MotoGP finale peaks with 433k on BT Sport

A peak audience of 433k watched Jorge Lorenzo clinch the 2015 MotoGP championship live on BT Sport, overnight viewing figures show.

MotoGP and Moto3 hit BT Sport highs
Live coverage of the final MotoGP round of the season from Valencia averaged 345k (3.3%) from 12:30 to 14:00 on BT Sport 2, peaking with 433k (3.9%) in the 5-minute period from 13:40. Unsurprisingly, the peak figure is nearly triple last year’s peak of 151k (1.5%) when the title had already been decided.

The Moto3 race, which saw Danny Kent claim Britain’s first Grand Prix motorcycle title since 1977, peaked with 217k (2.4%) at 10:40. The entire programme, excluding Chequered Flag from 09:30 to 14:15, averaged a strong 205k (2.1%). ITV4’s highlights programme actually fared worse than BT Sport’s live MotoGP race. An average audience of 331k (1.5%) watched ITV4’s highlights on Monday evening at 20:00, peaking with 381k (1.7%) in the 5-minutes from 20:35. ITV4’s MotoGP shows have performed worse year-on-year, for the Monday airings at least, with the pendulum swinging towards BT Sport – noticeably there is now around a 50/50 audience split between the two broadcasters, something that was not the case last year.

It should be noted that ITV4 have added a lot of MotoGP repeats into their schedule this year, but my motto is not to add in multiple highlights, otherwise where do you stop? In 2013, when Marc Marquez beat Lorenzo to the championship, an average audience of 1.21m (11.9%) watched on BBC Two, with a peak of 1.49m (14.0%) recorded. Including British Eurosport, that number jumps to around 1.7m. The combined peak in 2015 of 814k is not the highest under this current contract, that honour remains with Qatar 2014 which recorded a combined peak of 833k. So viewing figures for the finale were down around half what they were in 2013, on your traditional devices at least.

I believe Sunday’s figures were BT Sport’s highest ever outside of football, so they will be happy with the numbers. As always, all figures exclude the BT Sport app and similarly BBC iPlayer from 2013.

Formula E struggles, but up year-on-year
Elsewhere, live coverage of Formula E from Putrajaya averaged just 23k (1.6%) from 05:00 to 07:30 on Saturday on ITV4. That number includes anyone who recorded the live programme and watched it before 02:00 on Sunday morning. The audience peaked (5-minute measure) with 58k (4.9%) ten minutes into the race. Last year, Putrajaya averaged 66k (5.1%), peaking with 137k (7.2%).

Highlights on Sunday morning fared significantly better, benefiting from the slot on ITV’s flagship channel. An audience of 201k (2.8%) watched, which compares with the 95k (0.5%) that watched ITV4’s highlights programme on Saturday evening last year. Formula E’s figures can be spun two different ways. Here are the facts. ITV4’s live coverage, in an identical slot to 2014, dropped 65 percent year-on-year, a very similar percentage drop to Beijing two weeks ago. Including the highlights show, the combined audience is up 40 percent year-on-year, from 160k to 224k.

It is a confusing picture. On one hand you can say, that the combined number is up or you can say that the live airing is down. What you also need to remember is the respective channel slot averages. By default, a programme airing on ITV should get a lot more viewers than on ITV4. However, Formula E’s number of 201k (2.8%) is down on ITV’s slot average. I think Punta del Este will tell a clearer story. My own opinion is that the numbers so far for Formula E’s second season are not good. Punta will either confirm that, or reverse the decline shown for the live numbers on ITV4.

There’s an interesting pattern here. Formula E, MotoGP and BTCC have recorded drops on ITV4 this year/recently, which could imply a wider issue to do with the broadcaster itself rather than an issue with a particular series…

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