The gradual move to pay TV continues for Formula 1

There have been two pieces of news concerning Formula 1 broadcasting rights in Australia and South America, and sadly for the paying consumer, both pieces of news will leave their pockets lighter.

Beginning down under in Australia, it looks like Network Ten will be sharing their rights with pay TV group Foxtel from the 2016 season. That is according to Speedcafe and AFR. The deal, however, will not be the same as BBC’s deal with Sky in the UK. Instead, Foxtel will broadcast every practice and qualifying session exclusively live, but crucially Foxtel will share live coverage of the race with Network Ten. So, every race in Australia will still be available live for free to air viewers.

At the end of the day, the race is the main event, and in countries where qualifying does not appear on the radar too much, the above is definitely a more viable option in my opinion compared with the current UK deal. If you like to watch every session and do not currently have Foxtel, you’re going to be pretty annoyed though, so its a two way street. There’s positives and negatives depending on how often you watch practice and qualifying.

Over in Latin America (excluding Brazil), a new Formula 1 channel is being launched by Mediapro. The channel, which is being distributed by Direct TV, will broadcast every session live, with ten of the weekends shared with Fox Sports. Slowly but surely, it looks like the shared model pioneered in the UK is taking over where Formula 1 is concerned. I don’t claim this list to be exhaustive, but the following countries/continents have recently switched to either a exclusive pay TV model or half free-to-air and half pay:

– UK (from 2012 – shared)
Netherlands (from 2013)
Italy (from 2013 – shared)
Czech Republic (from 2015 – full pay TV)
Slovakia (from 2015 – full pay TV)
– South America (from 2015)
– Australia (from 2016 – shared tbc)

Whilst you can point figures and blame certain things on track that have changed this year, the fact of the matter is that, as soon as you enter these deals, you limit your audience immediately. It depends of course on the pay TV penetration, but it is not good from a viewer perspective seeing Formula 1 behind a pay wall.

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7 thoughts on “The gradual move to pay TV continues for Formula 1

  1. Formula 1 in Poland was broadcast live in 2007-2013 by free channel Polsat (qualification + race), and training only in the pay-TV. From this year, F1 disappeared from the free Polsat and is fully transmitted only through paid Polsat Sport. So Poland also fits this trend.

  2. Polsat sport has only a contract for 2014 is not yet known which channel broadcast F1 in the 2015-2019 seasons. For those years, television rights in Poland has Mp & Silva.

  3. France lost its Grand Prix, then its F1 coverage went from free commercial TF1 to pay channel Canal+. TF1’s coverage was dire to say the least but it was free. With these seismic changes, France has been totally marginalised by F1, its audience has disappeared and even its F1 magazine sales have plunged to almost nothing, despite having 3 (now 2, regrettably) French drivers on the grid. The sport is committing suicide before our very eyes.

  4. Ten will still broadcast practice, qualifying and race live only for Australia but Ten could have delayed rights to practice and qualifying but live race.

    There is talk that Foxtel will own Network Ten

    • I have seen a totally different view on this topic and Fin Review says that Australia will get as few as 4 races live on FTA, but I never believe Fin Review at all as they report on the wrong stuff where as Speedcafe got the V8 TV deal right well in advance

  5. To be quiet honest i could ditch qually if it means i could watch the race live free. The special qually ended with 1hr do want you want format with 3 sets of sticky tyres finished

  6. The broadcasting model for Formula 1 in South America is not the same as the UK.

    I’m from Argentina and from the early 90’s until 1999 Formula 1 was broadcasted for free on the local channel Telefe. Then, the TV rights were bought by a Cable TV channel called PNS. When PSN went bankrupt Fox Sports took the place for the entire continent (except Brazil). So, from 2000 to 2014 you had to pay Cable TV to watch Formula 1.

    Now with the new channel distributed by Direct TV you have to pay Direct TV or or another company that has the channel but you dan’t have to pay any extra charge to watch this channel. It’s part of the “basic” service of Direct TV.

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