F1 TV: Putting Formula One Fans in the Driving Seat

Under the new ownership of Liberty Media, Formula One is going through a major and much needed digital transformation. A key part of this shift in strategy is placing Fans F1 at the centre of new initiatives in a hope to drive new interest to the sport and increased engagement from the existing fans. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen the launch of Liberty Media’s first ever fan-centric global marketing campaign, the announcement of a new 10-part Netflix F1 docuseries and F1’s biggest digital development in recent years – their over the top (OTT) service, F1 TV.

In this post we’ll be using our Audience Intelligence solutions, to analyse the demographics, behaviours and interests of F1 fans to build a better understanding of the suitability of an online streaming service and the impact it will have on future brand partnerships.

What is F1 TV?

An online streaming solution designed to enhance F1 fans’ experience of Grand Prix racing. With two options available, F1 TV Access and F1 TV Pro, it is the latter that has been positioned to appeal to the most hardcore F1 fans, and will offer them:

· Commercial-free live streams of each race

· Commentary in English, French, German and Spanish

· Exclusive access to all 20 driver on-board cameras

· Live access to press conferences and pre and post-race interviews

Costing between $8-$12 USD a month, the premium service will initially be available in Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and much of Latin America, and on desktop, with mobile apps and TV apps being phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android at a later date.

F1 Fans’ Demographic – Who are they?

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Where are they currently watching F1?

Looking at the global F1 audience using Global Web Index, 67% of the audience in 2017 were watching the races on traditional TV, with 33% watching online (a 1-point increase from 2016 and a 4-point increase from 2015)

Following a shift in the audience’s media consumption behaviours and a significant investment by Liberty Media, it is expected that the share of those tuning in online will continue to increase.  

As the audience increasingly turns to online services to watch the races, it is a key point that this affluent audience are also 29% more likely than average to purchase a TV streaming service.

Segmenting this data by world regions also presents some interesting results:

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The above indicates how the global F1 audience are far more likely than the typical internet user to use social media to watch a sporting event. Our research also shows the younger the audience, the more likely they are to do so.  

With an increasing number of sport related streaming services being launched, it is clear to see the F1 audience in particular are early adopters in terms of using non-traditional sources to watch and engage with sporting events – whether this be social or sport specific streaming platforms.

The F1 audience are currently:

· 52% more likely than average to watch a sports video or clip on YouTube

· 72% more likely to Tweet about a sports event or match during the event

· 69% more likely to watch a live stream on Twitter

· 64% more likely to discuss a sports event or match on Facebook

· 33% more likely to watch a live stream on Facebook Live


How Will the New OTT Service Affect Brands?

With 15% of Formula One revenue coming from advertising and sponsorship and 32.5% coming from broadcasting (According to Liberty Media Corporation/Formula One) it is vitally important that the new commercial-free streaming service generates income outside of subscription costs, and yet still remains attractive to both brands and fans, alike.  

Due to well voiced grievances among F1 fans in the US, it is unlikely F1 TV will ever introduce race interrupting commercials, yet an exciting part of the new OTT service will be its capability of multi-level personalisation.

Despite Liberty Media not elaborating on what this means for the service and fans, we envision targeted advertising to be offered directly within each person’s unique space, opening up a new level of targeting for brands. From a brand perspective using audience intelligence to identify their audience’s interests is going to be crucially important when wanting to engage in this space.  

For example, here we can see which automotive brands the following audience are most likely to advocate compared to the average UK consumer:

· UK based

· Female audience

· Aged between 35 - 44 years old

· Watches F1 online

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Embracing Second Screeners

Technology changes also have a continuing effect on a brand’s marketing decisions. Our research shows that currently 57% of F1 fans are ‘social second-screeners.’ This means the majority of F1 viewers are using additional devices to get online while they are watching TV. 

Here we can see which devices they are more likely to use while second screening:

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And here we can see which activities they are more likely to be doing:

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What Does This Mean for F1; F1 TV Service, the Fans and Brands?

Although the level of audience intelligence shown in the post is merely scratching the service of the in-depth research we carry out, there are still clear narratives which would be of use to both F1 and its commercial partners.

The F1 audience is increasingly tuning into sporting events using online services – initially on social media but with a growing number now using paid services to do so. This suggests a dedicated F1 specific OTT service is likely to welcomed by this audience, especially the younger segment.

For brands looking to engage with an existing or new audience through Formula 1, the opportunities to target a very specific and digital savvy audience has never been better. As previously mentioned, F1 TV Pro is likely to offer brands unrivaled levels of targeting – further highlighting the need for audience intelligence.

If you're interested in learning more about the Brand & Entertainment Audience Intelligence solutions we offer here at EntSight then take a look at our website to find out more or drop us a message

James Box

James Box

EntSight Audience Analyst