The top 10 posts of 2016

There have been three major strands to 2016 from the perspective of The F1 Broadcasting Blog’s readers. The site recorded nearly half a million hits in 2016 with the main three topics of conversation: Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage, Sky Sports and the ongoing saga surrounding Motors TV. Here is what you read most out of the content published during 2016.

10. Sky Sports to broadcast F1 exclusively from 2019 – March 23rd
After all the early year activity surrounding Channel 4, I thought it would become quieter for at least a year before the noise increased again. How wrong was I. On March 23rd, the bombshell announcement was made that Sky Sports had secured exclusive Formula 1 rights in the UK from 2019 to 2024 inclusive.

9. Formula 1 hits decade low audience in UK – April 18th
With no presence on BBC television in 2016, Formula 1’s UK viewing figures dropped considerably year-on-year. Here is the Chinese Grand Prix ratings report, which paints the overriding pattern for 2016 as a whole.

8. Channel 4 confirms Australian Grand Prix build-up programming – March 5th
Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage was eagerly anticipated by readers in the build-up to the 2016 Formula One season. The first sign of their Australian Grand Prix schedule came on March 5th, as ‘Speed with Guy Martin’ was announced.

7. di Resta to replace Brundle as Sky’s co-commentator in Canada – June 9th
Martin Brundle’s appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was preceded by a “medical procedure” which meant that he was out of action for the Canadian Grand Prix. Paul di Resta was drafted in as Brundle’s co-commentator for both the Canadian and European rounds of the 2016 season,

6. Channel 4 confirms F1 ad-break plan for live races – March 15th
With Formula 1 moving back to free-to-air commercial television, readers were concerned that Formula 1 races would be littered with adverts again. The good news was that Channel 4 would continue to air live races advert free, with the broadcaster confirming their plans in a press release following their initial announcement in December 2015.

5. What the future holds for Motors TV – July 5th
The future of Motors TV has been a hot topic in 2016. The channel was removed from Sky’s television platform in July and further research revealed that the channel was in financial difficulty. The Motorsport Network (led by Zak Brown) acquired the channel in November, securing the future of its underlying assets.

4. F1 teams “blocked” Sky UK exclusivity for 2016 to 2018 – March 24th
The news that Sky Sports would be broadcasting Formula 1 exclusively from 2019 onwards prompted a lot of negative reaction. This site revealed days after that announcement that Formula 1’s teams blocked an attempt by Sky to broadcast the sport exclusively with immediate effect following the BBC’s exit at the end of 2015.

3. Motors TV removed from Sky platform (and reinstated) – February 25th
A precursor to the fifth post above, the initial rumblings around Motors TV started in February, when the channel was removed from Sky. The channel was reinstated in early March having been absent for around a week.

2. Channel 4 announces Formula 1 on-air team – March 8th
After a long wait, Channel 4’s Formula 1 line-up was finally unveiled to the assembled media (including this site) on a cold March morning. Steve Jones, Mark Webber, David Coulthard, Karun Chandhok and more were some of the stars on hand as Channel 4’s coverage launched.

1. Davidson and Brundle highlight strengths and weaknesses in Sky’s Formula 1 team – July 16th
The most read piece that was published this year, by some margin. One of my mid-season pieces focussing on the strengths and weaknesses of Sky’s Formula 1 team went ‘viral’, with 25 comments on the piece alone and a lot of thoughts and opinion generated through Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

It has been an interesting year in the broadcasting world, and who knows what 2017 will bring us. From the racing perspective, a new battle at the front of the Formula 1 field? I hope so.


Merry Christmas from The F1 Broadcasting Blog

In the wider world, 2016 has not been a great year for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, there have been reasons to smile in 2016. Whether it has been the fantastic racing in MotoGP or the emergence of young talent in Formula 1, motor sport has provided us with plenty of entertainment this year, and for that, we are thankful.

For me, 2016 has been a year of change. Positive change. Attending Channel 4’s Formula 1 media launch in March, followed by attending the British round of the MotoGP championship in a professional capacity were both amazing experiences. From a site perspective, this has been by far the busiest year, but worthwhile at the same time.

I hope all of you reading this have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for all your comments and thoughts as the year has progressed, it has been great to have you on-board for the ride. Stay safe over the holiday period, whatever you and your family are doing.

2017: we’re ready for you.

Owner of The F1 Broadcasting Blog

The magic 2016 numbers

2016 has been a record-breaking year for The F1 Broadcasting Blog, with nearly half a million hits from readers far and wide. As always, readers have accessed the site in a variety of ways. It hasn’t been much of a surprise to see the huge numbers: after all, 2016 saw a change of free-to-air broadcaster in the United Kingdom, which was followed by Sky’s shock announcement in March. From the perspective of this site, that is as big as you can get.

Outside of the United Kingdom, the audience reading this site from the USA, Ireland and Netherlands has increased. Since 2014, the amount of traffic coming from the Netherlands has almost doubled, something which can probably be said for many motor racing websites out there in 2016. It is the second year in a row that the blog audience has become more diverse, with the UK’s percentage dropping from 75 percent in 2014 to 74.3 percent in 2015 and now 72.7 percent in 2016.

Top 10 Countries – Percentage of all hits
01 – 72.7 percent (2015: 74.3) – United Kingdom
02 – 5.4 percent (2015: 3.8) – United States
03 – 2.7 percent (2015: 2.4) – Australia
04 – 2.3 percent (2015: 2.0) – Ireland
05 – 1.8 percent (2015: 1.3) – Netherlands
06 – 1.6 percent (2015: 1.5) – Canada
07 – 1.0 percent (2015: 1.0) – Spain
08 – 0.9 percent (2015: 0.8) – France
09 – 0.9 percent (2015: 1.0) – Germany
10 – 0.8 percent (2015: 0.9) – Italy

Surprisingly, the number of people coming to the site from search engines dropped in 2016 when comparing against other sources. Proportionally more people are heading to the site from Twitter and Reddit, which is good as it shows that social media (especially Twitter) works when publishing to those platforms.

Top 5 Referring Websites
01 – 63.1 percent (2015: 71.7) – Search engines
02 – 21.8 percent (2015: 17.0) – Twitter
03 – 6.0 percent (2015: 3.1) – Reddit
04 – 3.5 percent (2015: 1.9) – Facebook
05 – 1.0 percent (2015: 1.7) –

Given the biggest change this year, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see what topic dominates the top ten search queries.

Top 10 Search Queries
01 – f1 broadcasting
02 – f1 broadcasting blog
03 – channel 4 f1
04 – motors tv
05 – channel 4 f1 presenters
06 – f1
07 – channel 4 f1 team
08 – motors tv sky
09 – f1broadcasting
10 – c4f1

A lot of you headed straight to this site to find out news about Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage in the early part of 2016, which is reflected in the search numbers above. For what it is worth, Channel 4’s new Formula 1 presenter Steve Jones doesn’t feature in around the top 50 search queries, with more people reaching this site by searching for the likes of Tom Clarkson and Martin Brundle. The other main subject which cropped up throughout the year was Motors TV, the channel disappearing and reappearing on a few occasions.

Statistics compiled and correct as of December 23rd, 2016.

Happy 4th Birthday!

The F1 Broadcasting Blog continues to go from strength to strength and today marks the sites fourth birthday. The past few months have seen the site break milestones and set new records on the backdrop of two new UK F1 broadcasting deals that have elicited reaction from far and wide.

Here are some of the key performance indicators for the site:

– Total of 1.2 million hits
– 240000 hits so far in 2016
– 57000 unique visitors in March

I never set KPI targets simply because you do not know what is round the corner, the site traffic ebbs and flows depending on what is topical within the motor sport broadcasting world.

As some of you know this site is run single-handed, which has been the case since the site was founded in April 2012. The reward is the comments, the feedback and praise from those within the industry and beyond. The reward is the invitation to press days: such as Channel 4’s Formula 1 media morning last month which was a pleasure to attend from start to finish, for that, I thank them.

Writing and editing this site is just as rewarding and exciting today as it was on day one. I don’t need or have to write this, but I do so because I enjoy it. It is an area that interests me alongside my full-time day job (that is: data science). Readers may have noticed some changes over the past few months: the layout change, domain change, and advertising. But the fundamentals of this website remain the same: it will always be broadcasting based and it will always be my honest opinion and analysis.

Inevitably there is only a finite amount that can be covered in the time available meaning that some topics have been neglected so far this year. Now that the frantic period within the UK F1 broadcasting scene is over, expect the variety of posts to slowly return in forthcoming weeks as my batteries recharge and the motor racing season is getting into its element.

As always thank you for reading and supporting the blog throughout the past four years!


The top 10 blogs of 2015

The F1 Broadcasting Blog recorded just shy of 300,000 hits in 2015. In the last month or so, there has been one major talking point which plays a small part in the top ten below. Formula E, MotoGP, social media, viewing figures and Sky Sports Darts were a few of the topics covered on the blog in 2015.

10. Poll: Which F1 graphics set do you prefer? – March 17th
One of the main conversations in early 2015 was the new graphics set unveiled by Formula One Management (FOM) alongside their website and social media overhaul. Here, I asked readers which FOM graphics set they preferred, comparing the five different overlays.

9. Sky Sports Darts to replace the F1 channel during Christmas – November 7th
A popular post in the latter stages of 2015, as visitors wondered where the station had wandered off too. The good news is that the F1 channel will be back on Tuesday 5th January covering the 2016 season.

8. UK F1 TV viewing figures drop to eight year low – December 5th
Viewing figures are interesting given that they can either reflect interest or apathy in a product. As the headline shows, Formula 1’s overnight viewing figures hit their lowest level since 2007 despite Lewis Hamilton claiming a third championship. Whether the drop in numbers helped determine certain decisions that were made, who knows…

7. Report: ITV to take over BBC’s F1 TV coverage from 2016 – December 17th
…twelve days after the above and eight days before Christmas, it was reported by Broadcast that ITV were set to take over BBC’s Formula 1 television coverage from the 2016 season. My gut instinct was that Broadcast was right. As it turned out, they were wrong, and we would instead be welcoming Channel 4 to Formula 1.

6. Quick thoughts on the latest BBC F1 speculation – November 18th
The first hint of some change concerning BBC’s F1 coverage. The initial wave of articles did not indicate that 2016’s coverage was under threat. We found that out one day later. BBC officially confirmed their exit from covering Formula 1 on television on December 21st.

5. Sky Sports unveil 2015 pre-season trailer – February 28th
#TheChasingPack, Sky Sports F1’s 2015 pre-season trailer, was unveiled at the end of February, designed to show a pack of wolves chasing the pack leader. The trailer garnered a lot of reaction on this site and on social media, hence its high ranking for the year overall.

4. New F1 graphics set coming for 2015 – March 11th
News that FOM were overhauling the Formula 1 graphics came before the Australian Grand Prix, with a rolling blog post created as more detail came in. A poll on this site showed that the graphics set was well received on the whole, with 68 percent approval.

3. BBC confirm 2015 plans as Sky drops online Race Control – March 5th
The final BBC and Sky F1 details for 2015 were confirmed, as Sky dropped their online Race Control offering. The piece noted that “BBC’s web offering for their live races will now be more expansive than Sky’s.” One has to wonder how Channel 4 will compare in 2016…

2. Revamped Formula 1 website unveiled – March 9th
Only 44 hits behind the eventual winner, falling behind in the final hours of 2015 is the official Formula 1 website relaunch, which coincided with FOM increasing activity on YouTube and Instagram. The website received a satisfactory response from readers, with 48 percent liking the website compared to its predecessor.

1. Predicting Channel 4’s Formula 1 team (part 1) – December 22nd
The most read story of 2015 (by a whisker) following the announcement made the day before. It was time to start predicting Channel 4’s Grand Prix team. I doubt we will hear anything firm about what Channel 4 have to offer until at least the end of January.

The stage is set for 2016, as Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage begins with the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday 20th March.