Happy 5th Birthday!

The journey of The F1 Broadcasting Blog started in early 2012. I had been toying with the idea of starting a Formula 1 blog site for some time, but never quite hit the right note.

I have been watching motor racing since 1999, and wanted to start writing about the sport, alongside my University studies (now turned full-time job which I thoroughly enjoy). Like most people, my first attempt of blogging consisted of writing race reports. Quite quickly, it felt like a chore to write the reports. I love watching motor racing, but writing about the action did not interest me, it did not click.

Motor racing is not just about the cars or bikes on the circuit, there are a range of topics associated with the sport left unexplored by the mainstream press. Broadcasting has many different avenues that can be dissected. Scheduling. Viewing figures. Television rights. Social media. On-screen graphics, and so on. With that in April 2012, The F1 Broadcasting Blog was born. Broadcasting is an area that I am passionate about, and I hope that comes across in the opinion and analysis pieces I post.

In the five years since inception, the site has recorded over 1.5 million total hits with visitors from around 200 countries. I am immensely proud of how far this site has come since then, breaking stories to readers around the motor sport broadcasting landscape. Last year, I attended both Channel 4’s Formula 1 launch and the British MotoGP in a professional capacity, with the intention to bring readers closer to the sport, something that continued at the AUTOSPORT Show in January and will continue moving forward.

The top 10 pieces on the blog (by number of hits) from the past five years are as follows:

10. Channel 4 announces Formula 1 on-air team – March 2016
9. Dissecting Georgie Thompson’s decision to leave Sky F1 – February 2013
8. Davidson and Brundle highlight strengths and weaknesses in Sky’s Formula 1 team – July 2016
7. Doing the sums: the cost of viewing Sky Sports F1 in 2013 – January 2013 (2017 piece: here)
6. Predicting BT Sport’s MotoGP team – October 2013
5. Tom Clarkson added to BBC F1 TV team – March 2013
4. Predicting Channel 4’s Formula 1 team (part 1) – December 2015
3. ITV4 wins rights to screen MotoGP highlights – March 2014
2. Georgie Thompson to leave Sky’s F1 team – February 2013
1. Gary Anderson to leave BBC’s Formula 1 team – January 2014

If you are a long-term reader from the beginning or someone who has just spotted this site, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the content coming up in the remainder of 2017.

Creator and Editor of The F1 Broadcasting Blog


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) – F1Fanatic.co.uk

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!