjoy being on a limited audience pay to watch channel.
Well what can anyone do Bernie CVC has everyone in a Knacker Grip !

40

The BBC wanted out and it was them who went to Sky to do a deal, so if you are going to point the finger, point it at the BBC.

The BBC had a contract to cover it all, but they didn’t want to. You’re argument only works if the BBC or any other FTA broadcaster wants to cover it all live, the simple answer is that they don’t.

41

I agree with you Andy.

BBC are to blame but its also F1 asking for a higher payout from global broadcasters in the bidding wars.

Murdoch & his media company can outbid most of the other tv companies.

BT Sports may outbid Sky next time, bud a strategic partnership may allow both media organisations to take control of the whole show.

F1 has over inflated it’s position financially within the sports arena, hoping for quick short term gains while the company implodes.

I wish the BBC would spend more on sports than it does on soap operas like Eastenders.

42

Now the BBC have killed the Top Gear cash cow they will have even less money so I won’t be holding my breath. Poor old DC will be down the job centre.

43
Mansell Mania

About the only things the BBC have left now is Snooker and the Boat Race.

ITV have the Touring Cars – so maybe the BBC can promote Sunday morning Banger racing?

44

I do believe the contract for TV rights in the UK is up for “discussion” from the 2018 season……….

You can watch all races live though on your PC via VIPBOX. I watched the races in Texas and Brazi via them, and although a bit “blotchy” and the picture sometimes cuts in and out (kind of like the turbo lag in the 80s……….) it’s not a bad feed. And it’s free!

45
Mansell Mania

2018 will probably mean the end of any live races. And a move to pay per view

46

Isnt VIPBOX a bit piratey? Not making a value judgement, in fact, if this money grab continues, it will just encourage it.

47

“I do believe the contract for TV rights in the UK is up for “discussion” from the 2018 season……….”

I’d bet everything I have on the next contract been either Sky or BT Sport, I’d even be surprised to see any live FTA content.

Live sport for FTA broadcaster’s is a dying thing as the costs involved in producing the broadcast’s is now too high for the budget’s the FTA broadcasters have. Thats why ITV dropped F1 before the end of there contract (Amid internal budget cuts & problems finding program sponsors for F1) & why BBC went to Sky with the idea of the shared coverage the UK now has.

Its not so much what they are asked to Pay Bernie for the rights, Its the actual cost involved in producing there own coverage. Live sport cost’s a fortune to produce/broadcast & a sport like F1 which travels the globe every other week is even more so & thats is a big part of why the general trend the past 10 years has been live sport moving to PayTV

48

James,

If Tata’s system is the way forward, what is the current system?

is it not fibre and satellite also, but just belong to someone else (not-TATA)? What’s new about this new system apart from the owner of the infrastructure?

JOS

49

Satellites

50

As a life-long F1 enthusiast I used to watch every race live irrespective of the time it was broadcast.

Since the BBC stopped broadcasting more than half the races, I’ve been watching less and less. I also take a more detached interest in F1 in general.

Moving to an subscription-only FOM direct broadcasting model will mean I will probably stop watching altogether. There are plenty of other interesting things to do on a Sunday.

I am nearer to 70 than 50 and, yes, I could afford a Rolex if I wanted one but Is this really what Bernie wants ?

51

I sympathise Monza 71, I too would not loose much sleep if CVC cuts me off. I’m a Seiko fan and would not want a Rolex, so I’m of no use to Bernie anyway.

52
Mansell Mania

It’s sad what they’ve done to us isn’t it

53
Stephen Taylor

James , whilst I appreciate F1 now has Youtube channel I think the content they (FOM) upload is rather poor. I think it would be good if they uploaded some full features and 10-15 minutes of classic race highlights.

54

It all sounds very impressive, but it is getting expensive this being an F1 fan business! I pay the extra for the SKY package as I find it incredibly irritating watching a highlights package, as I am often monitoring battles further down the field, and if the action skips a couple of laps then you miss the outcome. Factor in a couple of grand stand tickets for Silverstone this year and my outlay goes past 4 figures! Does this allow me to complain about the poor quality of the camera work at the circuits? Or the sometimes terrible choices made by the director? I have moaned on here before about the bizarre decision to make the fastest cars on earth look as slow as possible with wide panning shots etc, and even at the last race the director was apparently unable to understand the big story in the closing stages was Kimi catching Nico, he preferred to show us lap after lap of Vettel not overtaking Bottas!

At some point the bigwigs have to realise that if you charge more and more for a product, you have to improve it by a commensurate amount, the coverage was a bit shaky in the old days, but it was free, it has got better since then, but not enough to justify the outlay.

55

I fully agree. I find myself shouting at the TV when there is some on track action and the director cuts to show people in the pits (typically the prat perch) looking pensive or a bit glum. I tune in to watch cars racing not engineers looking at monitors – I can do that at work!

I must admit I’ve enjoyed the WEC on Motors TV. It is something I wouldn’t have watched if I hadn’t stumbled across the last race of the 2014 season at Intelagos. It is, after all, free to watch. If it was behind a paywall i wouldn’t have watched it. The race at Spa was interesting, the length of the race allowed me to dip in and out during the afternoon. Catching a couple of the LMP1 cars go side by side through Eau Rouge is my racing highlight of the year. The cars look fast and tyres last forever. I also got the impression the drivers enjoyed driving the cars. Roll on Le Mans.

56

You make a good point about watching the WEC, how is anyone going to stumble across F1 if it is all pay per view? The next generation of F1 fans will struggle to even find the sport.

57

Tim your frustrations are mine, and very well put.

Only the other day I had a moan here about the broadcast quality. As the sky/ FOM broadcast comes to me via virgin, we don’t get the interactive bits from FOM every race, maybe only half the races or less.

But I get to watch the race live. Apart from JA on fp fridays,I don’t like the bbc output or the DC/ EJ stuff, and while there is Brundle on sky, he contributes less than Hill and Johnny Herbert, unfortunately.

When Raikkonen retires in 2017 or whenever, I will continue to enjoy F1, but I won’t be paying anyone a cent from then on 🙂

58

Phil, to be honest avoiding EJ’s ramblings was a large part of my decision to go with the Sky coverage! The programme itself is very good and there is plenty of added content, but the feed from the tracks is beyond their control. I wonder if any of the decision makers ever watch the TV feed? I guess if they want to see what an F1 car looks like blasting through a series of corners they can just look out of their window, they probably don’t though…..

59

I’m wondering how many cars will be left on the grid –

And how many fans will remain world-wide –

By the time F1 adopts that ‘direct distribution’ model.

And the cost? It’ll have to be free –

If they procrastinate much longer.

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