Sky Sports F1 are to split their race day programme into three, schedules today show, for India at least. Before today, the Indian Grand Prix race day programme was simply listed as:
08:00 to 12:45 – Live Indian F1 GP
That has now changed. Instead, the EPG now lists:
08:00 to 08:30 – Live Indian F1 GP: Track Parade
08:30 to 12:00 – Live Indian F1 GP: Race
12:00 to 12:45 – Live Indian F1 GP: Paddock Live
What I don’t know, and what will only become clear on Sunday is if Sky have made the move to create three distinct programmes, with opening titles and close for all three. Considering we are three quarters of the way through the season, I’d be incredibly surprised if a drastic change was made to the structure.
The other possibility, and the one far more likely is that this has been done only for EPG purposes, and therefore ‘rating inflation’ purposes. Thankfully, Formula 1 blogs such as this one paint a full picture of Sky Sports F1’s ratings, giving not only a full slot rating, but also a ’12:10 to 15:15′ viewership number for European races, to bring it in line for BBC. For those of you that are wondering why this has changed, I quote from August: “Further analysis shows that, versus the same races last season, BBC’s Formula 1 ratings have increased 21 percent, whilst Sky Sports F1′s ratings have dropped 9 percent.”
Of course, the above split could be human error, but I doubt it. We will soon find out on Sunday if it is purely for EPG purposes, if it is, then it is fairly clear to see that there is some concern internally with Sky about Sky Sports F1’s race day ratings.
Thanks to gillw72 for the tip.
Update on October 24th – The EPG description for ‘Track Parade’ is as follows: “The build-up to the 2013 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit. Plus, a review of the qualifying session and interviews with drivers ahead of the race.” Whilst the EPG description for ‘Paddock Live’ is as follows: “Simon Lazenby reports on all the breaking news, views and reactions following the 2013 Indian Grand Prix. Plus, Ted Kravitz gives his analysis of the race.”