The F1 Show to continue throughout August

Sky have today confirmed that The F1 Show will continue throughout August. The editons on 3rd and 24th August will be, as usual, live with Ted Kravitz and Georgie Thompson. The 17th August edition is a review of the 2012 season so far, but it is the edition on 10th August that interests me the most.

In that edition, David Croft will be the presenter, and will have alongside him F1 journalists Kevin Eason (The Times), Jonathan Noble (Autosport) and Bryon Young (Daily Mirror). For regular readers of my blog, you will know from my initial blog posts back in April that one idea I had was for a weekly or bi-weekly show called “The Paddock View” which, in essense, will be doing exactly what The F1 Show will be doing on 10th August. So I am extremely pleased to see Sky doing this for that particular show and look forward to see how it turns out.

I will be, however, disappointed if that turns out to be the only original programme on Sky Sports F1 during August. The rest of the schedule up until at least Sunday 12th August is glittered with repeats, repeats and, yep, you guessed it, repeats. It is as if the schedulers lack imagination. Why not give us something else? There are hours and hours of archive Formula 1 footage sitting on the shelf, being unused which deserve to be shown again. Being brutally honest here, showing repeats of 2012 races throughout August is taking the extremely lazy route. Where’s the classic Formula 1 races for hardcore aficionados to grit their teeth in too and to whet their appetite? It will be plain disappointing if Sky do not show classic races, or a classic season during the August break.

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome. Would you want to see some classic action on Sky Sports F1 instead of 2012 repeats during the Summer break?

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Poll Results: Has the free weekend persuaded you to watch F1 on Sky more?

A third of people watching Sky’s Formula 1 coverage believe that it is better than BBC’s Formula 1 coverage, however, almost 40 percent believe that the coverage Sky offer is worser than their rivals. That is according to an exclusive poll on The F1 Broadcasting Blog.

– 32.6 percent believe Sky coverage is better than BBC’s
– 39.1 percent believe Sky coverage is worser than BBC’s
– 52.9 percent do not have access to Sky Sports F1

The poll was conducted by visitors to this blog between Sunday 22nd July and Saturday 28th July following Sky’s move to air the German Grand Prix free to all Sky and Virgin Media customers as part of their free weekend. 48 people did Question 1, 49 people did Question 4 and 46 people did Question 5, so a relatively large sample size considering the blog has been going for just over three months. Question’s 2 and 3 were dependent on the responses to Question 1. Question 3 had the exact amount of respondents based on the answer to Question 1, however Question 2 had four more than those that answered Question 1. If you’re confused reading that, it should become clearer later.

The first three questions focussed on the platform choice and how they currently watch Sky Sports F1. Question 1 asked readers’ what platform they currently have, with a choice of “Sky”, “Virgin Media” or “Neither”. Unsurprisingly, Sky was the overwhelming winner here, with 54.2% of the 48 respondents having Sky. Virgin Media and the Neither choice were joint in second, both with 22.9% or 11 out of 48. So at the moment, we’ve found out least 22.9% of people cannot watch Sky Sports F1. That number is set to increase, when we see the responses to Question 2 and 3.

Question’s 2 and 3 were tailored specifically at Sky and Virgin Media, with Question 2 only for Sky customers and Question 3 only for Virgin Media customers. While the Virgin Media question had exactly 11 responses, the Sky question had 30 responses. The problem here is that number is 4 more than the 26 out of 48 people that claimed that had Sky at the end of Question 1. Discrepancy? Possibly. Given that the Virgin Media numbers are 100% accurate, I can only assume that four of the people that voted Neither on Question 1 voted on Question 2 when they shouldn’t have. I could randomly remove 4 votes from the poll, but I don’t particularly want to adjust the poll, so I shall take the results at face value, with the sample size of 30 people for the Sky question.

In question’s 2 and 3, 22 out of 30 people said that they already pay for Sky Sports F1, which worked out at 73.3%. This compares directly with only 27.3% (or 3 out of 11 responses) in the Virgin Media question who say they already pay for Sky Sports F1. The difference here is staggering. There is one reason for this in my view, and that is that with Sky you can get Sky Sports F1 via two methods. Either via the Sports pack or via the HD pack. With Virgin Media, however, you can only have the channel by subscribing to all four Sky Sports channels, hence in my view why there is such a large difference in the two numbers. If we merge the Question 2 and 3 responses, we see that 25 out of 41 people, or 61.0% of people with Sky or Virgin Media already pay for Sky Sports F1. If we then work out 61.0% of 37 people from Question 1, we get 22.6 people. Which, if we then look at the 48 total responses, we see that 47.1% of people that conducted the poll already pay for Sky Sports F1. Or, to put it another way, over half of people survey do not have access to Sky Sports F1. Considering this is an F1 blog, that is an extremely large number in my opinion and shows how the deal made last year even prices the most hardcore fans out of watching Formula 1.

For the German Grand Prix, though, with Sky’s free weekend, 77.1% of the people surveyed had access to Sky Sports F1, a difference of over 60%. Going back to Question 2 and 3 though, only 2 out of the 41 total responses said that they would upgrade, or 4.9%. In contrast, 14 out of 41 or over a third, said that they had no intention of upgrading having watched Sky’s German Grand Prix coverage.

Question’s 4 and 5 I will treat independently to Question’s 1, 2 and 3 above. Although I intended for it to be about the German Grand Prix coverage, it is possible that some voted looking at their overall coverage, which is fair enough. Question 4 asked for people’s views on Sky’s coverage, from “Excellent” to “Poor” to “Didn’t watch”. In Question 4, 7 out of the 49 responses said that did not watch Sky Sports F1’s coverage, or 14.3%. Stripping out those 7 responses for the other five parts of Question 4, and we see over 60 percent value Sky Sports F1’s coverage as either Excellent or Very Good. 28.6% voted Excellent, 33.3% voted Very Good out of the 42 responses. 8 out of the 42 (or 19.0%) said the coverage was Good, while 18.0% said the coverage was Fair or Poor.

Question 5 asked people what they thought of Sky’s coverage in comparison with BBC’s Formula 1 coverage. There were three options here “Better”, “No Difference” or “Poorer”. This had mixed results, with clearly a difference of opinion between voters. 15 out of the 46 voters, or 32.6%, believed that the coverage Sky offered was better than BBC’s coverage. 13 voters, or 28.3%, said that there was no difference between Sky’s and BBC’s coverage, while nearly 40% said that Sky’s coverage was poorer than BBC’s Formula 1 coverage. So while there is a high level of praise for Sky Sports F1’s coverage, as seen in Question 4, there is a substantial amount of people that believe the coverage is worser than that offered by BBC last year.

Below is the poll results, in full:

Question 1 – What platform do you have?
26 votes – 54.2% – Sky
11 votes – 22.9% – Virgin Media
11 votes – 22.9% – Neither
=> TOTAL = 48 votes

Question 2 – Sky customers only
22 votes – 73.3% – I have Sky and already pay for Sky Sports F1.
01 votes – 03.3% – I have Sky and am planning to upgrade to watch Sky Sports F1.
07 votes – 23.3% – I have Sky and am not planning to upgrade.
=> TOTAL = 30 votes

Question 3 – Virgin Media customers only
03 votes – 27.3% – I have Virgin Media and already pay for Sky Sports F1.
01 votes – 09.1% – I have Virgin Media and am planning to upgrade to watch Sky Sports F1.
07 votes – 63.6% – I have Virgin Media and am not planning to upgrade to watch Sky Sports F1.
=> TOTAL = 11 votes

Question 2 and 3 – Sky and Virgin Media customers combined
25 votes – 61.0% – I already pay for Sky Sports F1.
02 votes – 04.9% – I am planning to upgrade to watch Sky Sports F1.
14 votes – 34.1% – I am not planning to upgrade.
=> TOTAL = 41 votes

Question 1, 2 and 3 combined
22.6 votes – 47.1% – I already pay for Sky Sports F1.*
14.4 votes – 30.0% – I do not pay for Sky Sports F1.** [Sky and Virgin Media customers]
11.0 votes – 22.9% – I do not pay for Sky Sports F1. [Neither]
=> TOTAL = 48 votes
* worked out from 25 divided by 41 in Q2 and Q3 above multiplied by 37 from Q1 above
** worked out from 16 (2+14) divided by 41 in Q2 and Q3 above multiplied by 37 from Q1 above

Question 4 – How do you rate Sky’s German Grand Prix coverage?
12 votes – 28.6% – Excellent
14 votes – 33.3% – Very Good
08 votes – 19.0% – Good
05 votes – 11.9% – Fair
03 votes – 07.1% – Poor
07 votes – 14.3% – I have not watched Sky Sports F1 this weekend.
=> TOTAL = 49 votes

Question 5 – How do you rate Sky’s German Grand Prix coverage in comparison with BBC’s overall coverage?
15 votes – 32.6% – Sky Sports F1’s coverage was better than the BBC coverage that I have seen
13 votes – 28.3% – Sky Sports F1’s coverage was no better or worser than the BBC coverage that I have seen
18 votes – 39.1% – Sky Sports F1’s coverage was worser than the BBC coverage that I have seen
=> TOTAL = 46 votes

So, that is that. As well as the questions above, several people left comments on the blog, with a range of differing opinions. The comments open will be open on this blog as well, so I welcome your thoughts and opinions now that the poll results are out.

Hamilton’s win helps Hungarian Grand Prix perform well against Olympics backdrop

The move by FIA and FOM to schedule the Hungarian Grand Prix on the opening weekend of the London 2012 Olympic Games may have left a lot to be desired, but nevertheless, the ratings performed solidly.

Sunday’s coverage of the race had 658,000 (5%) on Sky Sports F1 from 11:30 according to Media Guardian, while the highlights on BBC One at 17:00 had 3.64m (20.3%), bringing a total figure of 4.30 million. Being brutally honest here, it would not have mattered whether the race was on BBC One exclusively or not (if we were still in the previous deal), coverage would have been down anyway. So to only be 340,000 viewers down year-on-year shows that the rating is extremely good in the circumstances.

Qualifying on Saturday had 1.5 million on BBC Two alone, again, a good rating in the circumstances with wall-to-wall Olympics coverage on BBC One.

Sky Sports F1 – Top 10 ratings (week ending 22nd July, 2012)

From BARB:

1 – 989k – Live German Grand Prix (Sunday, 11:30)
2 – 608k – Live German Grand Prix: Qualifying (Saturday, 12:00)
3 – 148k – Live German Grand Prix: Practice 3 (Saturday, 09:45)
4 – 100k – Live German Grand Prix: GP2 Feature Race (Saturday, 14:35)
5 – 83k – Porsche Supercup: Britain (Saturday, 11:46)
6 – 82k – Live German Grand Prix: Practice 1 (Friday, 08:45)
7 – 82k – Jenson Button Interview (Saturday, 11:16)
8 – 77k – Jenson Button Interview (Sunday, 10:59)
9 – 75k – German Grand Prix: Qualifying Replay (Saturday, 21:02)
10 – 72k – Live German Grand Prix: Practice 2 (Friday, 12:45)

The first thing I need to note is that the channel reach was the highest ever, with a total reach of 3.515 million viewers, this partly thanks to its free weekend. If you compare it to Sky’s other exclusive races so far however:

– 3.515 million – Germany
– 3.473 million – Malaysia
– 3.419 million – Bahrain
– 3.405 million – Australia
– 3.270 million – Canada

And there is not a huge difference it has to be said between the reach for Germany and the previous highest channel reach for Malaysia.

Nevertheless, there is a marked improvement in the figures above. While Friday’s figures are nothing to write home about, Saturday’s and Sunday’s figures are up notably on normal. The Qualifying figure, GP2 Feature Race figure and the Race day figures were the highest ever respectively for the channel. Despite this, when looking at the full picture:

Qualifying: 0.608m [SSF1 live] + 1.14m [BBC2] + 0.12m [BBC HD] = 1.87 million
<bRace: 0.989m [SSF1 live] + 1.90m [BBC2] + 0.292m [BBC HD] = 3.18 million

Both figures are the lowest since 2008, the race turns out to be the lowest since 2006. You could argue “you’re using full programme averages, that’s unfair!”. But so are all of the other figures I am using, so it is a level playing field. Even if I did use Sky’s race average, which was about 1.5 million, that would be a total of 3.69 million, which would be the lowest figure since 2008. Figures are down year-on-year, whichever way you attempt to spin the figures.

Although the figures are down, I do think it is worth praising the GP2 Series figure. In my opinion, it is extremely important that the figures improve, and that Sky promote GP2 more, as these people are the future of Formula 1. The field features British talent such as James Calado and Max Chilton, yet the series does not get any airtime on Sky Sports News or outside of the main programme. Even ITV4 had a programme in 2008, it is about time Sky gives it a proper intro and outro!

As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome.

The Twitter outlook

It’s nearly Summer! Well, nearly. First there is the small matter of the Hungarian Grand Prix. How did Germany affect things? Let’s find out:

Drivers – The Top 10
01 – 1,043,286 – Jenson Button (McLaren)
02 – 922,645 – Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
03 – 905,801 – Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
04 – 456,170 – Bruno Senna (Williams)
05 – 398,912 – Mark Webber (Red Bull)
06 – 237,296 – Sergio Perez (Sauber)
07 – 233,401 – Pastor Maldonaldo (Williams)
08 – 181,112 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
09 – 164,202 – Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham)
10 – 158,310 – Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)

Drivers – Biggest Increases
01 – 47,940 – Fernando Alonso
02 – 13,510 – Lewis Hamilton
03 – 12,193 – Jenson Button
04 – 6,386 – Mark Webber
05 – 5,244 – Bruno Senna

Drivers – Smallest Increases
01 – 445 – Charles Pic
02 – 609 – Jean-Eric Vergne
03 – 746 – Timo Glock
04 – 870 – Daniel Ricciardo
05 – 1,078 – Nico Hulkenberg

The main thing I need to note here is Fernando Alonso smashing the 900,000 barrier, which means he will certainly be overtaking Lewis Hamilton in the next few days.

Teams – The Top 10
01 – 308,397 – Ferrari
02 – 213,112 – McLaren
03 – 138,600 – Mercedes
04 – 136,853 – Red Bull
05 – 121,231 – Lotus
06 – 81,094 – Caterham
07 – 74,025 – Marussia
08 – 70,651 – Williams
09 – 70,353 – Force India
10 – 65,500 – Sauber

Teams – Biggest Increases
01 – 4,595 – Ferrari
02 – 3,064 – Red Bull
03 – 2,806 – McLaren

Teams – Smallest Increases
01 – 602 – Toro Rosso
02 – 720 – Caterham
03 – 860 – Marussia

Driver and Team statistics as of Tuesday 24th July 2012.