BBC says F1 coverage cuts will save �150m


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Jake Humphrey presents the BBC's F1 coverage

BBC director general Mark Thompson says the corporation will save �150m by dropping half of its live F1 races.

Speaking before the Culture, Media and Sport committee Thompson said the BBC had approached Sky about the deal and did not enter into negotiations with any other free-to-air broadcasters.

He said: “The idea of sharing the rights under the remainder of the current contract and of potentially extending that contract was our idea. There was a negotiation that led to all the parties involved in the conversation being happy with the idea.

“The effect will be to save the BBC well over �150 million between now and the end of the contract-money that obviously means that only half of Grand Prix will be live on the BBC, but it has enabled us to keep a very good position in Formula 1, and to make savings that otherwise might have meant deeper cuts in other services.

“As for the considerations for us, we know that Formula 1 has only fairly recently come back to the BBC; it has been very popular on the BBC. Secondly, we know that Formula 1 fans ideally do not want Formula 1 to be interrupted by advertising, because of the character of the sport.

“Nor, of course-for the subset of Formula 1 fans who do not have Sky subscriptions-would they, ideally, like Formula 1 to go entirely behind a paywall. I believe that the arrangements that we have reached offer very good value to the licence payer, and the experience of Formula 1 on the BBC will still be very rich.”

Asked if the BBC had approached free-to-air broadcasters Thompson said: “No, and to be honest I think that I would have already been on the edge of the limits of what it is appropriate to do, in terms of the appropriate separations of sports buyers in the market under the Enterprise Act.”

He continued: “We were quite clear that, to get the economics to work for us, it was going to have to be a pay partner, and this was the only pay partner, credibly, whom we thought we could involve in it-indeed, a pay partner who had expressed interest in this very topic of conversation previously. It was an example of a free-to-air pay partnership, which is not by any means unknown in the market.”

The government imposed a six-year freeze in the BBC’s licence fee in October last year, forcing it to make significant cuts in spending.

F1 on television

    Image © Team Lotus

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    110 comments on “BBC says F1 coverage cuts will save �150m”

    1. Secondly, we know that Formula 1 fans ideally do not want Formula 1 to be interrupted by advertising, because of the character of the sport

      I would rather have all races live with adverts than half of them with none

      1. Jake got my hopes up in the post-race coverage at Brazil. He said ‘and remember, you can watch all the races in full on the BBC next year.’ With the smile and reassuring tone, I assumed that having missed the pre-race coverage I’d also missed an announcement about the BBC getting the rights back. He then mumbled on for about 2 minutes and said ‘although only half the races are live.’ Stating it at first as though it would all be the same wound me up a bit.

      2. This of course is all directed at the UK market whereas us poor colonials have to get F1 either from TSN or the poorer coverage of SPEED TV.
        TSN always gives us adverts, some side by side but typically at a point during the live coverage when something is happening on track.
        SPEED of course is never really live, and as such is edited to some degree and also features even more adverts than with TSN here in Canada.
        Having said all that, I could care less that I have to take adverts. That is what my PVR is for. Without them in EVERY race we would not have any coverage of F1 so UK fans have choices we do not.
        It is all a matter of perspective.

        1. artificial racer
          21st December 2011, 18:05

          The adverts during the race don’t bother me too much, but I do get annoyed at the flurry of them towards the end of the race. And they always cut out the bits of post-race between getting out of the car and the podium celebration. It’s pointless stuff, but seeing that stuff is always fascinating to me (sort of a “behind the scenes” feeling when the drivers are talking “off camera”).

        2. @Alex3
          I’m curious to know if you’re aware of any changes to our coverage here in Canada as a result of this deal. I’ve twice e-mailed both SPEED and TSN and have not received a response.

        3. Yeah, I am really curious too to how this change for the bbc and sky is going to affect the tsn coverage. I really hope they are going to be able to show the races live still but I wouldnt be suprised if they only show the races the bbc broadcast.

      3. I would rather have all races live with adverts than half of them with none

        And I would not.

        i watched 3 races this year on speed channel with commercials & coudn’t follow any of them because the ad-breaks not only broke up the natural flow of the race but a ton of stuff was often missed during those breaks.

        i later watched the same races from the bbc without breaks & found them much easier to follow.

        1. Ah, but imagine how much harder they’d be to follow if you weren’t watching at all.

      4. Secondly, we know that Formula 1 fans ideally do not want Formula 1 to be interrupted by advertising, because of the character of the sport

        I would rather have all races live with adverts than half of them with none

        I was going to quote the same sentence and make exactly the same comment.
        Mr Thompson, seriously… consider the fans… what a joke? The fact is the BBC already has other contracts with Sky, working on drama projects etc, so the Sky deal was the easiest solution, however that doesn’t make it the best solution.
        Having said that some F1 free to air is better than none and the BBC coverage is great, still disappoint with the BBC for the decision though, I suppose times are hard and we can’t all have what we want. :-(

      5. @mcmercslr your comment about having all races with advertisements, instead of just 10 without is NONE-SENSE!

        I live in Chicago and I can tell you geniuely despise SPEED TV where every 14 minutes it cuts to a 5 minute commercial (zero coverage during commercial) and thus over MAX 2hour event if it doesn’t run over and forced to cut over something else has a mere 80-90 minutes of the race and the rest is commercials.

        The only thing i have going for me is SKY subscription (my butt hurts ) cause the price BUT at least I get to see EVERY SINGLE RACE WITHOUT ADVERTISEMENTS/COMMERCIALS!!!!

        I don’t think anyone in the UK or Europe realize how spoiled they have been, by the BBC _FREE_ coverage. Coverage is so bad in the US it’s not wonder why most people don’t watch F1 in the US. Just imagine a ManU vs Chelsea game with 30 minutes (game time) allocated to advertisements.

        I’m extremely gratefully to be able to watch F1 in HD commercial free from my TV in 2012 as opposed to going to ________ downloading 1080p and then watching on the Samsung LED 65 SmartTV.

        can’t wait to pay $800 for every single race and do so from the connivance of my couch

    2. Asked if the BBC had approached free-to-air broadcasters Thompson said: “No, and to be honest I think that I would have already been on the edge of the limits of what it is appropriate to do, in terms of the appropriate separations of sports buyers in the market under the Enterprise Act.”

      He continued: “We were quite clear that, to get the economics to work for us, it was going to have to be a pay partner, and this was the only pay partner, credibly, whom we thought we could involve in it-indeed, a pay partner who had expressed interest in this very topic of conversation previously. It was an example of a free-to-air pay partnership, which is not by any means unknown in the market.”

      In other words, we didn’t want to share with a partner on equal footing because we might have lost everyone to them whereas now we are at least guaranteed the cheap-skates, financially less well off and those who prefer not to give bloody Murdock a penny.

    3. I’m struggling to see the problem with the deal now… If you don’t get Sky, then fair enough.

      How many races are the BBC showing? 20. All of them. The difference is that only 10 of them are live, and the others get highlights.

      The BBC have done the right thing by not selling F1 to Sky, Sky only have exclusive live on 10 races, quite possibly 9 if Bahrain doesn’t go ahead.

      And above all, I’d far rather have a BBC that is still financially okay whilst only showing 10 races live, than a BBC that goes bust after showing 20 races..

      1. @KeeleyObsessed

        The BBC have done the right thing by not selling F1 to Sky

        I don’t see how you can say the BBC have not sold F1 to Sky? It seems pretty clear from this that not only have they done exactly that, they kept other free-to-air channels from bidding for it.

        1. @Keith-Collantine Because if BBC had let Channel 4 take F1, then they would be selling, because C4 would not have shared with the BBC. By sharing it with Sky they still show all 20 races with a top coverage team..

          1. @KeeleyObsessed

            I think we’re just differing on semantics – as far as I’m concerned, they’ve sold live coverage of half the races to Sky. Whereas you seem to be talking about offloading the entirety of their F1 coverage.

            In which case I don’t see why you think having all 20 races live and free-to-air (on Channel 4, or wherever) would be worse than having ten live and free-to-air and ten not live?

            1. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I don’t believe C4 would have put enough into F1.. And as I’ve said above, I’d far rather the BBC stays financially intact, as there’s a lot of other shows I would like the BBC to show.. The sacrifice of having to watch delayed highlights of a maximum of 10 F1 races a year seems completely justified… It’s not as if we’re going to be missing every race that the BBC aren’t showing live, is it?

            2. You must have a very low opinion of Channel 4 to expect their coverage would be so bad it would be worse than not being able to see the races live at all.

              I’d far rather the BBC stays financially intact

              You should work for the BBC’s PR department, because that’s the most creative positive spin on this I can think of!

              I can’t share your enthusiasm. The only reason the BBC are cutting back on their F1 coverage is because of the cuts imposed on them by the government – and we all know where their allegiances lie when it comes to broadcasting (see comment to @xenon2 below).

            3. Hmm I don’t think the BBC has sold anything, it’s the television rights holder who negotiates the television rights. In my opinion it’s not the prerogative of the BBC to contact C4.

        2. Indeed @keithcollantine, I see this as an admission of what was said all along. That it was the BBC that deviced this deal, while Sky naturally jumped at the occasion and Bernie gave his consent to the deal.

          The BBC did sell part of their rights on to Sky, limiting what their viewers will get next year. They could have either kept their side of the deal or asked Bernie to find someone else to take over. Instead, they barred from their direct “competitors” from getting that chance and distorted the option available.

      2. We’re also not getting the practice sessions, and have lost some of the best of the commentary team.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      21st December 2011, 16:04

      I wonder if people will go to pubs to watch? I know my local is planning to show the f1 with sound on in part of the pub. Not sure how it’ll work when there’s football on as well…

      1. @petebaldwin It’s a good chance they’ll do it for European and American races, but the Asian ones might be difficult..

      2. @petebaldwin I don’t think F1 lends itself to pub coverage as well as other sports like football do. There’s too much going on in a race, whereas in a football match there’s usually only one point of interest – i.e. where the ball is. Plus of course quite a few races are on at anti-social times.

        1. Not to mention the ones that are not at anti-social times are largely at times those pubs would be rather showing football!

          To make F1 a worthwhile experience, I would imagine it would have to have several displays (showing alternative angles or in car footage), probably offer head sets to listen to specific driver/team radio. Add to that live timing and a track map. In effect it would rather end up looking like a game-con meeting than a meet up in the pub!

          1. I’d love to go to that! XD

            1. Recently i’ve been watching F1 on the internet using 3 screens, the oficial TV screening, the track map and the onboard camera (the problem with this one is that it’s random).

              Being able to select the onboard camera to watch is my ultimate dream.

          2. How about a cinema rather than a pub?

            In all seriousness I would pay for a standard cinema ticket to watch F1 on the big screen…

            1. Yeah, same.. Imagine the sound <3.

              The whole idea about having specific headsets for specific drivers' made me laugh, getting an ASBO for giving a Glasgow kiss to someone trying to nab the Hamilton radio feed.

              :o Then there'd be a spinoff of the football factory, good times.

    5. I’d rather the Treasury gave the BBC a fair licence fee settlement rising in line with inflation.

      1. @xenon2 Couldn’t agree more.

        Obviously this point of discussion can only lead into a debate over the worthiness of the licence fee. But I think you can draw a straight line from the government’s freeze on the fee to the cuts imposed on the F1 coverage.

        Which, of course, has worked out very nicely for those firm supporters of the government, the Murdochs.

        1. I have never paid the TV licence nor will I ever do so, its totally immorral to impose on everyone a poll tax to pay for a state owned monopoly broadcaster. I could perhaps stomach it if the BBC would confine itself to programming which could plausably be justified as in the public interest, but when they waste hundreds of millions of pounds a year on entertainment shows and American TV show re-runs that should be povided by commercial broadcasters.

          Ultimately the only reason why F1 will no longer be free to air is that F1 was unwillling to take a short term revenue hit to ensure the sport reached the maximum audience in the UK. You can’t expect the taxpayer/govt to protect F1 from its own stupidity through a higher TV tax or by giving the sport protected status in legislation.

          1. You can’t expect the taxpayer/govt to protect F1 from its own stupidity through a higher TV tax or by giving the sport protected status in legislation.

            Yes you can, it’s done with many other sports, including several that attract smaller audiences than F1:

            Why the UK government must protect live F1 broadcasts on free-to-air television

            1. Yes, and its wrong with each sport it does it with. The state should not pick and choose which cultural and sporting events to give special protection to. If a sport like F1 or Cricket a year or two ago believed its interests are best served by being on pay TV government should not interefere. It might turn out to be bad for the given sport, but you cannot expect goverments to prop up sports too stupid to look after themselves, especially one as wealthy as F1.

          2. I hope you don’t ever view the BBC website or listen to any BBC radio stations, or have ever benefitted from any BBC educational programs at school or indeed any educational material produced by the BBC.

            You may think the licence fee is a poll tax(not sure you really understand poll tax) but I think of it as a type of national insurance for media. The licence fee is worth it for the documentaries and sports coverage alone! (although it is getting less so as decisions like this are made). Out of interest I assume you have been watching f1 on some other foreign channel the last few years?

            1. No one should be forced to pay for a state broadcaster just to watch television. Frankly in a free society there’s no need for a publically funded broadcaster. If the BBC continued in its current form on the basis of private donnations and voluntary subscriptions I’d be happy, but no way should it be funded through taxation.

              I’ll continue watching free-to-air TV, but I’ll do everything I can to avoid paying a tax to do so.

            2. I disagree with that @ads21, in the same way that a countrie needs other services, free, unbiased media is important. We cannot leave it to market forces alone.
              A licence fee (or indeed taxing as such – coveres basic needs like defense, schooling, infrastructure, justice system/police, etc.) makes perfect sense to have.

              I do think one can debade and differ on what such a broadcaster should show and focus on to ensure everyone has a chance to voice their concerns or views on a non commercial station, as well as protecting several cultural events and even sports, if they are deemed to be important for the country.

              In a world without taxes, the police would only show for a fee, the courts would be unavailable to most and or just to the highest bidder, and amusement would easily crush most culture.

            3. Anyone in the world can view the BBC website, including the 6.93 billion people who don’t pay the licence fee, so I don’t see why @Ads21 can’t look at the BBC website.

              The TV licence is just that, a TV licence, not a radio licence, so I don’t see why Ads21 or anyone else should not listen to any BBC radio station because he doesn’t pay a TV licence.

              And the licence fee only covers watching shows as they are broadcast. Meaning you can watch anything without having paid the licence fee, so long as it’s viewed after the original broadcast has taken place. The BBC provide an excellent service for circumventing their own licence fee. It’s called the iPlayer.

            4. @ajokay Actually it is a Radio licence as well. If you don’t own a TV but own a radio you have to buy a licence for it. If you have a TV licence then you’re covered under that.

            5. @adrian-j Everything I’ve read says that you don’t need a radio licence. Apparently they were abolished 40 years ago.

        2. The best explanation is often the simplest one. Here’s the non-conspiracy version.

          The Conservatives and Lib Dems both believe that the UK needs to stop spending more money than it’s got. They desperately want to break even every year so that our debts aren’t getting any bigger.

          In order to break even every year, they’ve raised taxes on absolutely everyone; they’ve reduced the pensions of our teachers and nurses; they’ve cut their own salaries; and they’ve had a fair few impassioned rows with each other.

          Because they sincerely believe this is important – and because they were elected on that basis – they’ve also cut the TV license. Can you really blame them?

          I’m glad our government has been consistent with their principles, even if this time, it’s hurt me instead of some nameless dustbin man (pay cut), bank clerk (job loss) or medic (pension cut). I reckon I can cope with the pain.

          1. I agree. However the BBC have just spent a fortune on an American talent show format plus the move to Manchester. It is right that they need to make savings but they could have easily made cuts elsewhere. Also why did they restrict the competition in favour of sky?

            1. I hear that the design of the Manchester studio is ridiculous. At BBC studios they have studios, each with its own green room, edit suite and all the other ancillaries necessary. At the Manchester site all studios are lumped together, all edit suites are lumped together etc. Which means that to do a single programme the staff are spread over the entire site, which is a nightmare for travelling between ‘departments’ and for communication. And apparently all the studios can be accessed from a single supply road- it cuts into the centre of the building and the studios branch directly off it. Apparently it is so narrow that if a delivery is happening at the first studio along the road, none of the others can be accessed. Apparently the facilities at the BBC were still fine.

    6. The annoying thing for me is that the BBC threw away two years of full coverage of all races to jump into this deal. If they had let their five year contract to show every race run to the end and then negotiated this I would have said fair enough. The way they got out two years early to save money makes it unacceptable to me. I already have Sky Sports for the football but I totally sympathise with people who are now dabating whether or not to get it just for the F1.

      1. They coulda aired two full years, and then STOPPED completely…

        now you get F1 on bbc/sky to what, 2018 or 2019 or something…

        1. Don’t think it’s that long. And if they’d just let the contract run out then another channel might have picked it up in two years- probably would have.

        2. Well, they could have. Only that might have ended up being just as expensive as sitting out the deal. Remember they would have been in breach of contract and Bernie would use all clauses he has to extract an early termination fee from them.

    7. I believe that the arrangements that we have reached offer very good value to the licence payer

      As a licence payer, I used to get all races live. Admittedly I’m too young to have been a licence payer for that long, but in essence this went back decades. As a licence payer, suddenly I no longer get these things. As a licence payer, this is therefore shocking value as we have less coverage than we have had for decades at a time when the sport is incredibly popular, and not least because they didn’t even approach other free-to-air channels.

    8. Asked if the BBC had approached free-to-air broadcasters Thompson said: “No, and to be honest I think that I would have already been on the edge of the limits of what it is appropriate to do, in terms of the appropriate separations of sports buyers in the market under the Enterprise Act.”

      Read (pretty obviously) “we’re citing this Enterprise Act as a reason for selling the sport somewhere where it won’t directly compete with the BBC, rather than validly offering it to our competitors but to the benefit of the fans and our licence payers. We come first even though the public funds us.”

      1. Sounds like as accurate a translation of it as is possible @matt90

        1. Cheers @bascb, although I think I’d actually replace ‘we’re citing this Enterprise Act as a reason’ with ‘as a bad excuse.’ I think I was being too charitable before.

          1. probably, yes :-)

    9. 6 year deal (2012-2018), £150 million over the 6 years, so the BBC are saving £30 million per year.

      Based on this guardian report from 2009, they were previously paying £200 million for their 5 year deal:

      So they’ve gone from paying somewhere around £40m per year to £10m per year, a huge saving but still very frustrating.

    10. So, all the money they saved by not showing the “other” 10 races live and in full for about 7 million viewers …….. has been blown on the Rugby world cup international 6 day wotsit over about 2 weeks for some 2-3 million viewers.
      Well that makes financial sense. NOT.
      I do understand that budgets have to be met, but surely, with a programme as constantly supported and followed by so many, the BBC could have made cuts elsewhere. I do not believe for 1 minute that F1 is so low down the tables that it can be forfeited to SKY. No, there must have been some shennanigans somewhere.
      I tend to agree with the general concensus that the ruling class in BBC are ANTI motor sport.
      But hey, we get 1 man and his dog on a regular basis.

    11. “There was a negotiation that led to all the parties involved in the conversation being happy with the idea.”

      Shame that the viewers were not part of that conversation then, because we sure as hell are not happy and EVERYTHING the BBC does should be for the benefit of the viewers. They have no shareholders to keep happy, only us, and they failed.

    12. Unfortunately, SKY has now won in my household… buh bye money, hello Sky Sports F1 HD. BBC coverage is just not good enough, and I just have to be able to watch races live.

      An HD DVR with some extra channels is definitely a plus over useless freeview, but I’m now paying more than my TV a year on getting content onto my TV (Sky sub + TVL), which I feel is a bit silly.

      1. content is the king.

      2. Personally, I’d be mortified if I spent more on my TV than I did on the stuff I actually watch on it.

        Which is more important?

    13. Others may have a different view but this doesn’t improve my view of the BBC in the whole F1 to Sky affair.

      I think some of his comments show that Mark Thompson isn’t an F1 fan and doesn’t really understand the sport.

      For as long as I have been an F1 fan all the races have been shown live on free to air in the UK and personally I would have prefer a return of adverts rather than have half the races live and the rest shown as edited highlights.

      It may just be the way I have read it but his quote

      “Nor, of course-for the subset of Formula 1 fans who do not have Sky subscriptions”

      says to me that he thinks it is only a minority of F1 fans who don’t have Sky so it isn’t a big deal, but I would have thought it was the majority who don’t have Sky.

      Also I would be more likely to believe his agruement about “a free-to-air pay partnership” if it starts happening with other sports on the BBC such as Wimbledon or the Six Nations, come to think of it why stop there why not show every other episode of Eastenders exclusively on Sky and just have a short recap before the BBC episodes for people who don’t have Sky.

      1. Absolutely right, Sky have the minority audience, by a huge margin. But those fat fees paid to subscribe means tons of lovely money for Rupert’s sleazy empire, with nice bits siphoned off to Bernie. It’s not that Sky subscribers have more money, necessarily; just that they’re willing to spend it on Sky. I won’t. I suspect that several teams & their sponsors are unhappy to be losing a large chunk of the audience overnight, but again the flood of TV revenue into the teams means that ethical stances can be “adjusted”. Everybody wins except the fans, as always in Grand Prix Racing’s current F1 incarnation.

    14. I know there is a link to the transcript of this meeting but does anyone know if this will be shown on BBC Parliament and if so when?

      1. @PJA

        The transcript of the meeting was just released today but the actual meeting took place a week ago. You can watch it from link, the meeting was a about 2 hours long but you can click on the last 5 minutes or so which was about the F1 rights.

    15. The deal doesn’t really seem so bad (probably because I have Sky) but a few things really bug me which means it probably really is horrendous; I’m convinced this is just the beginning of the end for F1 on free to air TV in the UK, most fans don’t have Sky and the BBC waste money in so many other areas (what is the point of BBC3???) that this shows a complete lack of creativity. I know the UK is so lucky with coverage anyway but this is a massive change for us.

    16. In defence of the BBC: to be honest I can see why people might be upset with the BBC, but unfortunately the cold hard facts are this:

      1. The combination of Murdoch/printed press and the Hutton inquiry had directly led to the BBC cuts which have been across the board, including their biggest money spinners (which are Doctor Who and Top Gear). F1 is a significant investment and for all the fans on here who consider it a Very Important Thing, the reality is that it isn’t for the tens of millions of licence fee payers that aren’t fans (or are just casual viewers).
      2. The BBC had no moral obligation to negotiate with Channel 4. Yes, you want to keep it free to air, because then you wouldn’t have to pay more money. That’s pretty selfish of you. I can bet you good money in an alternative universe where Channel 4 got the deal, internet boards like this are full of “OH NO NOT ADVERTS AGAIN WE ONLY JUST GOT RID OF ITV AND JIM ROSENTHAL’S SCARY FACE AND STEVE RIDER’S COMPLETE LACK OF PERSONALITY” etc. etc. repeat ad nauseam. Just because you pay the licence fee doesn’t make you justified in your criticism of the BBC’s budgeting decisions. You try doing that job, with independence of your personal preferences.
      3. You get half the races live, and half as highlights. If you’re watching every race live now anyway then you really need to do more with your Sundays. Or stop missing out on sleep so much.
      4. What about Bernie charging so much money for the rights? Surely if he wasn’t so money grabbing the BBC could accommodate this.

      Look, I’m no fan of Sky or moving the rights away from the BBC’s excellent coverage but there is a commercial reality at play here that all this whining at the BBC will not change. It’s not the BBC’s fault (although they of course played a part). The fault, if anything, lies with Murdoch, Hutton, Blair (for setting up the Hutton inquiry) and maybe Ecclestone. Not the BBC.

      1. “If you’re watching every race live now anyway then you really need to do more with your Sundays. Or stop missing out on sleep so much.”

        You make it sound as if watching every race live is something to be frowned upon and a waste of time. This site is called F1 Fanatic, I would have thought watching all the races live if possible is a given for most people on here.

        There is nothing up with being a casual fan but there is no need to criticize those of us who like to watch every single F1 session live if we can.

        Some of the comments about the BBC which were posted when the news first broke were a bit extreme, such as they should ditch BBC4 instead. The BBC has to cater for everyone and it is hard balancing act to manage. I normally stick up for the BBC when people say they should scale and I think the service the BBC provide from TV to Radio and the Internet is brilliant.

        However the way the BBC has handled the situation and the fact that it seems they didn’t even look into the options for keeping all the races live on free to air before selling out to Sky means the BBC does deserve some criticism.

        Ecclestone definitely deserves some of the blame, he has chosen short term financial gain over the long term popularity of F1 in the UK in agreeing to this deal.

        The teams may not have had any real power to stop this but as they didn’t put up much of a fight, in public at least, they have no right to claim they are on the side of the fans and want to do what is best for us next time they have a disagreement with Ecclestone or the FIA.

    17. I listened to Mark Thompson live on radio when he answered (tried not too) the Select Committee, well for his information we “subset” F1 fans without sky have now got 39,000 signatures to keep F1 free to air. His comment was derogatory, made out we were the lowest of the low and not “real” F1 fans. He did not address the issues as to the many reasons we are not sky subscribers, nor did he care. The BBC have failed to respond to over 40,000 complaints from F1 fans.
      We have however decided to turn negative into positive and eventually hope egg ends up on his face, we will be tweeting during every race, even when unable to watch, when you see #SpecialF1SubSet come join us.

      1. to keep F1 free to air

        Which is what you have, All races will be shown on BBC which is a FTA broadcaster.

        1. No, some of every race will be shown. This is a very different thing and not acceptable.

    18. Looking forward to watching F1 on Sky & getting the best coverage since F1 digital+.

      I’d be more annoyed had F1 gone off to Channel 4 who probably would have shown commercials & not had any additional live coverage (such as the extra feeds Sky will offer us).

      Sky coverage sould like an F1 fans dream, Tons of additional content, tons of analysis, Tons of extra data & a lot more in-depth technical stuff, The sort of stuff many fans have been asking for for years.

      F1 been shown on Sky is the best news ever in that regard.

    19. It would seem that reading between the lines, everyone in this forum that is happy with the situation has Sky already!

      What if the BBC just showed the races live, without all the coverage either side of the race, how much would this have saved? As much as I like Jake Humprey, I could have lived without all the buildup and post race coverage.

      I’m sure no-one cares about my personal situation, but we’ve just had to get rid of pay-tv in our house due to our financial situation, and in this current economic climate, there are many more people in the same boat as us.

      This deal is definitely very short sighted, short term gain at the expense of the audience figures. Sure, some people will get Sky, and some won’t. Casual viewers which F1 has been trying to attract for years will disappear as the complication (however minor) of knowng where to watch which races will be too much bother for the casual viewer.

      As for myself, I love F1, it’s the only sport I follow, but I can’t afford/justify getting Sky for a single sport that’s only on fortnightly for half the year. If I watched football, then it wouldn’t be so bad as there’s loads of football to watch, but not so with F1. The upshot of all this is likely to be my family losing interest in F1, with only half the races being shown live, and just highlights of the others, we may very well stop watching altogether.

      Surely the loss in sponsorship is going to be massive for the teams in the long term. What if Sky decides in future that they don’t want F1 after all, will the teams be able to suddenly ask sponsors to give todays sums of money once again if they need to switch back to being on FTA channels.

      As was said at the start of this thread, I too would have preferred all the races live with adverts than this stupid half and half deal.

    20. We were quite clear that, to get the economics to work for us, it was going to have to be a pay partner

      Everything that’s wrong with how this happened is in that there sentence. Should the BBC, funded by the tax payer, be doing things for itself at the detriment of the people that fund it? How is Sky any less of a player in terms of the Enterprise Act.

      I still find the whole thing a disgrace to be honest, even if many are starting to get used to the idea.

    21. The BBC is, first and foremost, a business, and so it must be run as one. As a business, its first, last and only purpose is simple: to make money. Halving their Formula 1 coverage might be an unpopular move, but at the same time, £150 million is a lot of money. It’s more than the operating budget of most Formula 1 teams; in 2010-11, the BBC were spending more on Formula 1 than they were on BBC Three and BBC Four. The BBC evidently feel that saving that £150 million is more important than retaining their market share with Formula 1. You might think that is insane, but from a completely objective point of view, it does make a lot of sense. Like I said, £150 million is a lot of money, and with Europe staring down the barrel of financial chaos, organisations like the BBC have to be very careful how they spend their money.

      1. If the only purpose of the BBC was to make money then why doesn’t it have pay per view services itself? The BBC is funded by a compulsory licence fee which even people that only watch sky have to pay. This is not free market capitalism at work.

        No one is arguing that the BBC doesn’t need to save money, they are angry as licence fee payers that negotiations were solely with Sky.

        1. It’s llikely the BBC negotiated solely with Sky because of the wording of their contract with FOM. If they had handed the rights to the sport over to another commercial station, they would have given up all of their Formula 1 coverage – and they would have taken a massive financial penalty for offloading the rights before the contract expired. It’s unlikely a joint broadcasting deal could have been worked out, because then the BBC and their partner would have gotten into a row over who got to broadcast which races. But their contract with FOM and the Concorde Agreement allowed for a deal with Sky.

      2. The BBC is first and foremost a business

        Stop right there. The BBC is not a business. The BBC is a public service broadcaster. Nowhere in the BBC’s Royal Charter is there any requirement for it to make a profit. The actual public purposes of the BBC are (quoting verbatim from its charter):

        The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—
        (a) sustaining citizenship and civil society;
        (b) promoting education and learning;
        (c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
        (d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;
        (e) bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK;
        (f) in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.

        The promotion of Formula One, which David Cameron (quite reasonably) called “an incredible British success story” fulfills points (d) and (e) very well, and given the technical nature of the sport it also provides avenues for (b) and (c).

        1. @ilanin

          Stop right there. The BBC is not a business. The BBC is a public service broadcaster.

          The BBC has income and expenses. It has assets and liabilities. It is a business.

          Nowhere in the BBC’s Royal Charter is there any requirement for it to make a profit.

          Nevertheless, I’m quite sure the government prefers it to behave like a business so that they don’t need to bail the BBC out every year. If they did, the inevitable question would be “Why don’t you start cutting some of your costs?”, which would be qickly followed by “Because if we keep have to bailing you out, we’re going to make those cuts for you”.

          While the BBC might not be a business by the letter of the law, it is a business in spirit, simply because it can meet its purpose more effectively if it as run as a business. Trying to say “The BBC is not a business, so any argument that the BBC dropped Formula 1 on business ground is a poor one” will not get you very far.

          Formula One, which David Cameron (quite reasonably) called “an incredible British success story”

          Except that it’s not British. Well, not just British. The current World Champions are a German driver and an Austrian team. There is just one race on the calendar that is held in England. There are more French and German competitiors than there are British. Formula One might have started in Britain, but other countries have more claim to its current success.

          1. The question here was not about the fact the BBC has to cut down on cost, but they way they went about doing so.

    22. UK viewers, if you spend about £50 on a Standard Definition satellite receiver and also have a dish to point at the Astra satellite at 19.2 degrees East you can receive free broacasts from the german station RTL which has a contact to broadcast F1 free to air until 2015. Commentary is in german and there are adverts but the pictures are more important than the commentary and if we are lucky BBC 5 Live may provide a radio commentary. So there is no neccessity to pay greedy SKY any money at all.

    23. oops for contact read contract.

    24. I think the BMW Sauber collaboration was working. They were, after all, third in the WCC. But the problem was that the F1.09 was a terrible car, and it was very expensive to turn it around. This itself wasn’t that much of a problem; the real issue was the global recession. BMW were hurt by it, and they simply couldn’t justify keeping BMW Sauber alive. If it weren’t for the recession, we’d probably still have BMW Sauber on the grid.

    25. How can someone save £150M this just means that F1 costs much more, how?! let me see sending an oversized crew doenst cost that much still they are going to send an oversized crew, where do they waste money? im puzzled. I know if BBC wants profit they should use this small amount of money to… I dont know…. build an F1 team let me see if covering half of the races means saving £150 not broadcasting at all gives them £300M perfect to start your own winning racing team.

      To be honest they might as well be washing money I dont care not anymore neither you should.

    26. I’m from Canada and was wondering what happens to the rest of the world since BBC is not showing all the races. Anyone with a clue?

      1. I’d posted a similar query earlier. I haven’t heard anything regarding TSN or SPEED’s coverage for next year. I’ve e-mailed them both and not received a response.

        1. I know that some broadcasters – like OneHD/Ten here in Australia – will broadcast direct from Sky’s feed. What these stations actually show is the world feed. The BBC will not control the world feed in 2012 because they are not the exclusive broadcaster. They’re a terrestrial broadcaster, like TSN, SPEED and OneHD, and they cannot control the world feed.

        2. I guess Speed, being Murdoch owned, will easily get the feed from sister company Sky (don’t they get the FOM feed directly though?). Not sure about others, but I guess most would be looking at doing a deal with News Corp for that coverage now.

    27. The BBC get tons of money, about £3 billion a year and show nothing but repeats so what an earth they spend our money on is mind boggling, in fact i recently read they spend £250 million a year chasing non licensed households for money they probably won’t ever get.

      Saying they sold out F1 fans to save money is a stupid argument and one that any half witted person would see as such.

      1. Finally I read a good comment here I myself cant understand where they spend all their money what I know is that no Public company is efficient from an economical stand point, BBC are just washing their underwear with F1.

      2. What an Inane statement. Hate to break it to you, but the F1 coverage is a drop in the water for the BBC in terms of ratings. and more than two thirds of their programming is original – whilst the amount of repeats is creeping up, it certainly isn’t the majority of their content.

        BBC average F1 viewing figure: 4.9 million people per race,
        BBC average Eastenders viewing figure: approx 10 million per episode.

        Expecting the BBC to prioritise F1 over their headline content is downright asinine.

    28. I heard it was £3.5 Billion and when you’re talking about that kind of money I would imagine there would be quite a few leaks.

      Whether you think of the bbc as a broadcaster or a money making machine makes no difference, they will do as they like and still pay the top people too much.

      Give me £3.5 thousand million and I’ll give you the best television in the world – as the bbc once was but will never be again.

      RIP bbc

    29. Public private partnership means a toll gate on every street.
      Economically, there may be nothing wrong with the deal, but in principle, there is everything wrong with this deal.
      It is not for the BBC to choose what will benefit the viewers.

      Ok the BBC will show 10 live races next year, what about 2013 and onwards? Don’t be surprised when they reduce their live offering to save even more money, while describing it as the best deal for the viewers.
      The best he could have done if its to expensive, is drop it. But to decide who gets it is what have problems with.
      Believe it or not, the BBC is pay tv and their income not affected by a drop in viewership.

    30. The offending TV License came in the post the other day.

      I’m still holding out for a good deal between Virgin Media and Sky.

    31. Guys, I think you all in UK are very lucky to have BBC.
      I live in China, and here the broadcast is the worst possible, half of the races the TV just showed after midnight on Sunday, and in all the races there are many ads, and of course, the poor coverage is all in Chinese even as I have cable-TV
      So believe me, you guys are in a good position

      1. I still don’t see how that excuses either the specific deal that Bernie approved of Sky getting half the UK-broadcast races to itself, or the general trend of taking F1 broadcasting to the lowest common denominator instead of encouraging everywhere to match the best.

    32. So, Sky is to show F1 races without adverts in 2012.

      Has anybody heard what their plans are for 2013 and beyond?

      1. They will show races without Ad’s for the length of there contract from what I’ve been told.

        I understand there may be 1 Ad break during practice (most likely early on when everyone is in the pits & additional breaks if there are any red flags) & at least 1 break during qualifying (In the break between Q1-2 or Q2-3).

        Sky know that Ad’s were massively unpopular when F1 was on ITV & when they looked at it they also saw that in the new format F1 (With more pit stops & more on-track action) there are no longer any natural breaks in the action (ITV often scheduled breaks to take place just before/after pit stops when there tended to be less going on).

        Looking at Ad breaks you would be surprised at just how much broadcasters miss while on an Ad-Break & much of t never gets mentioned or replayed when they come back. The bigger things like accidents & front running position changes often are but smaller things like passing a bit further back & spins or cars running wide (Which are often no less important) are often never even mentioned.

        ITV missed some key moments while on Ad-Breaks (Hill taking the lead at Hungary ’97, Schumacher crashing from the lead at montreal ’99 & retiring from the lead & having his title hopes ended at suzuka ’06, fisichella bringing out the safety car after big crash at eau rouge at spa ’05) & there was that incident at imola in 2005 when they cut to a break on the last lap in the middle of that thrilling fight for the win between schumacher & alonso.

    33. Gee! really? you’d rather not pay a penny and put up with advertising!! shock shock horror horror. Id rather have a free beer and listen to the landlord extol the virtues of Fosters lager for 90 seconds as well but in the real world theres a recession on so deal with your “hardship”!

      The real problem with the Beeb deal was they completely over did it. Probabably we dont want to go back to the days of 1983 when there was at most 3 minutes pre amble with it cutting back to horseracing as the winning car crossed the line but did we really need a separate team for practice? And why were they covering practice anyway?

      We dont, sorry i dont, want a pre show with EJ buying a shirt downtown and Jake giving us a robert robinson holiday program about whatever location they are in. I was always very happy when James Hunt used to cycle to the BBC in town and talk over the live feed. why did we need to watch DC wear inapropriate jeans for a 40 yr old stand next to an even more inappropriately goateed pensioner, live and direct from the venue? It added nothing.

      Its not a lifestyle show its motor racing. Im watching it for the cars not the stars. If i liked gok wang shows i wouldnt expect them to spend 4 minutes covering what had happened in formula ford that week so dont give me the opposite in F1.

      Its the same old story with motor racing, but for sites like this, there is no real understanding in the media of how to handle F1 so they get some oxbridge squit producing it who wouldnt know an f duct from his effin elbow and he/she tries to “broaden its appeal”. Id actually llike them to narrow its appeal.

      All of which means the bbc can save a ludicrous 150million when if they had not been so excitable in the first place they couldve covered the whole lot for half what they will spend next year.

      1. And why were they covering practice anyway?

        because its an important part of the weekend which many fans want to watch.

        did we really need a separate team for practice?

        wasn’t costing the bbc any extra to have a seperate team as the radio broadcast is handled by an outside company & radio/tv broadcast’s differ so much that having 2 seperate teams is necisary.

        We dont, sorry i dont, want a pre show

        majority of fans would disagree.
        ok not all the pre-race stuff was great but i for one enjoyed a lot of it.

        if pre-race shows were not important then nobody would watch, the ratings would show this & the pre-race shows would be shortened or scrapped. ratings show that majority of fans watch the pre-race & the various message boards etc… im a member of indicate most of them enjoy them.

        going back to the old style coverage (from a london studio with no pre-show) isn’t going to happen because viewers expect more now.
        having a studio in london means you don’t have all the info from trackside. the american broadcaster (speed channel) broadcast’s from a charlotte studio & they are often behind when it comes to trackside information because there not there getting everything in real time.

        having no pre-show also means you never get to know the teams, drivers, tracks (more important to new viewers who are still learning about the sport) & the latest news & whats happened over the weekend.

        the bbc coverage with its practice coverage, pre-show & team on-site is an award winning broadcast, you never see broadcasters with less coverage winning the awards or getting praise from fans & there is a reason for that.

    34. Does anyone know how the qualifying will be televised???

    35. yes quite right Dizzy, though i didnt suggest there should be NO pre show. i just couldnt care less about the pompous mock poetry starts and EJ buying a shirt.

      Of course all your arguments, valid though they are miss one crucial point: The huge coverage and team required to run bbc f1 has meant we are now losing half the races unless we succomb to paying the dark side. I know what id rather compromise on and its not live free to air race action.

      1. Although I think overall the BBC’s coverage is great the “pompous mock poetry” as you call it is one of the things that annoys me. I don’t know if this type of thing has a proper name I tend to class them the same as I do perfume adverts, pretentious twaddle, and sadly this is not just confined to BBC’s F1 team.

        The other thing that annoys me is when they do an interview, which is preplanned not the live ones, they use the same camera technique which has invaded a lot of modern TV. The shot does not stay still for more than a few seconds, the camera is constantly zooming in and out and they are always changing camera angles.

        A good example of this was during the show for the German GP with the Alonso interview. Alonso did a card trick, now when filming a card trick I think you should always keep a steady shot on the cards, but the camera moved about so much Alonso had time to completely change the deck of cards a few times.

        I don’t know why this style of camera work is so common now, it makes it look like the cameraman is totally inexperienced and is just pressing buttons at random

      2. The huge coverage had nothing to do with the Sky deal; even with the large production effort the BBC put in, the Bernie fee was still 4 times the cost of the non-Bernie expenses put together and that differential was only going to rise as time went on. Saving a couple of million a year to give bare-bones coverage wouldn’t have paid for the BBC to carry one more race let alone two years. Also, the audience continued to rise throughout the BBC’s tenure despite British drivers being less successful at the end than the start. The extra coverage was enjoyed by dedicated and casual fan alike.

    36. I believe that the arrangements that we have reached offer very good value to the licence payer

      So half the live coverage but no reduction in the license fee, Mark Thompson really does have his head up his……

    37. just for those who fail to understand why the BBC ‘sold’ F1 to sky instead of allowing a deal with another channel
      the conservative government is supported by the news international newspapers , and is desperate to maintain that ; sky is , of course a NI subsidiary
      although the interests of the viewers is supposed to be protected by an independant panel the chairman of the panel is ….. a member of the conservative party and a former government minister !!!

      so we got screwed ; I wouldn’t have been pleased if the BBC had done a deal with an advert funded channel , but I could have understood that …the fact that F1 employs a large number of people in the UK and the UK is world leader should have dictated that the BBC gave the maximum support to F1 seems to have been ignored …plenty of money is given to support things like tennis and rubbish american programmes and the money could have been saved there

      this decision was POLITICAL

    38. I have to confess I’ve discovered a healthy way to potentially watch F1 live next year…

      …I am joining a gym for health reasons and they have Sky Sports available to watch while you’re on the running/cycling machines etc…

      …might well end up very fit after cycling for the full race distance!!

      1. Great idea! I may go to watch all the qualifying sessions.

    39. yes what a complete nonsense! the bbc gives you 4 channels on the telly, iplayer, half a dozen radio stations for £10 a month and no ads and you want a partial refund cos some f1 races arent broadcast live. i think the only person with his head in the wrong place is you my friend.

      I actually feel quite angry when people make those comments about a service unmatched in the world.

      1. Hear hear!

    40. It certainly appears as if this is the first step towards Sky attaining full coverage of F1 races. With people like Martin Brundle joining Sky’s F1 commentary team, the BBC’s version only has a slim chance of lasting for any real length of time.
      What angers me is the fact that the BBC pretend that this situation is the ‘best thing’ for the fans. That is complete rubbish and an insult! This is the best situation for Rupert Murdoch and Sky Tv and no one else. For all the stick ITV took when they had the F1 tv contract, atleast they saw it through for twelve years. Also, they had to endure the Schumacher ‘dominant’ years at Ferrari and low viewing figures. Only to be shown the door when F1 became more popular in the UK again following Hamilton’s arrival and Button’s championship.
      And now the BBC, after only three seasons, moreorless throw in the towel and in the most pathetic way possible. They might as well have Gary Lineker doing the highlights in a match of the day style format, it is embarrassing and a complete insult to suggest that that is what real fans want.

    41. themagicofspeed (@)
      23rd December 2011, 22:30

      Thanks BBC, for screwing over the millions of fans who thought F1 coverage was about to get good again after ’09.

      – And i hope spending your £150m saving showing 3 days of rugby was worth it. Rot in the pits of hell.

    42. I live in South America (not Brazil) and the F1 coverage here is provided by Fox Sports Lat Am and I must admit, it is kinda crappy since the races have commercial breaks in them making very frustrating to follow, besides when they run out of time the cut the drivers´ press conference and even the podium ceremonies.So when I have the chance I download (from the net) the BBC transmission which is excellent. It is shame to know that BBC free to air coverage will come to an end sooner or later.

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