A dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix, won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, drew its lowest audience in six years despite the race averaging over four million viewers, according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.
Traditionally, despite its late July slot, the Hungarian round has always rated very well despite any warm weather that may occur. And, to a degree, the same can be said this year. The race, Sky Sports F1’s 50th, averaged 996k (10.9%) from 12:00 to 15:30, up on last year’s average of 923k (10.2%). Sky’s coverage peaked with 1.44m (15.2%) yesterday, compared with a 1.35m (13.7%) peak from last year. BBC One’s highlights programme averaged 3.20m (22.0%), peaking with 3.67m (23.6%), down on 3.64m from 2012 and 2013. The combined average of 4.20m and peak of 5.11m looks fairly good compared to a typical Formula 1 race.
The problem, as I mentioned above is that the Hungarian Grand Prix has always rated well. So whilst, 4.20 million looks good it actually, for Hungary, is not a great rating. For example, the 2011 race, exclusively on BBC One, averaged 4.65m (42.2%), peaking with a whopping 6.10m (50.0%). The combined audience of 4.20m is the lowest since 2008. The races between 2009 and 2013 have all recorded programme averages between 4.46m and 4.81m.
Live coverage of qualifying, not taking into account overrun, averaged 402k (5.6%) from 12:00 to 14:35. BBC Two’s highlights at 17:40 added 1.50m (12.4%). The combined figure of 1.90m is very marginally down on 2012, but still the lowest since 2008. It is worth noting that Sky have been promoting Sky Go all weekend where Formula 1 is concerned, but I don’t think that is going to make up the viewers that Formula 1 appears to have lost since 2011.
Despite that, I don’t think the race number is terrible, as I do think the weather played some part in the number. However, in the context of the season so far, it is not very good. Like I’ve said before, Formula 1 has to reverse the trend after the Summer break as an absolute must. The four week break should also be considered a ‘reset’ from both BBC’s and Sky’s perspectives in order to get the viewing figures back to what they once were.
The 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.