What you’ve been waiting for? F1 TV launches live streaming OTT platform
Innovation
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Feb 2018   |  4:32 pm GMT  |  359 comments

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.


How will F1 TV work?

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

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1

Responding to a very encouraging email addressed to me two weeks ago, I subscribed to the F1 TV Access package. Part of the subscription process involved identifying my location – UK.

On trying to access the service I kept getting an automated message that my region (UK) was unsupported.Thinking this was a mistake, I tried to use the chat facility.

Although I found out later that this service only worked during US working hours, I sat like a dummy waiting for a reply. Eventually I gave up and phoned the UK support line. The voice said that I was in a queue. What it didn’t say was that this service, too, didn’t open for another 5 hours.

Eventually I emailed an enquiry. 27 hours later (the promise is a reply in 24 hours) I got an automated reply. It appears that although this truly dreadful service does not cover the UK, they are still happy to sign up UK subscribers.

I’m not sure about USA laws, but in most of the civilised world this is called fraud. I should have known it was too good to be true – once you have shaken hands with Murdoch your sport is lost. Shame – I used to enjoy my F1.

2

Couldn’t agree more. I never used to miss a session on the box and attended several races a year in person. Now other forms of motorsport get my money instead – in the last 12 months I’ve done WEC, WRC, Indycar, EDRC all for a hell of a lot less than I would have given FOM – so I’m actually quite grateful to Sky for putting it behind a pay wall.

3

Brilliant! I’m amazed at the negative comments here, but then we’ve all learned that this kind of crap is what we have to deal with on the Internet.

Sign me up! If it’s half as good as I imagine, it will finally put F1 ahead of any other forms of racing in the US and could increase US fan interest enormously. Of course there will be limitations, but we go forward, I would imagine the technology will allow even more custom experiences.

4

I think your amazement is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what most people are frustrated about. Yes it is a good service, yes it does have the potential to increase the fan-base, but it’s not available in the very markets that need it the most and that have (or perhaps more accurately, had) the biggest fan-base, where people are switching off in droves.

5

Such a shame it won’t be available in the UK. I already subscribe to Sky Q, so I watch all sessions in Ultra HD, and I also subscribe to the F1TV service with the extra team radio & driver tracker, but the ability to customise which onboards you can select, as well as access to all 20 cars onboard cameras is something I am willing to pay for to supplement my viewing. For those commenters watching Channel 4’s offering, it is terrible in comparison to Sky. If you can’t afford it, cut down on your nights out, alcohol & cigarettes & you’ll get a much better offering with Sky

6

I would rather use cash as toilet paper and set fire to it than hand any part of it over to the filth that is Rupert Murdoch.

7

If they (whoever the greedy geniuses are that think they can milk us for $$$$) think I am going to pay to squint at a little computer screen to watch these races, well, they are WRONG. If I can’t watch this on my TV, and if I can’t backup/slomo to study the on-track events, and if they don’t bring back the Matchett-Hobbs-et-al crew, I am done. I have plenty of other things to do with ten hours of my time on weekends, without having to fight and dig…and PAY….to watch crummy race coverage.

8

A shame it won’t be available in the UK but no surprise. I have a videopass for motogp and it’s brilliant. F1 I just make do with C4 as I’ve lost a lot of interest in it now after it left the BBC. No way on earth would I be held to ransom to silly prices.

9

This is fantastic news, this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for for the last few years, finally I can watch ALL the races live, not just the ones on channel 4. O, wait, no, I can’t I live the U.K. Rupert Murdoch hasn’t had a penny from me and never will. We will miss you F1, rest in peace.

10

When is this service going live, Australian GP is this weekend, I was hoping this will be on before that, hope it comes early April. $8-$12 a month is not an issue

11

Yes but I am in the UK :((((((

12

Yes, I’m interested for$8-12/month, it’s a no brainer.

When is it actually launching though!? Australia is coming up…

PS most of Netflix is junk and presumably F1 tv will allow more than 1 sign-on so share with a friend

13

So for the same money I can watch Netflix every day all month OR two F1 races??

14

Completely welcome it and I’d pay more than that to have proper HD feeds with the multiple views etc. Am in Australia, like many here, and am paying Foxtel about $50/month. While we get all practices and quite a bit of pre-race, the on-demand follow-up is very limited. I’d not bother with Foxtel but for F1; it’s a rubbish service for my tastes.

15

For die-hard F1 fans in the US, this is both encouraging and perplexing. Encouraging, because previous F1 attempts to be digitally relevant were pitifully inadequate — and this should remedy that, while catering to the hard-core fan. Perplexing, because Liberty say they want more races in the US — but they just killed the great US broadcast team of Matchett, Hobbs, and Diffey. Giving die-hard US fans the Sky feed isn’t a problem. Giving it to people who might, with the right introduction and guidance, learn to understand the sport, it’s fantastic history, and it’s level of innovation and engineering expertise — well, that’s just not going to build the fan base in the USofA. Perhaps this will play out differently as the season progresses, but I am confused by some of the mixed messages that Liberty seem to be sending…

16

I would pay that in Britain but it p**send me off that next year all us British fans will have to pay sky for the sports package just to watch f1. Can’t watch it any other way. Why oh why.

17

F1 has done an excellent job of dissuading British fans from watching and interacting with the sport. Ten years ago I watched all available races and sessions on TV, attended races regularly, subscribed to F1 magazines, bought the T-shirts and contributed (and even hosted for a time) a popular Fantasy F1 league. Over the years FoM have found new and increasingly inventive ways of persuading me not to do any of the above – TV put behind a pay-wall, racing which has become both mundane and unspectacular, even the FF1 league was sent a cease and desist letter! I have kept up to date with my Autosport subscription (online at least), I suppose old habits die hard… and of course there are other forms of motorsport whose popularity is heading in the opposite direction to F1’s.

18

Thanks

I want to subscribe

19

The only way to get full f1 in the UK is to subscribe to Sky sports, which is basically football. Any deal to get F1 only is a great deal.

20
Hornershaftedwebber

Sky now offer just the f1 channel for 18 quid a month.

So no football………..

21

which is a BS deal

22

This so Awesome, to believe it could actually happen this year. I have registered but have had no response as yet from the F1 TV Pro gurus. I am very happy about this. I watched a lot of the 24 of Daytona this year from the in car cameras. It was very good to watch , switch view and watch from a different car. It is just fitting that the Tops in Racing Sports should have the Tops in access to content for the Fans. Thank you

David

23

Sure would. Coverage has sucked since the major networks took over.

24

It’s a shame it’s taken them so long to do this, and frustrating that we aren’t going to get it in the UK for several more years. Until OTT comes through, I’m either going to stick to highlights (if they’re still available FTA), use a portable dish to get the RTL coverage or look into some kind of illegal streaming setup. It’s not just the money, although that is a lot considering I won’t watch much other sport. The issue for me is that the Sky is a badly managed company with terrible customer service and shoddy customer-side infrastructure they demand you to pay to fix when it goes wrong. Not only is Virgin a lot cheaper, but their customer experience is much better. The services are far more reliable and they own the equipment, so you aren’t liable when it breaks.

And of course, all that’s before you get to the political ramifications of giving money to the Murdoch’s. Sorry, F1, but you’ve hitched your wagon to the wrong horse in the UK and I think you’re going to suffer for it.

25

I would buy it. I now pay a lot more for a Malaysian cable subscription of 200 channels and I only want F1. The service is flakey and full of adds, so I would be a certain starter.

26

For the first time I watched a big fight live streamed but can’t stop and back up to re-watch bits nor record to watch again. What I’m getting up at 4am to watch? I’ve got a bad feeling that I’m not going to like this but hope I’m wrong. Been a race fan over sixty years now including a trip from US to Brands in 1984.

27

and as per usual, Australia gets bupkiss ….!!!!!

28

Does anyone know if the F1 TV Access highlights will be available in the UK at launch?

29

They have missed a trick in the UK. I would happily pay their subscription for this but I won’t pay a penny to Sky so from next year I won’t be watching F1 anymore and probably won’t attend any more races as I will be out of touch with it all. It has been a great 30+ years but all good things must come to an end.

30

Couldn’t agree more. There’s a whole world of motor sport out there, F1 has done me a huge favour.

31

I feel exactly the same way…they keep wondering why interest in F1 is dying is because it’s not free to air live…Don’t they realise that by making it free and thus building a considerably larger (& younger fan base) that they would probably make more money through merchandising, advertising & actual race attendance….makes me SO damn cross…I’ve been watching F1 since I was 7 and am now 52. 🙁

32

I dont understand in a world where is it so easy to fake your computer location, why you simply couldn’t purchase this option regardless of where you live. Just like you watch the iPlayer when your ‘on vacation’ from the UK.

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