Formula 1 has today confirmed that its new live streaming product – an OTT platform called F1 TV -will be online before the start of the new F1 season. Access will cost users between US$8 and US$12 a month. There will also be a non-live OTT platform at reduced fee.
Perhaps timed to co-incide with the influential Mobile World Congress event, currently taking place in Barcelona, this new online platform will take F1 direct to the fans for the first time, by-passing broadcasters, hence the name OTT (Over The Top).
For the pilot season the service will be available in Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and much of Latin America. The service will be available in English, French, German and Spanish.
Access will initially be available through desktop and web, with mobile apps and TV apps being phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android, enabling users to watch on a range of different devices at no additional cost.
Fans in the UK will not be covered by the plan and nor will those in Italy – this season F1 will be exclusively live behind a paywall on SKY TV in Ferrari’s home country and next year the same will apply in the UK.
According to a Formula 1 statement:
“Formula 1 fans will get commercial-free live streams of each race with multi language commentary. In addition, the service will provide exclusive access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. F1 TV Pro will have unique feeds not available on any other platform with the capability of multi-level personalisation.
“Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and when they access it. All of practice, qualifying and races, will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre and post-race interviews. Subscribers will be able to watch live races of the main support series, the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup, among others.”
The cheaper F1 TV Access service will provide live race timing data and radio commentary, as well as extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. F1 is also delving into its rich video archive to provide lots of historic footage of great moments from the past.
“Live streaming video is an exciting space changing almost daily,” said F1’s head of Digital Frank Arthofer.
”F1 TV subscription products are clearly and centrally aimed at our hardest core fans, and we are firm believers that while we are bringing a new audience to the sport, we must always remain focused on delivering products and experiences that serve the most avid F1 fans.”
This is the game changer that we wrote about in 2012 when Bernie Ecclestone concluded a connectivity deal with Tata Communications (a sponsor of JA on F1.com) which provides fibre optic real time connectivity. They will provide the CDN and connectivity services to distribute F1 TV globally.
It means that F1 can have a direct relationship with its fans and once developed it can upsell the product, giving Ferrari fans access to more exclusive Ferrari content, for example. This is not something that is mentioned in the release information, but it is a natural direction to go to next, with a revenue sharing model with teams.
What do you think of this development? Would you be interested in paying $8 a month to access the F1 OTT service? Leave your comments in the section below