The Monaco Grand Prix struggled over the Bank Holiday weekend in the United Kingdom, overnight viewing figures show.
Live coverage of the race itself, broadcast on Channel 4 from 12:00 to 15:10, averaged 1.96m (23.8%), peaking with 2.68m (30.6%) at 14:30. Channel 4 have not lucked in with their choice of live races so far this season, with their last two choices (Russia and Monaco) turning into poor races, and Baku likely to throw up the same next month.
Sky Sports chose to simulcast their coverage across Sky Sports 1 and Mix, to an average audience of 591k (7.2%) from 12:00 to 15:30. Their audience was split 425k versus 167k in Sky Sports F1’s favour. Sky’s coverage peaked with 861k (9.8%) at 14:35 as Vettel claimed victory.
It was the first live free-to-air broadcast for the Monaco round of the championship since 2012. Nevertheless, a combined average audience of 2.55 million viewers is still lower than last year’s audience of 2.78 million viewers when Channel 4 aired highlights, and the lowest on record for this Grand Prix. Viewing figures were down 39.8 percent on the combined average in 2015 of 4.23 million viewers.
The combined peak audience came at 14:35, as 3.53 million viewers (40.2%) watched across Channel 4 and Sky, the lowest since 2006. At the time of the peak, 76 percent of viewers were watching on Channel 4, with a quarter watching across Sky F1 and Mix. The shares across the board are slightly higher than usual, with warm weather having an effect across the country – a 40 percent share is still impressive irrespective of circumstances.
Live coverage of qualifying, broadcast on Channel 4 from 11:55 to 14:30, averaged 1.14m (15.5%), peaking with 1.75m (21.7%) at 13:35 as Lewis Hamilton was eliminated from qualifying. The third session of qualifying rated lower than the second phase, which is unusual, given that qualifying typically builds up to a crescendo.
Sky Sports F1’s broadcast, which aired from 12:00 to 14:40, averaged 277k (3.8%), peaking at the end of the session with 491k (5.9%). The combined average audience of 1.42 million viewers and combined peak audience of 2.23 million viewers (27.6%) are both down on last year’s figures of 1.65 million and 2.34 million respectively.
Next up, the Formula 1 heads to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. With Channel 4 airing highlights of the race for the second year in a below, expect a very low average – potentially under two million viewers. Furthermore, Sky’s live coverage clashes with a competitive international football weekend, which will only deplete audiences further.
The 2016 Monaco Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.