Formula One Management “may consider” live streaming online

Formula One Management (FOM) are considering removing the online element from every Formula One broadcasting contract and setting up their own hub over on Formula1.com, reports say this morning. The news is from Christian Sylt and Autoweek.com.

The important and vital part of the article is a quote from page 144 of 498 of Formula One’s planned flotation on the Singapore Stock Exchange:

We are in the initial stages of developing our digital media assets. The right to stream races online is typically licensed out to our broadcast partners around the world but we may consider changing our model and exploiting them independently in the future. As the exclusive rights holder to the World Championship, we have the benefit of controlling both our online platform and content which gives us a wide range of opportunities to monetise our rights, including through internal and third party solutions. We will continue to enhance the digital experience over time for our fans by exploring new opportunities including allowing access to premium digital content as well as adding additional language options to our website.

Considering how sluggish Formula One Management has been regarding anything concerning digital, I’m not sure how likely this is, when you consider how long it took the sport switch to widescreen (2007) and then the switch to high definition (2011). It is also light years behind where social media is concerned, as I have outlined before.

Past history would suggest that FOM would not push for any changes in the broadcasting landscape, but strange things have happened. If the above did happen though, they would have to face up to the fact that the rights that broadcasters pay as a result would be reduced. Take BBC at the moment. I can (for their live races) watch online live with BBC iPlayer and have the ability to rewind, pause and fast forward if watching on a delay. I can also watch races via BBC iPlayer on a 7 day delay. iPlayer is a fairly significant part of their structure, and I am not sure they would be too pleased if you removed that, and nor would viewers. BBC currently pay in the region of £15 million to £20 million. Would they want to pay that if what they could offer was reduced? From a fan perspective, I wouldn’t want to pay for something that I previously had the opportunity to watch free. If I am unable to watch via the TV, I would not want to pay an extra X pound to watch online, where is the incentive to do that?

I think FOM should definitely consider this though, but it needs to be exploited only for countries where Formula One is starting out and is on the rise. Formula One is not on the rise in the UK. Yes, it is stable but there is no real movement (if anything, it is going slightly down). If this comes into force, FOM should target those countries where Formula One is on the rise, and without online rights as they can they entice viewers to begin watching the sport and to watch online.

As always though, the price has to be right. For example, charging someone £9.99 would be too expensive any day of the week, but streaming a race for £1.99 may be a popular option. Of course, there is also the potential for archive rights to play a part here if FOM really wanted to head down that route.

Will it happen though? We shall see.

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11 thoughts on “Formula One Management “may consider” live streaming online

  1. Let me translate that for you.

    ‘We are in the initial stages of developing our digital media assets. The right to stream races online is typically licensed out to our broadcast partners around the world but we may consider changing our model and exploiting them independently in the future’.

    Translation:-

    We’ve only just realised that we could have made yet more money by withholding some of the content we sell to broadcasters and selling it directly to the viewer.

    ‘As the exclusive rights holder to the World Championship, we have the benefit of controlling both our online platform and content which gives us a wide range of opportunities to monetise our rights, including through internal and third party solutions. We will continue to enhance the digital experience over time for our fans by exploring new opportunities including allowing access to premium digital content as well as adding additional language options to our website’.

    Translation:-

    We want our cake and eat it, so we’ll make you either pay big money for TV coverage or small money to watch a laggy, pixelated online version.

    So we’ll get income from Sky, income from individuals and we’ll be able to tell sponsors viewing figures are ‘increasing’, WIN, WIN, WIN!!!!

    Gotta love FOM, for a sport they look a lot like dubious hedge fund managers.

  2. I’d most definitively be prepared to pay a little premium for this. Since we in Sweden has a broadcaster that doesn’t even comes close to provide what SkyF1 does.

  3. I will admit to being terrified by what CVC/FOM might charge for this. If they charge Soft Pauer so much in licence fees they have to charge customers £18 for the live timing App then they have no idea about realistic pricing. I’d think they try £12.99 for the entire weekend or £9.99 for just the race.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they Undercutt’ed Sky tbh. But yeah, it’s an open ball park really, if they offered full, uninterupted (i.e. including all pre-race stuff and all the press conferences – that Sky cut out in favour of their own stuff) coverage of all the 5 main feeds (World Feed, Pitlane, Onboard Mix, Driver Tracker & timing) then they could afford to charge more. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did their own pre-features too, and made them available in the days leading up to the race, similar to how the FIA GT1 streaming worked last year.

  4. This does not seem like a good idea as I pay a large sum for sky f1 and often watch sessions on my laptop when I can’t get to the tv so they are proposing that I should pay a load more just so I can watch it on my laptop. Could they not introduce some sort of system where sky subscribers don’t have to pay to watch. Don’t expect they would do that buying just hope they don’t introduce this at the moment.

    • That’s an almost identical argument BBC viewers used when half their races were hidden behind Sky’s pay wall.

  5. This is exactly what I hope for. I wonder if FOM are annoyed at the liberties that the broadcasters are taking with the World Feed & FOM’s extra channels, i.e. sticking their own overlays on it every now and then, cutting away from the feed to show their own replays etc, in a very inconsistent way. Along with staring and stopping the extra channels at random. I’ve always liked the “vanilla” FOM feeds and would hope that FOM use their online streams to promote this, with commentary from FOM stalwarts such as Bob Constanduros and maybe John Watson? (As Ben Edwards is now at the BBC). What they could do, providing the support races rights are included in the F1 package too, is do what f1broadcasting has been suggesting all along and just broadcast a day-long stream of the whole day’s events. The World Feed and team radio etc. starts around an hour before the FOM logo runs, yet none of the broadcasters cut into this that early, as they’re running their own features. What FOM should do is (if they’re doing their own features, which is usually something they do for the season reviews), is make such features available in the week before the race, so the viewer can watch them at their leisure, and then on race-day itself just broadcast the whole day *live* from start to finish, including pre-race national anthem, pre-race team radio, press conferences, etc. (And of course they could be all packaged up on the Season Review Blu Ray at the end of the year too).

    I’ve noticed that while FOM tend to take ages to do stuff, when they finally do it, the finished product is excellent, like the switch to HD (42mbps capture with native 5.1 surround sound).

    I would predict that this may come in say in 2015, where they may take the opportunity to re-do the overlays (and maybe even the whole production style – making my predictions above completely useless lol) as well too. Finally by 2015, technology will have improved to an extent that they could offer reliable 1080p live streaming, as well as blu-ray quality 720p streaming even.

    I love FOM and they’re style of production, F1Digital+ was a masterpiece, and if FOM can get the price right and introduce full, uninterrupted “vanilla” coverage online, along with extras such as the ability to choose your own camera angles (if you wanted to), or choose any of the drivers to watch onboard with, and more live timing data (such as live tyre data for example), then FOM would be on to an absolute winner in my book. I’m glad that they’re even considering it though at least, i’ve been predicting it for a while lol.

  6. Thank you. I would gladly pay extra to have access to sessions which are not broadcast online or on Cable TV by NBC Sports. Currently I pay my provider extra to get NBC Sports Network, yet not all sessions are available, like FP1, FP3. Also, the GP2 series is almost slways delayed or omitted completely. Although I enjoy the color commentary team that transferred over from Speed, overall coverage is lacking- I did not have to pay extra for Speed and more sessions were available online.

    Is my solution to get a fake VPN and purchase a license from Sky or otherwise? I think this would be a good solution for frustrated fans and the hardworking camera teams that cover all sessions.

  7. Am I right that while travelling some countries without free feed, one is unable to follow F1 ? Even whith a signed Sky account, right ? Like this, current exclusive / exclusion TV strategy failed.

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