F1 TV audience falls in 2013
3 February 2014 – F1’s global television audience fell to 450 million in 2013 - a drop of 50 million, it has been confirmed in a global media report issued by Formula One Management.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has blamed the drop on two main factors, Sebastian Vettel’s dominance in the latter half of the season – the German won all nine races en-route to his fourth world title – while a switch from national broadcasters in both China and France also had a sizeable impact. Indeed in China the decision to move from state broadcaster CCTV to a network of 13 regional partners saw viewership reduce by almost 30 million, while in France the shift to subscription service Canal+ led to figures dropping from 16 million to 10.2 million.
“The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach,” Ecclestone confirmed.
“The overall effect was exaggerated further still when you consider the calendar was one race shorter in 2013,” he added.
Despite the drop though, Ecclestone is convinced the trend will be reversed this year, despite his dislike of the new greener V6 turbo-charged engines.
“One thing I am sure of is that this coming season will not only offer a heightened level of unpredictability, but renewed excitement and fierce competition,” he continued.
The figures in the report were not all negative either, quite the contrary, with the audience in the USA going up from 1.7 million to 11.4 million, while in Britain and Italy – both countries moving to a subscription and free-to-air mix in recent years – there was also growth, albeit slight, and the audience in the UK now stands at 29.1 million, it is claimed.