Formula E highlights on BBC’s platforms “a one-off” – for now

Eagle eyed readers and followers of this site will have spotted that highlights from the Mexico City E-Prix appeared across the BBC’s platforms after the Formula E race last weekend.

The short-form content appeared on the BBC Sport website, as well as their social media channels, prompting speculation that the two sides had agreed some sort of deal. However, this site can confirm that there is no formal agreement yet between the BBC and Formula E, yet.

Speaking to this site, a BBC spokesperson said “The video was used as a one-off, rather than as part of a longer-term rights deal.”

The one-off video appearance was likely brokered by marketing firm CSM, whose partnership with Formula E has resulted in Formula E content appearing on a variety of UK-based news websites, including The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror.

On the television front, Channel 5’s free-to-air contract with Formula E expires at the end of the current season in July, with no word yet on the series’ destination from season five.

Mexico City E-Prix shows why Formula E needs free-to-air
The E-Prix itself, won by Daniel Abt, peaked with just under 150,000 viewers on Saturday evening according to overnight viewing figures.

Live coverage of the race aired on 5Spike from 21:30 to 23:20, averaging 63k (0.4%). Eurosport 2’s coverage added a further 26k (0.16%), bringing the combined audience for the live race showing to 89,000 viewers.

At its peak, 103k (0.7%) watched the race on 5Spike, with 45k (0.3%) on Eurosport 2. Both 5Spike and Eurosport 2’s viewing shares were in the same ballpark to 1.d.p. between Santiago and Mexico City, even though the latter E-Prix was aired in highlights form on Channel 5 the following morning.

For Santiago, Channel 5 did not air a highlights show on its main channel, whereas for Mexico they opted to do so. Channel 5’s Mexico City E-Prix highlights programme averaged 202k (2.6%) on Sunday morning from 10:45 to 11:50, peaking with 254k (3.2%), marginally above the slot average.

The numbers suggest that the highlights programme attracted ‘new’ viewers, who were unaware that the race aired live on 5Spike the previous evening, showing why Formula E needs prominence on free-to-air television, otherwise races fly under the radar. Three races have aired on 5Spike, and all have peaked with fewer than 200,000 viewers.

If Formula E wants to become mainstream in the UK, it needs to look closely at turning deals with the likes of the BBC permanent, even if it is not necessarily a television deal with the broadcaster. By giving Formula E a ‘shop window’, the exposure of the series increases, hopefully boosting television viewing figures in the medium to long term.


In conversation with David Croft

From Three Counties radio, to travelling around the world as part of his Formula 1 work, David Croft’s broadcasting career to date has spanned 25 years.

During the Autosport Show weekend in January, I caught up with Croft (@CroftyF1) for a chat to talk about his journey from local radio through to Sky Sports F1 commentator.

F1B: How did your stint in radio begin?

DC: I started covering Stevenage Borough for the local papers in the early 1990s, but my first radio broadcast was Stevenage Borough and Altrincham in 1994. The regular reporter couldn’t make it and they called me up as a last-minute replacement. Stevenage won 2-1, Martin Gittings scored the winning goal with his hand, which as you can imagine was controversial! BBC Three Counties radio paid me £6 for covering the game.

I thought I was utterly dreadful, and I had a phone call from Ken Wilson, who was the Sports Editor at the station, the very next day saying he thought that it was really good, and asking if I’d like to cover Luton Town versus Sheffield United the next week. I got £10 for covering that, a bigger game than Stevenage! Bit by bit, I started doing more and more, I used to go into the station on a Friday night to learn how to edit, produce, write scripts. I wanted to learn so was more than happy to give up my Friday evenings.

Mike Naylor, who took over as sports editor taught me what I needed to know. In all honesty, I owe Mike and Ken, and everyone in those early years a debt of gratitude because without their help and patience, I would have never been able to take my career further. As time went on, I started to take on more gigs. My first proper commentary job though was covering the Toulon Under 20 Football tournament for their world feed. France beat South Korea 1-0 in my first match, former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires scored the goal and I met him in Monza a couple of years ago and had a chat about the match, he actually remembered it. But the key was never saying no to any opportunity, even if deep down you didn’t really think you had the experience needed.

F1B: I guess at that point in your career, it is whatever comes your way.

DC: You want to get heard, you need to get experience. Eventually, Three Counties asked me to present the breakfast sports bulletins each morning. I initially said no, I was working full time in my day job, as a Theatre Publicity Officer and working Saturdays, commentating for West County TV. But I, rather cheekily, said that if they wanted me then they should give me a full-time job and I’d be happy to do it. Later that day, Dave Robey, the station manager phoned me up and said that if I wanted a full-time job as a BBC Sports Reporter he’d give me a one-month contract and if I was any good, there would be a chance that I’d stay on. Well one month became three months became nine months and I stayed at BBC 3CR for over three years, eventually becoming the Sports Editor there.

In December 1998 I moved to 5 Live, working as a producer via the BBC Local Radio Attachment scheme. It was a brilliant scheme as it gave those working in local radio a chance to show what they could do for BBC Sport on a national level. Once again it was initially for a month, but I stayed for much longer and managed to convince the powers that be that I was a better broadcaster than a producer and I was given a full-time contract with BBC Radio Sport.

I could be heard presenting sports bulletins for Simon Mayo or Fi Glover, covering football matches on a Saturday, and eventually presenting Sport on 5 during the summer of 2004 and 2005. I’d worked at the 2002 World Cup and 2004 Olympic Games but I wanted to specialise on a particular sport and in the Autumn of 2005, I got my chance.

As a kid, my dream job was to be a sports commentator. I was into all sorts of sports, cricket, F1, football, boxing and of course, darts! Peter Jones was my absolute idol as a commentator, this guy was magnificent in the way he could capture tension and emotion in a couple of sentences, even if your team was winning 6-0, you wouldn’t switch the radio off. I used to listen to him on Sport on 2, smuggling my old Roberts radio under the covers and hoping that Mum and Dad didn’t hear that I was still awake listening to the midweek matches.

At the weekend I’d watch Grandstand or World of Sport and dream of doing what Murray Walker or Barrie Davies, Sid Waddell or Richie Benaud did. I’d listen to Test Match Special a lot in the summer too, my Dad played village cricket and passed a love of the sport on to me. Brian Johnson had me enthralled, not only with his ability to paint pictures in my mind, but the way he would break away from the cricket and move on to random topics such as the latest goings on in Neighbours. He was a huge fan of that soap opera and never missed an opportunity to wax lyrical about it.

So, this was my dream job, still is and I pinch myself that I’m doing what I dreamt of all those years ago.

F1B: Was it an easy decision with 5 Live to travel round the world for Formula 1, or were there other factors to consider?

DC: Jason Swales, the F1 producer, asked me to audition, as he knew I liked and knew F1. When he wasn’t producing 5 Live F1, Jason would come in and produce bulletins and various other stuff [for 5 Live], so we knew each other quite well. He said that we needed a new commentator, and that the contract was going out to an independent production company. We produced a dummy commentary as part of the pitch for USP Content and they won the contract. So, on December 23rd 2005 I was told I was the new 5 Live F1 commentator by Moz Dee, who was the assistant editor at the station at the time. Moz then promptly asked when I would be leaving as I couldn’t stay on a BBC Staff Contract, the F1 coverage was being independently produced. I went freelance, another risk, but this was an opportunity I was never going to turn down.

The next challenge was to learn more about the sport, prepare for the start of the 2006 season and work out just how you commentate on Formula 1, having never done it for real before I headed off to Bahrain for the first race of the season. I spent six years at 5 Live Formula 1, and it was brilliant. Holly Samos, Jason Swales, Maurice Hamilton, Ant Davidson, myself, and Natalie [Pinkham] were a small team, bringing a great sport to people on the radio, thoroughly enjoyable and hopefully the fun we had always came across on air.

F1B: How did you find your first year, just settling into the paddock?

DC: Frightening! The paddock is a scary place at first to find yourself in. But there are a lot of genuine, lovely people in it, and once you establish a level of trust and rapport, build relationships with people and gain more and more experience, you feel less scared. I asked a lot of stupid questions along the way, apparently there’s no such thing as a stupid question but I’m sure I challenged that theory. I always remember Jason’s adage, keep it simple, don’t try and do anything complicated, leave that to the experts.

It went from frightening, to a little bit daunting and then after about three years you feel that you fit in. People to start to ask your opinion on certain subjects and you feel more qualified to give it! You spend a long time at first listening to people, and I had the likes of Maurice Hamilton, Ian Philips, and the late Alan Henry to listen to, and what a complete delight it was to listen to their stories and opinions. And I was hugely lucky to have Jason as our producer and Maurice and then Ant Davidson as co-commentators, to help me along the way.

F1B: F1 moved to BBC TV in 2009, did anything really change from a radio perspective?

DC: A little, we were able to broadcast our commentary on the red button, which increased our audience, especially for the practice sessions. But I don’t go thinking “right, there’s more people listening today, that’s brilliant.” When I’m broadcasting I imagine I’m only talking to one person. There might be a lot more of that one person, but you’re having a conversation with that person, you’re trying to imagine whatever they’re doing and hoping that you’re engaging enough to make them stop what they’re doing and focus on what’s going on. I imagine there’s an old lady sat doing her knitting, if we’re getting her on the edge of her seat, and she’s stopped knitting for a while, then we’re doing a great job!

F1B: So, you guys were doing well at the BBC, and then we come to 2011. I think people still remember that practice session in Hungary, where you and Ant were getting deluged for something that wasn’t your fault.

DC: I walked into the track on Friday morning, and got a phone call from 5 Live Breakfast, saying that the F1 TV news was the lead story at 08:00! So, as correspondent, could I come on and talk about it.

Now, the BBC decided that they couldn’t afford to continue to cover F1 in the way they were at the time and approached Sky. For me, that was an important thing, because yes, there was a strong reaction from some of the fans, but I wasn’t going to take sides and join in with that strong reaction, I wanted to present the facts as I understood them to be.

I was a massive viewer of Sky Sports at that time, and have been for many, many years, and I love what they did to football, to darts, to cricket. Actually, I thought, it might be good for Formula 1. Sky will come in, give it the Sky treatment, and the sport will become very important within the Sky stable, and I truly believe that has happened.

Yes, there was a negative reaction, but 6 years on, it’s really interesting when we meet the fans and they give us their feedback. The people we meet at races, or even randomly out and about recently, tell us they enjoy what we do at Sky F1. Have we ruined people’s love of the sport as one listener said would happen back in 2011? Certainly not, I hope we’ve proved not only how much we love this sport, but how hard we want to work to deliver a really good product for the fans.

F1B: Was it an easy decision to move to Sky?

DC: I could have stayed at the BBC, and don’t get me wrong, I loved working there. But let’s go back to when I first joined local radio, I wanted to challenge myself, I wanted to stretch myself. When Sky became interested, we had a few conversations; myself and Martin [Brundle] talked too and both said that it could be fun! I love Sky and their coverage of sport. It was flattering that they were interested in me, and in the end, for many reasons, it was an easy decision to make.

It’s a risky decision, because it might not have paid off going from radio to TV, it’s a very different job. I’ve gone from a job where I say what I see, and I paint pictures, to working for a company that provides those pictures, in glorious Ultra High Definition now. Half of what you do on radio is describing and setting the scene. You can’t really do that on TV because people can see it, so you have to find a different way to tell the story.

Luckily, I’d covered the darts on BBC TV since 2004, so I had a little bit of TV experience there, and of course my first commentating experience as such, was for television, Toulon tournament and Westcountry TV. I had that to fall back on.

And I was going from a role where at 5 Live I commentated, reported, presented, and interviewed to the role of lead commentator. So, it was an adjustment there. Martin Turner, our first Head of F1 at Sky put together a fantastic team, very different people, but all of whom fitted in with everyone else and enjoyed each other’s company. There’s no pretence, we’re just a happy bunch of people travelling the world doing something we really love. Martin and the producers brought together creative people, hard-working people, talented people. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with. Things have changed a bit since the first race, some staff have left, some have come in, but there’s no conflict or friction behind the scenes, and I think that’s really important for the show.

And as we speak there’s not long to go till we’re all in Melbourne for the first race of the season, and I’m sure, like me, everyone can’t wait to get going again for what will be the 13th season for me as an F1 commentator, which considering my first race, Bahrain 2006, still seems like a very short time ago, is a pretty scary thought.

My thanks go to David Croft for spending the time with me on the above interview.

On the subject of #BBCpay

The BBC yesterday revealed pay details for the 2016/17 financial year for all of their stars that they pay over £150,000. Unsurprisingly, this has generated a lot of discussion in the media about the gender pay gap amongst other issues. The corporation receives unnecessary criticism from time to time and yesterday felt like one of those occasions.

It is an issue across society, and the criticism should reflect that fact. The BBC are not alone in the pay gap. I agree in principle that we need to close the pay gap, not just on a gender level, but also with minority groups in society. However, the BBC needs to pay a competitive rate so they can secure the best talent, otherwise other broadcasters, such as ITV, Sky, and Channel 4, will poach them.

The equivalent pay packets are higher at commercial television stations, and were the BBC to be ‘capped’ in some way, it would significantly affect the quality of the programming that they produce. Household names, such as Graham Norton, bring viewers with them that other presenters further down the pay scale may not.

Of note on the sporting front were Gary Lineker (£1.75m), Sue Barker (£300,000) and Jason Mohammad (£250,000) who are the BBC’s highest paid sports presenters. Lineker’s pay packet was criticised for being too high, although it does include fronting the BBC’s Euro 2016 coverage. Of course, we do not know whether Lineker’s figure is significantly above the market average.

I suspect several of Sky’s and Channel 4’s Formula 1 talent are above the £150,000 threshold that the BBC has revealed in line with their Charter, but that information is not currently available in the public domain and commercial broadcasters are not obliged to reveal it. It is fair to assume that the respective talent salaries have increased over time, partially due to the various switches between broadcasters. Several personnel have switched from ITV to the BBC and onto Sky (or Channel 4) and it is unlikely that their individual salaries will have remained identical during that period.

Across all genres, TV and radio, sport, entertainment and news, the on-air crew do not appear for air and then head off home, although there are some who may be naive enough to believe that this is indeed the case. There is a huge amount of research involved for any journalist or presenter. In the case of a Formula 1 presenter or MotoGP commentator for example, the research goes beyond a race weekend and into keeping up to date on the sport throughout the off-season, re-watching historical races and attending production meetings ready for the next weekend.

Just because you do not see it, or hear it through Twitter, it does not mean that it has not happened. Whilst I am not defending the pay amount of some in the industry, the idea that stars only work their on-air hours is absurd. There was a tweet from the BBC’s Media Editor Amol Rajan which illustrated this point nicely. Viewers probably saw around two hours of Rajan’s day on-air yesterday covering the #BBCpay story, but the reality is that he was working from 06:00 until at least 22:30, from BBC Breakfast through to BBC News at Ten.

However, as Rajan noted, the unsung heroes of broadcasting are not those that work in front of the camera, but instead those working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the show on the road, sometimes weeks at a time. Many working for Formula One Management (FOM) will have worked from the set-up for the Austrian Grand Prix through to the de-rigging process following the British Grand Prix in one stretch, also accounting for F1 Live London. This is common place in the television and media industry.

As I have said previously, every programme irrespective of genre will require editors, producers, vision mixers, camera operators and so on and so forth. The people behind the camera are often paid less than on-air personnel, because the on-air team is what viewers tune in for on most occasions. And that applies in principle to sport as well: for Sky to acquire the services of Martin Brundle from 2012 meant a lot more to them than acquiring the best vision mixer. Some shows will make sacrifices behind the scenes to capture the best on air team, it is the nature of the beast.

Back to the pay itself: in my opinion, a proper debate requires full transparency, and in this instance, I do not think that is possible without the whole industry working towards the same goals and looking at the whole picture. Currently, the pay debate is, yet another, point to bash the BBC with.

Scheduling: The 2017 Chinese Grand Prix / Argentine MotoGP

The 2017 Formula One season moves onto Shanghai for round two of the championship in China, as fans hope for the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to continue.

The Chinese round of the season switches with Bahrain, which follows the next weekend. Coverage from China will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports, with highlights on Channel 4 later in the day. Readers may have noticed that, compared to last year, Channel 4’s highlights are slightly longer in length but are also being broadcast in a later time slot than 2016.

Over on BT Sport, their MotoGP coverage from Argentina is headed up by Craig Doyle for his first round of the 2017 season. In terms of returning championships, the World Touring Car Championship is back this weekend, live on Eurosport 2 from Morocco. Eurosport are also broadcasting the MAC3 time trial this season, which I do not believe was broadcast last year. Eurosport have split qualifying and the MAC3 time trial into two separate slots on the EPG (thanks Alex in the comments for the correction).

A noticeable omission in the schedule below is the Virgin Australia Supercars series. The series was broadcast live on BT Sport last season, but the arrangement appears to have stopped with taking over from the start of 2017. Unfortunately, it looks like that will not be airing the series live for the next few rounds at least, hence why it does not feature below.

Channel 4 F1
08/04 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying Highlights
09/04 – 14:30 to 16:45 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
07/04 – 02:45 to 05:05 – Practice 1 (also on Sky Sports 1)
07/04 – 06:45 to 08:55 – Practice 2 (also on Sky Sports 1)
08/04 – 04:45 to 06:10 – Practice 3 (also on Sky Sports 1)
08/04 – 07:00 to 09:40 – Qualifying
09/04 – 05:30 to 10:10 – Race
=> 05:30 – Track Parade
=> 06:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 06:30 – Race
=> 09:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
05/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
06/04 – 08:00 to 09:00 – Driver Press Conference
06/04 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
07/04 – 09:00 to 09:30 – Team Press Conference (also on Sky Sports 1)
07/04 – 09:30 to 10:00 – The F1 Show (also on Sky Sports 1)

BBC Radio F1
06/04 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
07/04 – 02:55 to 04:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/04 – 06:55 to 08:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/04 – 04:55 to 06:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/04 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
09/04 – 06:30 to 09:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

IndyCar Series – Long Beach (BT Sport//ESPN)
09/04 – 21:30 to 00:00 – Race

MotoGP – Argentina (BT Sport 2)
07/04 – 13:00 to 20:00
=> 13:00 – Practice 1
=> 15:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 17:00 – Practice 2
08/04 – 13:00 to 20:15
=> 13:00 – Practice 3
=> 16:00 – Qualifying
09/04 – 13:30 to 15:15 – Warm Up
09/04 – 16:30 to 22:00
=> 16:30 – Moto3 race
=> 18:15 – Moto2 race
=> 19:45 – MotoGP race
=> 21:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Argentina (Channel 5)
10/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

World Rally Championship – France
07/04 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (
08/04 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport//ESPN)
08/04 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 3)
=> 23:05 to 23:35 (
09/04 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Power Stage (BT Sport 1)
09/04 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 2)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (
11/04 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Championship – Morocco (British Eurosport 2)
08/04 – 15:15 to 17:30
=> 15:15 – Qualifying
=> 16:30 – MAC3 time trial
09/04 – 16:30 to 18:30
=> 16:30 – Race 1
=> 17:30 – Race 2

As always, I will update the above schedule if anything changes.

News round-up: Sky explore YouTube; online battle for readership continues

In the second round-up catching up on the stories of the past month, this blog looks at the ongoing battle for readers across various websites and the advances over on YouTube.

Sky explore YouTube, but did anyone notice?
Sky Sports conducted an interesting experiment with the Friday 24th April episode of The F1 Show. Under the #AskCrofty banner, the episode was streamed live on YouTube. I believe this was the first time that Sky have ever streamed F1 content on the video sharing website, traditionally it had only been available to pay-TV subscribers via the usual ways. Personally, I think that such an occasion would have been good to ‘big up’ with some extra advertising or hype via social media, maybe try and reach out to a few new subscribers. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen.

The episode was streamed live on YouTube to around a few hundred people, a number which can only be described as shockingly low. Yes, it is only an F1 talk show on a Friday night, but you can’t defend numbers as low as that. I’d have expected at least a few thousand people to watch it live via YouTube, given the amount of people that the Sky Sports brand reaches on Facebook, Twitter and their own website on a daily basis. This experiment failed before it even started, to be honest. The low number also in its own way confirms the low TV viewing figures that The F1 Show receives, never hitting 100k and very rarely hitting 50k.

Sticking with YouTube, and the news that the official F1 channel appears to be forming some sort of partnership with NBC. Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that the F1 website tends to take NBC’s interviews conducted from the broadcast pen, as of course Formula One Management (FOM) own all the content that is filmed inside a race track. That relationship appears to be evolving, with NBC features possibly appearing on F1’s YouTube channel, according to NBC’s pit lane reporter Will Buxton who commented on it during a recent AMA on reddit. Obviously such a development, should it come to fruition, is positive news as it means more people will be able to experience the content that NBC’s F1 team produce.

F1 2016 schedule and the implications
The provisional 2016 Formula One schedule presents some interesting decisions for both BBC and Sky should the schedule not change. The good news is that the season would start after the conclusion of the Six Nations and after the Boat Race. The Australian Grand Prix, scheduled currently for April 3rd, would not clash with any of the big standalone events. The Chinese Grand Prix would be held on the same weekend as the Grand National, but not a direct clash. It is the Bahrain Grand Prix that would suffer, clashing with the London Marathon and the FA Cup semi finals, but on the other hand it could provide BBC with a bumper Sunday if they showed the Grand Prix live after the marathon.

However, with both the football European Championship and the Olympic Games taking place next year, it means a congested Summer of sport. Provisionally, the Canadian, Austrian and British rounds of the championship will take place during Euro 2016, whilst the Hungarian Grand Prix clashes with the opening weekend of the Olympic Games. And that hasn’t even taken into account Wimbledon…. of course, it is impossible to avoid everything. But, the promoters and governing body of the sport must ensure that F1 is given the best scheduling opportunities where possible, minimising the chance of direct clashes.

AUTOSPORT widen their horizons
The online battle for readers has increased over the past year, with multiple talent changes across AUTOSPORT and The talent changes are now in place, which should result in stronger competition across the board, as tries to take a slice of the action from AUTOSPORT and other related websites. In theory, the changes can only mean good things for the consumer. The quality should increase as both sites strive to make their portfolio of content as strong as possible, irrespective of whether it is two wheels, four wheels, tarmac or gravel.

AUTOSPORT are further bolstering their line-up with a new website currently in beta, so that will only help things for them in the online department. Their commitment to all things two and four wheels was demonstrated a few weeks ago, with Kris Meeke’s victory at the Rally Argentina their lead story on the cover of AUTOSPORT Magazine, despite rallying traditionally not a strong selling point in comparison to Formula 1. Edd Straw, AUTOSPORT’s editor, justified the decision noting that he hoped that AUTOSPORT’s readership would respond to a different cover “better than expected”, whilst it was simply “the right thing to do” due to the story behind Meeke’s victory. It should be noted that some mainstream media covered Meeke’s victory, both the BBC and Sky covered the victory on their respective websites.

Elsewhere, the recent general election alongside Floyd Mayweather’s victory against Manny Pacquiao in the boxing meant that the BBC smashed their own online records, with 12.3 million browsers accessing the BBC Sport website in total on Sunday 3rd May. 8.7 million browsers were from within then UK, with the remaining 3.6 million browsers from outside the UK. In comparison, as the aftermath of the general election was felt, a whopping 28.3 million browsers accessed the BBC News website, of which 20.6 million were from within the UK. The numbers are simply staggering.