The 2015 Italian Grand Prix may not go down as the greatest race ever, but what happened after the race helped boost Sky Sports F1’s post-race show, overnight viewing figures show.
Live coverage of the race, broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 657k (8.5%) with a peak audience of 1.09m (13.5%) coming at 14:15 as Lewis Hamilton claimed victory. Sky’s exclusive numbers are only up 7.5 percent versus 2014’s shared average of 611k (6.0%). Italy is one race where you expect lower numbers, simply because the race is not as long as the likes of Singapore and Monaco, meaning that there is more post-race analysis to fill.
Typically on a day like yesterday you would expect the audience to drift away to below 150k. However, the Mercedes enquiry meant that a specially extended Paddock Live from 15:30 to 17:05 averaged 256k (2.7%), one of the biggest post-race numbers of the season so far. The audience never dropped below 230k until the end of the programme, which clearly shows that there was demand for Sky to stay on air and capture the verdict live. There was very little drop off, 255k (2.4%) were watching Sky’s post-race show when the stewards decision came in at 16:45. I made the point on Twitter that this is exactly what Sky Sports F1 should be doing, and it is fantastic to see the viewing figures support that assertion. You almost need events like that to happen to justify the existence of the F1 channel, if the F1 was on another Sky Sports channel, they would have no doubt gone off air to cover the next sporting event in the schedules.
As for the race itself, I don’t like saying a race is “made for highlights”, but from the BBC’s perspective, Italy is exactly that (although they have, to my surprise, covered 2013 and 2014 live). BBC’s highlights programme averaged 3.23m (23.7%), in-line with their other highlights programming this year, so no surprises there. To prove the “made for highlights” point, the combined average of 3.88m is the highest for Italy since 2012 which averaged 4.37m, albeit the highlights were in a later slot. The viewing figures continue a run of good or solid numbers for Formula 1, however tricky waters lie ahead with the Rugby World Cup on ITV. BBC’s highlights from Singapore will clash with matches in two weeks time, but apart from that the F1 should escape relatively unscathed.
BTCC hurt by F1
Clashing with the F1 hurt the British Touring Car Championship on ITV4. On air from 10:45 to 17:45, the programme averaged 134k (1.6%). The programme average over seven hours may not tell too much, but the peak of 290k (2.8%) at 16:45 is lower than you would expect from a championship which regularly peaks with over 400k. With the World Series by Renault (BT Sport 2), ELMS (Motors TV), Blancpain GT (BT Sport Europe) and British Superbikes (British Eurosport) also airing live yesterday, it is easy to see how small the audience gets fragmented when the F1 is being broadcast.
The 2014 Italian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.