2.4 million watch Russian Grand Prix in UK

An average audience of just over 2.4 million watched the Russian Grand Prix on television in the United Kingdom yesterday, overnight viewing figures show.

Before we go into the in-depth detail, it is worth pointing out two things that would have adversely affected viewing figures. The first is the change of slot in the calendar. In both 2014 and 2015, Russia was at the latter end of the calendar when there was a championship battle ongoing, which may have increased audiences.

Secondly, Bank Holiday weekend in the United Kingdom means slightly reduced audiences across the board as people head away for long weekend.

Race
Live coverage of the race, which aired live on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 470k (4.9%). In comparison, last year’s programme on Sky, which was shared with BBC One, averaged 497k (5.1%). So, despite the added exclusivity aspect this year, Sky’s number was slightly down year-on-year.

Highlights of the race were broadcast on Channel 4 from 18:00 to 20:00 and averaged 1.94m (10.8%). The combined audience of 2.41 million viewers is down 26.7 percent on 2015’s average audience of 3.29 million viewers. Unfortunately, the Russian Grand Prix now holds the accolade of being the lowest rated ‘European time zone’ race since the mid 2000s, taking away the feat that the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix previously held. The audience yesterday of 2.41 million viewers is the lowest for a ‘European time zone’ race since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix.

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying, broadcast exclusively on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 14:45, averaged 275k (3.6%).  Last year, Sky’s shared live coverage with the BBC averaged 351k (4.3%) over a shorter slot from 12:15 to 14:35. Nevertheless, for an exclusive live broadcast, that is a very poor number, especially considering the lack of Premier League competition from BT Sport.

Channel 4’s highlights programme, which aired from 17:30 to 19:00, averaged 1.16m (8.2%). Although it was Channel 4’s only programme over one million viewers on Saturday, the raw number and share is arguably lower than they would have expected. The combined audience of 1.44 million viewers is down 39.3 percent on 2015’s combined audience of 2.37 million viewers. It looks to be the lowest audience for a qualifying session since the 2008 European Grand Prix.

The 2015 Russian Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

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13 thoughts on “2.4 million watch Russian Grand Prix in UK

  1. Whether Sky has exclusivity to a race or not is unlikely to have any effect on their viewing figures, I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for Sky and then choose to watch C4.

  2. What is all the negative comments regarding the safety windscreens!! People saying they do not look right – (Im old at 70!!!!) but remember Vanwalls, BRMs etc with Stirling Moss, Fangio, Hawthorn etc all having wrapround windscreens – so they look odd to me without!!

  3. I was disappointed that the Ch4 highlights editor managed to cut out most of the laps and commentary covering the period of the race when Lewis Hamilton cut Nico’s lead from 13 seconds to 7.5 seconds (before Lewis had to back off with water pressure issues).
    This was clearly described as a significant element of the race in all the other broadcasts and race reports (SkyF1, Radio 5, Autosport, James Allen, BBCF1 website etc)
    It suggests that the Ch4 highlights editor was not really following the race and just cut out laps to make space for the adverts.
    Even though many of the BBC team moved over to Ch4 (and DC, Ben Edwards and Lee McKenzie), it seems that something is still missing from the production side regarding the quality and content of the highlights shows.
    Also, why no interviews with team managers/engineers? Maybe Karun Chandock has not yet done enough to build up his credibility with the team managers and pit crews.

    • i watched the c4 highlights a few days later to compare. It was not that polished. A lot of the action seemed jumbled and missed some key action and really did not capture the spirit of that race when I watched it live. Would have got a different idea to that race watching those highlights.Its all too brief and as you say little extra background, interviews and after race analysis with the teams. The presenter Steve was ok but nothing special. He and David seem at odds a bit with each other at times, not a fluid partnership.

  4. Amazing but depressing numbers. I see the press are getting themselves more and more in a twist. Kravitz yelled”WERE ON FOR A FANTASTIC RACE!” last sunday. Gilles Richards in The Guardian thinks after yet another Mercedes 1-2, that ‘Mercedes have a problem”. And then there is the whipping up of the non story about Hamilton being upset about getting a slap on the wrist for breaching track rules. At Motorsport Magazine, Mark Hughes didnt mention Rosberg outpaced Hamilton considerably during Q2, nor did he mention the actuall 2 second a lap deficit Ferrari now has vs Mercedes. Just endless articles how amaizng these V6turbo engines are, when Alonso and McLaren said they had to save fuel so much they lost 50 seconds race time.

    “Maybe we should stop saying how close Ferrari is” said race winner Nico Rosberg.

    The way this is progressing, I think most big sponsors will drop out in 2 years. The big tv contracts will stop in 3, and Mercedes will decide to leave F1, or what is left, in 4.

  5. In three years time the TV contracts will be even less relevant than they are now. I don’t know anyone who who gets to watch races on their main tv, like in the old days. It’s easier and more peaceful to watch either live or time-shifted on a computer screen of some sort, away from distractions.

    I suspect Sky will end up making F1 a regular part of their Sports package. If you look carefully at the current ads on Sky for all the various premium sporting tournaments – nowhere is there a note to point out that F1 is not included in the basic Sky Sports package (although it might just be because I’ve watched that ad only on the F1 channel).

    I think the quality of their F1 coverage is not so good this year. There have been no new non-race weekend content, just lots of the usual repeats. Even for the Senna / Ratzenburger anniversary, nothing new, not even some cheap magazine show with a few journalists and F1 folk chatting about the timing of Red Bull’s windscreen device. Another irritating Sky habit is never repeating the full build up and post race shows, when they show a full repeat of the race. Admittedly they show Ted’s notebook, but whilst the quality of that is good, the 15 min race show is too short – it should be at least half an hour.

    But my main point is that in 3 years time, I doubt we’ll bother much with TV schedules, hence channels become less relevant. Obviously there will be “appointment” programming – where fans will still want to watch important parts of the race weekend live, ie quali and the race itself. But I suspect content provision and distribution will look different to the old fashioned conventional broadcasting we still have today. I also hope the market adjusts to provide F1 fans with a dedicated platform, where the price does not include other sports I have little interest in, but I am not especially confident.

    Right now if I was personally paying for the Sky subscription, I’d probably save my money and watch one of the better streams that most other F1 fans I know use. It’s a shame those figures can’t be collected reliably – if they were, I suspect the results would be surprising.

    It seems remiss that the viewing figures don’t reflect the legitimate streaming etc. Is that because the delivery method allows the broadcaster to collect their own figures?

    As for big sponsors dropping out in 2 years? I think that’s actually already happened. Even before their engine woes, McLaren couldn’t get a headline sponsor, and criticised Williams for lowering its value via their deal with Martini. Unlike last season, this season hasn’t really seen any significant new sponsors, though some have moved teams and changed brand names. In general the cars seem to have more space on them, with the exception of Mercedes and Ferrari.

    Unless their performance takes a dive, I can’t see Mercedes leaving in 4 years time. Like Ferrari I think they’re finding F1 is a very effective marketing tool. If it wasn’t for F1’s absurd governance structure and all round insecurity, I think more car manufacturers would be involved. Compared to other Motorsport, F1 gets much more exposure.

  6. most serious f1 fans have allready worked out that russian track is a micky mouse track that as no buisness being on f1 calendar like so manny others i car to mention. i bet the figures go up silverstone , spa , monza , suzuka and brazil

  7. The viewing figures for the qualifying highlights on Channel 4 may have been better if they hadn’t announced the result without warning on the preceding news programme! It’s difficult enough to avoid finding out the results, without Channel 4 doing it themselves moments before the highlights programme starts.

  8. i think the fact that its almost impossible to find out what happens now is one of the reason highlights dont work. It has to be live else its not worth watching.

    20years ago i was student who had to work sundays. I would could come back rewind the vcr and watch the full race live. This was only possible because i did not know what happened.

    the people in charge of f1 really need to realize this .

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