Formula 1 broadcasting platform

Week 190 (3 – 9 June)

In the ever-changing world of broadcasting, Formula 1 is the latest sport to enter the digital streaming market. Chief Executive and Chairman Chase Carey announced this week that F1 intends to launch an Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming service, solely dedicated to the sport.

Carey, who took over from Bernie Ecclestone as Chief Executive in January, has been working with new owner Liberty Media to make Formula 1 more accessible to fans and the emergence of OTT platforms provide a perfect opportunity to do this.

Short term subscription and pay-per-view companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have been revolutionary in using OTT technology to re-shape our viewing culture, allowing consumers to watch live action, download programmes and stream shows on the go. However, it is not just boxsets and movies that are available as more sports begin to take note. The NFL, PGA Tour and WWE are some of the governing bodies that already offer an in-depth, on demand service.

It seems to be a logical next step for F1, which has a loyal and knowledgeable fan base that spans the globe. Although this is as-yet uncharted territory, Carey was confident that an OTT service will help the sport continue to grow.

Speaking with Autosport, Carey said: "We're actually ideally suited [to a digital platform], because we have a wealth of data and information, and such great history, so we have the ability to create unique packages.

“We were really a non-player in the digital platforms, so whether it's free, pay or digital, we want to make sure we're engaging with them all.”

OTT signals a changing of the guard for media consumption, from traditional television deals and multi-year contracts to a more flexible and digitally savvy approach, and Carey is evidently enthusiastic about bringing Formula 1 forward in its approach.

“We're going to be much more analytical about trying to evaluate the trade-off between reach and dollars," said Carey. "Part of what we have to do is make sure it's more than free to pay, it's digital, and how you engage fans across the broader spectrum of free, pay and digital.”   

As well as turning towards OTT, Carey also wants to negotiate shorter TV deals, increasing flexibility and maximising all available revenue streams.

Formula 1 is an iconic sport steeped in tradition but Carey and Liberty Media are committed to taking risks in the pursuit of modernisation. If successful, the move could pave the way for the next generation of Formula 1 fans.

Photo: Flickr