The Indian Grand Prix coverage on BBC One and Sky Sports F1 peaked with 4.45 million viewers, overnight viewing figures show. The race, screened live on Sky Sports F1 peaked with 1.16 million at 11:00, whilst the BBC One repeat peaked with 3.29 million viewers at 15:10. Whilst that looks okay, year-on-year it is a steep drop, as last years inaugural peaked with a mammoth 7.34 million viewers – 5.55 million at 09:35 and 1.79 million at 15:55 on BBC One.
Last year, BBC One averaged 4.14 million for its live broadcast from 08:30 to 12:00, with a further 1.41 million for the re-run to bring an average of 5.55 million viewers. BBC One’s highlights programme this year brought to 2.78 million the sofa from 14:05 to 15:45. Sky Sports F1’s live broadcast averaged 561,000 viewers from 08:00 to 12:45. If we were to use the average from 08:30 to 12:00 (ie – the same slot as BBC One last year), the average would increase to a healthier 705,000 viewers. Nevertheless, combining that figure and the BBC One highlights figure brings you out with 3.48 million viewers, another low figure in a season that will probably record the lowest average since 2008.
Can we blame Vettel then? Well, not really. After all, last year’s figure was so high, yet the title was already decided! In fact, last year’s Indian Grand Prix figure was unusually high as it is very rare to see an Asian based race over 5 million viewers. So I’m not sure Vettel’s dominance is the cause when last year’s figures were quite frankly, astonishing for Formula 1. One thing that interests me from the breakdowns is that Sky Sports F1’s coverage at 08:00 began with 140,000 viewers. After the race between 11:30 and 12:00 it hovered in the mid-200,000 mark, but then at 12:00 the figures nearly by half to under 140,000 viewers. I can imagine why fans would tune out, after all it was not the most exciting of races, but the BBC F1 Forum still does well for BBC after live races, and it has been running for now four years so it must be somewhat successful. The sudden drop at 12:00 just seemed to confuse me. Maybe four hours constantly is the saturation point for people watching Formula 1?
In any case, the figures are a drop year-on-year and continues a run of mediocre viewing figures.
Thanks to gslam2 for kindly sending me the 2012 breakdown on Digital Spy Forums.