The drop in numbers that Formula 1 has experienced this season in the UK continued at the Singapore Grand Prix, deteriorating further as the championship hit a three-month low, overnight viewing figures show.
Live coverage of the race, broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 683k (7.9%), a number almost identical to last year’s average of 681k (6.7%). The race peaked with 976k (10.7%) at 14:50 as Daniel Ricciardo tried to hunt down Nico Rosberg for the race victory. The peak itself is down on last year’s peak audience of 1.08m and is the lowest for Sky’s Singapore coverage since 2012, that particular race was shared with BBC.
Channel 4’s highlights aired slightly later than usual due to their Paralympics coverage, airing from 18:30 to 21:00. Their programme averaged just 1.70m (8.4%), one of their lowest numbers of 2016, only in front of China and Canada. The peak audience of 2.26m (12.4%) came at 19:00 as their race edit started, again only ahead of China and Canada.
We normally talk about Channel 4’s F1 programming smashing slot averages. No such thing happened over the weekend, as both qualifying and the race were below Channel 4’s slot average whilst their key demographics struggled as well. I thought the Paralympics would have boosted Channel 4’s F1 coverage but instead the inverse appears to have happened.
The combined audience of 2.38 million viewers is the lowest since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June and continues the slippery slope which started following the Summer break. The combined peak audience of 3.24 million is also the lowest since Canada. Even taking into account the primetime competition, the highlight numbers are shockingly low by a good half a million viewers. Both metrics are the lowest recorded for Singapore since the race was added to the calendar in 2008.
Qualifying and Analysis
Live coverage of qualifying averaged 368k (4.7%) from 13:00 to 15:45 on Sky Sports F1, a good number and up on last year’s average of 293k (3.5%). Channel 4’s highlights programme averaged 1.24m (8.6%), peaking with 1.64m (10.7%) at 18:35. Unsurprisingly, the combined audience of 1.61 million viewers is the lowest for Singapore on record but, in the context of the season so far for qualifying, it is a solid number.
Formula 1 now heads to the fly-away races which tends to fluctuate a lot depending on circumstances. Malaysia tends to rate well; however, calendar placement could dent it this year. Japan always has one of the lowest numbers of the season, and then we’re into USA, Mexico and Brazil before heading to Abu Dhabi. After seeing Singapore’s highlight number in the middle of primetime for Channel 4, I’m concerned that their live Mexico number could deliver a lower than expected number. I hope not, but the recent further downturn in viewing figures doesn’t bode well as we head into the final third of 2016.
The 2015 Singapore Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.