F1 TV coming to new regions next year in FOM deal with TV broadcasters

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 will makes its streaming service F1 TV Pro available to viewers in more countries next year through existing broadcasters.

The streaming service was launched in 57 countries earlier this year. However it is not available in several major markets for F1 including the United Kingdom and Italy due to existing television broadcast arrangements.

F1 CEO Chase Carey told a Liberty Media investor call that will change as FOM is working with broadcasters to offer a version of their over-the-top streaming service.

“One of the really exciting opportunities we’re developing with some of our traditional broadcasters, some of the deals we did for 2019, we’re partnering with them to market and promote the over-the-top platform.”

FOM’s streaming service has been seen as a rival to pay television networks such as Sky. Carey says the new F1 TV offering an opportunity to “work with them in opposed to against them, because they actually think it is compatible.

“This is a product targeted at your hardcore customers who will pay more for a richer experience than a basic, linear one. And I think it benefits everybody to find a way to tap into the demand that those customers have for the product.”

Carey said 2018 had been “year one” for the streaming service after FOM was unable to launch it in time for the first race of the season.

“I think it’s a multi-year project to get it to where we believe it could get to,” he said. “I guess I’d say this year ended up being almost a beta project.

“We didn’t launch it at the beginning of the season. I think for a sport like ours to really achieve its potential it’s a ‘season buy’ more than a sort of ‘race buy’.”

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The first subscribers to the service complained about the technical problems they encountered with it at launch. Carey admitted there were “more technical bugs than we’d like.”

Will F1 TV succeed where F1 Digital + failed?
“I think we probably were not surprised, I think we hoped they wouldn’t be there but they were.”

FOM has improved the stability of the platform, according to Carey, which means they can now add more content to it and market it more aggressively.

“2019 will be the first time we bring it to market as a commercial proposition to market and sell it. I think we feel good about the technological platform. Adding the mobile platforms [was] critical. So [many] people follow it today not on desktops, they’re following it on mobile devices, and we didn’t get that in place until September.

“I think the content offering’s improved and we’re adding some of that although realistically the content is probably over the next couple of years we’ll continue to add breadth and depth in terms of data and archival product. But next time will be the first time we really sell and market it properly.

“So I’d say this was a year of getting it ready to more commercially launch. Next year will be ‘year one’. This is a multi-year proposition and we’re still, as we roll it out, clearly it’s going to roll out differently in different countries. In some we will fully and aggressively push it.”

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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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33 comments on “F1 TV coming to new regions next year in FOM deal with TV broadcasters”

  1. If it comes to India, it will surely not survive with the current price structure because India is a severely price sensitive market. Even Netflix had to change its pricing policy to compete with Prime Video and other local providers in this country. Further, Indian F1 fans are not the Rolex buying types and will not be ready to shell out a premium monthly on a service that only lets them watch one sport.

  2. Sadly lacking in detail on what that practically means though Chase!

    Any chance to ditch the Sky sub would be most welcome.

    1. It means they are trying to do a deal to rebroadcast the exclusive rights holders content in territories that they are not able to allow to have f1 on demand.

      Sky for example, would prefer that everyone pays them to watch their exclusive content and then their other channels which is why they got in to f1 in the first place so they are understandably not willing to allow a competitor into the market which they have paid for dominance of.

      Chase wants to do a deal to pay sky for their content and resell it via f1 on demand.

      It´s a decent compromise if he can get sky to play along until the existing exclusivity deals come to an end.

  3. This would be news-worthy if the list of new countries was provided. As is, it’s cheap sponsored content/advertisement

  4. Once upon a time it was free to air. Everyone watched, things were great. Then it went subscription. Only a select few could watch, “It’s even BETTER!” /s

  5. If it becomes available in Spain I’ll put my money right away. But they need to improve it, the website specially is slow and very unfriendly to the user. Play originally they promised broadcasting all of the support races.

    When it worked it was just fine. But it could be better for the money they ask. Plus a lot of the old races were just highlights and some were missing completely, weirdly. The 2012 European GP wasn’t available and there was no explanation about why.

  6. Corporate waffle with no actual substance.
    Which countries and when would be a nice basic start.
    If it comes to the UK I will look into it for sure but I will not be an early adopter as I will want first to see how the platform handles all the extra users.
    It didn’t exactly shine on release with far to many complaints of jerky frame rates and poor sound for my liking though they seem to have improved it pretty constantly race to race.
    I’m 100% glad that it is being developed and pushed though as it is just the kind of stuff I enjoy messing with.

  7. I wonder how those people who bought the service in 2018 feel when they learn they paid for a ‘Beta project’?

    1. Personally, I’m happy with it. There are some annoying glitches (particularly the sound often drops out for a few seconds) but overall I really like having a way to legally watch f1 with English commentary, which I didn’t before due to where I live. Looking forward to the service improving further.

      1. @nickwyatt same as Gwan. I was happy with it. Knowing I would get up in the morning and have a good quality stream ready for the race was good. And I could have the English commentary which is the one I like, legally, where I lived. Sure it needed some polish but the basic function was there. It was a bit on the expensive side for what they are offering tho

    2. @nickwyatt if you subscribe to a new global streaming platform from Day 1 and not expect to be a beta tester… let’s say you have learned something.

      1. @m-bagattini I’m sorry but I disagree Matteo. If I buy a product – whether it’s a streaming service or a washing machine – I would expect it to work perfectly as I have paid perfect money for it. I would not expect my new washing machine to leak for example, and then to be told that it was a ‘beta project’.
        The only for this situation to be acceptable would have been if the service was publicly launched at an announced discounted rate with the expplanation that it was still a beta project.

        1. @nickwyatt I agree with you about what it should be. Unfortunately, the reality is different: internet services are not “old school” appliances. There are similar problems with modern appliances and devices when the manufacturer can fix the product after it is released on the market.

          I’m not saying it is a good thing, at all. But you have two choices: you can be an angry customer, with all the reasons to complain; or a smarter one, and wait. The important thing is to know and understand the limits of today’s deployment model. You obviously have pros too as an early adopter, when they outweigh the cons, that’s fine.

          If you expect a streaming service to work perfectly from the beginning… you may end up disappointed. I can test and stress a washing machine an make it perfectly market ready; I can do the same with a smartphone, although I may decide to postpone some fixes. I don’t think I can do the same with a World-scale streaming service: no pre-release test can catch the number of issues I may have once in production.

          They could start with a limited amount of users and scale up, or let them pay less for the first year for a “beta” platform; they decided to believe in their “over-the-top” platform, good for them: it doesn’t mean that I have to believe the same thing.

        2. The only for this situation to be acceptable would have been if the service was publicly launched at an announced discounted rate with the expplanation that it was still a beta project.

          @nickwyatt ^ This.

    3. I am very happy with it. Better than pirating the Sky feed. They do have sound issues which are mostly associated with taking the commentary feed from Sky. The individual in-car cams and radio provide WAY more than we have ever had before, but they are not always as available as the main feed. It will truly come into it’s own when they fix some of those issues.

      The archive is great and I have been able to see races I never was able to see before. Full races from the 80’s have been awesome. Better than anything on YouTube. Can’t wait for them to add more archive material.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th November 2018, 12:52

    The switch to Liberty Media has already had a huge impact on the US coverage. The switch from NBC Sports to ESPN was very abrupt and I’ve personally missed 6+ qualifying sessions as it airs on ESPN News which is not a standard ESPN channel. For Verizon, one of the largest cable providers in the US, ESPN news is only available on the Extreme package which is their top of the line package. It’s only $10 more per month in my case but that’s almost the same as a Netflix/HBO subscription just to watch a few more qualifying sessions so it’s not really a super deal. if Liberty Media forces the US fans to subscribe to a F1 exclusive streaming channel, I fear it will be the death of F1 in the US.

    I love F1 but I, like everyone else, don’t like to be forced to do anything so I might just switch to watching Indycar and Nascar like my compatriots. We have 2 competing racing series we can watch for free in the USA without dealing with Liberty and I think many folks might make the switch or simply take a hiatus from F1.

    Getting those folks to tune back to F1 in the future will be a colossal undertaking – a lot of children in the US (especially the F1 market) participate in sports activities that the parents need to be present at so F1 is not only competing with professional sports like MotoGP, soccer, tennis, football but also competing with our children’s sports leagues over the weekends which sometimes take 4-5 hours or 10-12 hours or require a full weekend for tournaments – asking for 1 hour on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday is almost like asking someone to add another religion.

    Liberty Media should be making F1 as easy to watch as possible. They had such a victory getting F1 on NBC Sports and they squandered it away…

    1. I’ve personally missed 6+ qualifying sessions as it airs on ESPN News which is not a standard ESPN channel

      @freelittlebirds – are you saying that some qualy sessions are telecast on a channel that is not part of a standard package, while others are? That is just asinine on ESPN’s part. Here (India), F1 shuttles between one of two channels, but they’re both part of the same package, and it is pure scheduling constraints that moves F1 between one of the two. So, as long as one is subscribed to a package that gives F1, you’d get all of F1.

      It’s only $10 more per month

      They do love nudging consumers towards the higher tiers, don’t they? :)

    2. I’m also in the US. It is great for someone like me that doesn’t pay for cable but enjoys watching F1…admittedly, a small demographic but getting their foot in the door as the next generation eschews cable packages and looks for online ala carte is probably not a bad deal.

    3. Me three, @freelittlebirds. I TiVo qualy and races, but have recently been hosed on unrecorded (read: unbroadcast) qualy sessions and races broadcast a day or more after the fact. I’d love to find a service that overcomes these shortcomings.

      1. Yes, US coverage sucks. Last two races were not shown live at all on Dish network and even on the ESPN streaming service. Quali and testing, when broadcast, seams to be on a different ESPN channel every race making it very easy to miss with a DVR. I miss NBC coverage.

  9. I hope it becomes available in Australia. Right now, I have to watch the races through illegal streams, as I don’t have access to Fox Sports (I don’t get to choose my channels). I would happily be willing to pay for a service that allows me to have a more immersive experience of watching F1 and not have to rage everytime I see my screen freeze and buffer just when Crofty says “And it’s lights outs, and awa—”.

    1. I’m in the same boat. Minimum package makes you select other channels, which ends up costing a fortune when you just want to watch the one thing.

      Have you (or any other Aussie’s here) looked into this new Foxtel streaming service Kayo? Apparently sports only but I can’t seem to find if it includes F1 (their advertising just seems to show cricket, AFL, rugby and football). Still, $25 a month…

      1. I have an opinion
        10th November 2018, 0:03

        This may be of interest to you both, as well as to other Australian viewers:

  10. “in addition to your £42 ‘kin quid to watch F1 in HD every couple of weeks on Sky, give us another £10 per month and we’ll let you watch 16,452 angles of your favourite driver ploughing a lifetime of racecraft honing into destroying his tires in 1 second’s worth of turbulence”

    I’m a glass half full kind of guy :)

    1. I’m a glass half full kind of guy

      I’d never have guessed :-D

    2. You’re being ripped off by Sky.

      I pay about £10 a month for six sport channels including all F1 sessions, F2, F3, GP3, IndyCar, Nascar and a lot more Motorsports (live) next to a lot of other sport including Premier League and Champions League soccer.

      I happily pay another £10 to get F1 TV including all historic races and a choice of live feeds.

  11. The service has been more stable over the second half of the season than it was the first.

    However the onboard cameras are next to useless due to constant glitches & skipping of the signal. it does not seem like it is a problem with f1tv but rather however they are getting the onboard feed from the cars to the f1tv service.

    also the audio is a problem. they have fixed the delay on the commentary but it is a pain to hear the sky commentators talking about things we cannot see as whenever they cut to ted kravits in the pit lane, martin brundle when he’s trackside or when they seem to be inserting there own bits of onboard footage or split-screen insert’s we cannot see them but still hear sky talking about them.
    it is also very annoying when sky are talking to ted in the pits or a team boss on the pit wall as they just talk over the team radio which i believe they are cutting off there own broadcast.

    it would be great if f1 can produce there own bespoke commentary that will avoid these problems.

    i also wish we had access to some extra video feeds, specifically the onboard mix which i have always found to be a far more useful feed to have on a secondary screen alongside the main tv feed. yes we have onboards from every car which is great but i would much rather have the onboard mix that is directed by fom and features the telemetry data graphics as you can just pop that feed up on a second screen and leave it which is far better during qualifying or races than having to manually figure out which driver you wish to watch and then try to sync it upto the main feed everytime you switch feeds. the mix would be far more useful.

    and also allow you to listen to the onboard camera audio and team radio at the same time as right now it is one or the other which is not ideal.

    1. I’m not sure what F1 can do about the skipping of a signal. Maybe transmit on two dissimilar frequencies might help. The problem is created when the signal from the car reflects off some nearby structure, e.g. the overhead gantry at the start finish line. The generally accepted theory is the reflected signal arrives at the receiver at a similar strength to the signal directly from the car, but the reflected signal is 180 degrees out of phase with the main signal, which effectively means the receiver receives a null signal. Usually, because of the speed of these cars, the loss of a good signal is only for a brief moment.

  12. I’ll believe it when it happens…. it feels like a carrot-on-a-stick that we’ll never get to enjoy… just like the promise of filling the archive with past races (which has had zero additions in over a month).
    If the existing broadcasters (specifically TSN in Canada) didn’t realize that F1 TV Pro would compliment their broadcast rather than steal viewers from it, it’s unlikely they’ll change their minds for 2019 (especially if viewing figures declined from the previous year).

  13. Why do they use Sky commentary? I don’t mind Martin Brundle but that Crofty does my head in.

    1. @victor1ee – Whaaaaat?!! You don’t enjoy listening to verbal diarrhea?

      I think it’s driven by the big investment Sky made in putting up an entire channel for F1, combined with it being an English broadcast – hence globally accepted (for certain definitions of global 🙂).

      I’m not sure how it’ll be for 2019, but until now here in India we get C4 commentary for all the weekends (not just the ones they broadcast in the UK), and it is far better to listen to Ben Edwards as the commentator, with him being ably backed up by DC/Karun Chandhok as the pundits.

  14. In New Zealand, where I live, one of the telcos has bought the F1 broadcast rights for the next few years. They plan to stream sports via their mobile network and the fibre optic network.
    I don’t know if they are re-broadcasting the F1 feed or not.

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