Further information about ‘F1 TV’ revealed by FOM

Formula 1’s Global Head of Digital and New Business Frank Arthofer has revealed further details about the sport’s new over-the-top offering, whilst speaking to selected media during testing in Barcelona.

According to Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS), the intention is for the desktop version of the service to be up and running ready for the Australian Grand Prix, although it does appear that there is a race against time for that to happen, hence the ambiguous wording of Formula 1’s press release.

For American readers, irrespective of whether there is a choice between ESPN or the over-the-top service come Melbourne, the commentary you hear will be the same. According to Italian website F1Sport, viewers watching with English commentary on the platform will hear Sky’s UK commentary line-up of David Croft and Martin Brundle.

In addition, Canal+ will provide the French commentary whilst, according to AMuS, RTL are understood to be providing the German commentary feed. This does mean that Formula One Management’s own on-air personnel, believed to include Will Buxton, Rosanna Tennant, and Tom Clarkson, will not commentate on the action, but instead provide analysis before and after the sessions, as well as additional live content for social media.

Launch availability
A media note at the test states that 58 territories will have access to F1 TV Pro at launch (largest ten by reach listed below). The territories amount to a cumulative reach of around 1.12 billion people, 14.9 percent of the world’s population according to the latest population figures from the United Nations.

Country Identified as top F1 market in 2017 Potential reach
USA Yes 324 million
Mexico No 129 million
Germany Yes 82 million
Turkey No 81 million
France Yes 65 million
Colombia No 49 million
Argentina No 44 million
Ukraine No 44 million
Poland Yes 38 million
Peru No 32 million

Of the top 20 markets for Formula 1 in 2017, as identified by Formula 1 themselves, nine of them will have access to the service at launch (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and USA), which is a very good starting point.

Formula 1 plans to prevent anyone from using VPN to access the service. Speaking to RaceFans amongst others, Arthofer said “We’re working with our technology partners who are yet to be named – with the exception of Tata – who will be part of the product to put in place best-in-class content security and protection. That’s always been a fairly conservative position we’ve taken from a Formula One perspective. Put another way, we’ve been aggressive in protecting our IP and will continue to do so on this service.”

Arthofer believes though there is a possibility F1 TV Pro could launch in the United Kingdom before 2025, if there is a will from Sky Sports to do so. “In the markets where we haven’t carved the [digital] rights out, like the UK as an example, we’re very open to working with our partners to consider a path to up-selling this product to our broadcast partners’ customer base.”

Elsewhere, F1 TV Access, which will be available to most countries launch, will include a ‘handful of races‘ on both a full and highlights basis, in a similar manner to the way WWE launched its over-the-top offering in 2014.


12 thoughts on “Further information about ‘F1 TV’ revealed by FOM

  1. I’m sure (and hope so too) that some form of VPN will work – not all systems are 100% safe and there’ll probably be a workaround.

  2. In what circumstances would Sky accept this service going live in the UK? Is there a precedent of something similar occurring with other sports? It would be great if possible – the idea of spending an unthinkable amount on a Sky Sports subscription is a complete non starter for me.

    Keep up the great work David. Fantastic blog that seems to gain greater relevance by the day.

    • The only way Sky would accept this service going live in the UK, would be (I presume) in one or more of these circumstances:

      1. As an add-on for those viewers who already subscribe to Sky Sports F1. In other words, useless to those who want an alternative in 2019 with the end of C4 coverage. You’d need a Sky ID to access.

      2. For non-Sky subscribers, at a large premium price to bring it into line with Sky’s pricing. A kind of sugar tax / pasty tax / minimum alcohol pricing system whereby the difference, over and above the $8-$12, goes to Sky.

      3. A combination of the above, but with either/or an extension to Sky’s contract to compensate them for loss of exclusivity, or a reduction in their fee for rights. Maybe extend Sky’s exclusive TV contract to run 2019 – 2030/2032/2035, in return for allowing F1 TV Pro to launch.

      In any case, it would have to be more expensive for non-Sky subscribers otherwise there would be a mass exodus of subscribers.

      • 4. FOM pays Sky even more money for content (they already have a deal with Sky to provide commentary) including analysis and historical content, in return for Sky to allow F1 TV in the UK. This would off-set any loss in potential new subscribers.

        Chase Carey is a non-exec director of Sky after all, so surely he’s our best hope in renegotiating the Sky deal.

  3. It makes sense to me to get the Whisper production team which is now working on Channel 4 to produce and supply the personal for this service from next year when the Channel 4 contract comes to an end. On a like for like basis they are the best and make a very watchable program plus they know what they are doing. Ben Edwards and DC on the commentary with EJ and Mark Webber, amongst others, providing the analysis with Lee Mckenzie doing the interviews. It’s a no-brainer.

  4. Well this new feed from FOM is not available in the UK so it does not change anything, this will be the last season of F1 in the UK for many of us who cannot afford (or want) Sky.
    Even Sky’s reduced fee of £150 for the season is still on top of the basic sky package.
    The NowTv fees have shot up by 25% for a day pass too. Liberty’s OTT stream at $8/month is less than half the Now tv fee with many times more content.
    Liberty have said that the service will be heavily guarded against VPNs

    • The £150 is a one off cost for NowTV, there are no other cost involved. It covers all 10 Sky Sports Channels, including F1, for 9 months.
      You are not comparing ‘like for like’, the F1 TV Pro app is one sport, Sky are offering all of their sports channels for 150 quid.
      Liberty will not be charging $8/month in the UK either, if it will be as high as possible.

      • Yes, but this is where Sky just don’t seem to understand that most F1 fans only want to watch F1. The fact you can get all their other sports channels is of no interest to the vast majority and they object to contributing to them. A lower subscription for just F1 is what most of us want.

  5. “RTL are understood to be providing the German commentary feed” ugh, really? I hope I can change the preferred language, because their commentary is about the worst bit of their coverage, and one of the reasons to want this service in the first place!

    • Andy, I was agreeing with your basic statement, that other contributors were not comparing like with like. Where we differ is your assumption that most people would be prepared to pay the still higher Sky fee and get all other sports thrown in. I don’t believe that to be the case, as most fans want F1 only at a price competitive with what FOM are proposing. The many forums and comments I read clearly bear this theory out, most people simply don’t want to pay for the priveledge of watching sports they have no interest in.

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