Channel 4 becomes terrestrial home of Formula 1

dante01

Distinguished Member
The BBC is to end its Formula 1 TV contract early in order to save money. Channel 4 will take on the BBC's F1 broadcast rights from next season.

21 DEC 2015


Channel 4 and Formula One™ agree new three-year deal for 2016-2018

Channel 4 to broadcast 10 races per season live – with highlights of all 21 races

Live races to be broadcast without advertising breaks

Channel 4 will be the terrestrial home of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ from 2016-2018 in a new deal agreed today with Formula One World Championship Limited.

Channel 4 will broadcast 10 live Formula 1® races, including practice and qualifying sessions, in each of the three FIA Formula One World Championship™ seasons from 2016 to 2018. It will also broadcast comprehensive highlights of all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying sessions – including those shown live by Sky Sports F1®. All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.

Reflecting Channel 4’s track record for innovation in sports broadcasting, in a first for a UK terrestrial commercial broadcaster, no advertising breaks will be taken through the duration of the live races.

Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group said: “I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1® events without commercial intervals during the race.

“I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1® have moved on.”

David Abraham, Channel 4 Chief Executive said: “Formula One is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences. I’m delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”

Jay Hunt, Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer said: “Channel 4 and Formula One are the perfect partnership. We've the same appetite for innovation and we'll be demonstrating that to fans by becoming the first free-to-air commercial broadcaster to show the races ad free.”

Details of the 2016 races broadcast live by Channel 4 will be agreed in early-2016. Further details of Channel 4’s production and presenting teams will also be announced in due course.

The new agreement to broadcast Formula One World Championship strengthens the Channel 4 schedule and will not affect the level of spend on peak time, UK-originated content.

Channel 4 has a track record for innovative coverage of major sporting events, which most recently includes its BAFTA-winning coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games, RTS-award-winning coverage of horse racing; and its BAFTA-winning cricket coverage. In 2016, Channel 4 will also broadcast the Rio Paralympic Games and 90 days of live racing coverage including The Grand National, Royal Ascot and The Derby.

-ENDS-



For further information:

About Formula 1®

Formula 1®, which began in 1950, is the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition and is the world’s most popular annual sporting series. In 2014 it was watched by 425 million unique television viewers from over 200 territories. The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship™ ran from March to November and spanned 19 races in 19 countries across five continents. Formula One World Championship Limited is part of the Formula One group, founded by CEO Bernie Ecclestone, and holds the exclusive commercial rights to the FIA Formula One World Championship™. For more information on Formula 1® visit www.formula1.com (opens in a new window).

The F1 FORMULA 1 Logo, F1, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula One group company. All rights reserved.



About Channel 4

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned, commercially-funded, public service broadcaster. Financially, C4 is self-sufficient and puts all its profits back into programmes, at zero cost to the taxpayer. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with over 300 creative companies across the UK every year. In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4Music, 4seven, Channel4.com and digital service All 4.

Over 2015 to date, Channel 4 has increased its peak-time share by +8% - more than any other terrestrial channel. It has also grown its all-hours viewing share across all the major demographics (all individuals, ABC1s, and 16-34s) – the only terrestrial channel to have done so.

Channel 4 becomes terrestrial home of Formula 1 - Channel 4 - Info - Press


"The current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made," said Barbara Slater, the BBC's director of sport.

The Director General announced recently that the BBC needs to plug a £150 million annual gap in its finances from next year. He outlined that two-thirds of the savings would come from ‘scope’ savings, meaning that the BBC would stop doing some of the things that we currently do.

BBC Sport was asked to deliver approximately £35 million of these savings. This was due to the pressing need to realise the savings and the greater flexibility that BBC Sport has to deliver them compared to most other parts of the Corporation.

No Director of Sport wants to be responsible for reducing the amount of sport on BBC TV. But the current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made. There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences.

The amendment to the TV rights agreement for the Open Golf (a move from live to extended highlights) and the sharing of the 6 Nations Championship earlier this year contributed to our savings target. These deals also helped to mitigate the super-inflation that is prevalent across the sports rights market.

And the BBC is announcing today that a significant chunk of BBC Sport’s remaining savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1. Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly.

As part of the exit arrangements we are extending our radio rights deal to 2021 and will continue to cover the sport via our sports news service and the BBC Sport website. The package of TV rights we have foregone will transfer to another free-to-air broadcaster.

I’d like to extend my appreciation to our production team who for seven seasons consistently produced coverage to the very highest level which has been loved by the sport’s fans. It has won numerous awards, including a BAFTA. The quality of production from those behind and in front of the camera has been without equal.

These are very challenging times for the BBC and sport is not immune to those financial pressures.

We have had to take some unpopular decisions this year but we have done so from a position of strength with long term deals already in place for the likes of the Football World Cup, Wimbledon, the FA Cup, the Olympics, Match of the Day, UK Athletics and the World Athletics Championships, the European Football Championships, Rugby League, Snooker, the London Marathon, the Boat Race and much more.

Barbara Slater is Director of BBC Sport

Formula 1


Liberty Global who own Virgin Media and who are also rumoured to be looking into purchasing Channel 4 also held prolonged negotiations to acquire a stake in F1 but were unable to reach a deal. It is thought Channel 4 won the deal over ITV because Channel 4 agreed not to air ads during the race, something ITV couldn't make a commitment to.

The sport is likely to receive a smaller viewing share on C4, although Bernie Ecclestone has said the broadcaster would bring a “new approach”. F1’s live audience fell to an eight-year low in the UK in 2015, although comparisons are complicated by splits between SKY pay-TV and the BBC's free-to-air coverage.
 
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Jules Winfield

Well-known Member
Hmm, didn't see that coming. If only they'd got it back in 2012 instead of the disastrous BBC/Sky joint deal thing, F1 might be in better shape (UK viewing figures-wise).
 

kBm

Distinguished Member
It was always inevitable that the BBC would drop F1, they cant justify the cost.

At least with the live C4 races they have commited to no adverts. (I still remember the ridiculous ITV race where they cut to a ad break missing the actual finish!).

C4 may bring a 'fresh' approach - but you cant just stick a plaster over a gaping wound.

Edit -i forgot too that the beeb have the Olympics in 2016. (And until 2020).
 

Elrond

Well-known Member
Followed F1 for over 30 years but this season was probably my last. Just not entertaining anymore. Surprise another FTA channel has taken this on.
I thought there was a clause in the contract when Sky got it that some had to remain on FTA.
 

John

Moderator
How can you bring something new , when everything from the FIA credit roll to the end of the Winner Ceremony, is provided by the world feed.
Sky have loads of red button stuff, but i have never watched it
 

Joe Pineapples

Distinguished Member
I'd like to see the entire BBC presenter team move over to CH4 (ok, maybe not Eddie), but I doubt that will happen. Hopefully/maybe Coulthard & Edwards though.
 
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DarenD

Well-known Member
I'd like to see the entire BBC presenter team move over to CH4 (ok, maybe not Eddie), but I doubt that will happen. Hopefully/maybe Coulthard & Edwards though.

Nah they can keep Suzie. She just doesn't appeal to me in any way.

As for the BBC. F1 and the news were the only programs left worth watching for me. Kids use iPlayer a lot and the missus dips in and out on various shows. But they need to ditch this licence fee rubbish and just give them free reign like all the other channels on advertising etc. Maybe a Netflix style charge for iplayer would be an idea.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Maybe get Susie Wolfe or Ginger Spice with mics in their hands

You'd give Ginger Spice a mic? :confused:

SICKO! Have you learnt nothing from the past mistakes made by others?

As to allowing the Beeb to advertise then how would this help? Ad based channels are losing money and are no more capable of securing rights to air than the BBC. TV ad campaigns are nowhere near as important or successful as they used to be and tend to rarely if ever now create increased custom for those commissioning the campaigns. The marketplace is too wide and saturated with commercial channels to allow the ads to reach their intended targets. Anyway, the reason ITV couldn't secure this deal was because they couldn't air F1 without ad breaks. The BBC needs funding, but I can't see it relying upon ads to fund it and if it does then it will simply become another ITV. What has caused the most harm to the BBC is the freeze on the license fee and certain conservative politicians using their influences to get back at the them. Like most things this government touch, the BBC will be lucky to survive, not unless there's a big market for three hour televised trips down the Manchester ship canal (and you thought F1 was becoming boring????). BRING BACK THE POTTER'S WHEEEL is what I say :)


Eddie Jordan on stage with Little Mix. I'm sure this would pull in viewers? What about Jeremy Clarkson punching a donkey on the starting grid?
 
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hdsport

Well-known Member
I'd like to see the entire BBC presenter team move over to CH4 (ok, maybe not Eddie), but I doubt that will happen. Hopefully/maybe Coulthard & Edwards though.

Everyone thinks Coulthard is very likely. In the summer C4 took a stake in Whisper Films (the company DC and Jake Humphrey helped found) and if they get the contract...

Channel 4 invests in sports indie Whisper Films - Channel 4 - Info - Press

I don't think Lee McKenzie will move (unfortunately) because she's got options at the Beeb e.g. she did the show jumping last week and will probably get a decent role in the Olympics coverage. I do think C4 might want to bring a fresh face in let's hope they do their research and the new presenter is not another Ortis Deley!

One thing they won't be short options for is backroom staff, Sky have been drastically cutting their staff numbers at the GP as they combine their UK, Italian and Germany operations and of course there are 50-60 BBC staff who may be wanting/forced out.
 
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Jules Winfield

Well-known Member
Clare Balding does stuff for BT as well as the Beeb, so there's nothing to stop Lee McKenzie moving over to C4. I hope she does, as she's superb as a pit reporter and driver interviewer.
 

hdsport

Well-known Member
Clare Balding does stuff for BT as well as the Beeb, so there's nothing to stop Lee McKenzie moving over to C4. I hope she does, as she's superb as a pit reporter and driver interviewer.

That's true but F1 is a bit of a commitment she's previously missed races for other commitments e.g. Commonwealth Games but it's a trickier thing to do when you are wanting to miss them to work for a rival broadcaster. Clare Balding is a bit of special case, although why is beyond me as I think there are far better presenters and can 'write her own ticket'.

Now it's by no means impossible that Lee will move and I personally think she deserves the chance to be the main host (I think she should have got it when Jake went to BT) but unlike the others who really have nowhere to go at the Beeb she is an obvious candidate to stay.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Understandable given ever expensive sports broadcasting rights, although the BBC had fair warning having taken over from ITV who themselves had overpaid. Bernie is a shrewd operator.

Ad-free races on C4 is probably acceptable for non-Sky subscribers. Aside from one of two races such as the U.S. GP, it was fine having live races races for only half the 2015 season (although Sky's whole 'matesey-names for everyone' thing quickly becomes grating).

Perhaps it is the way it happened that is a bit unnecessary (TV team looking forward to 2016 season as recently as weeks ago), plus other big spending decisions like moving to Salford and agreeing to cover the £750m free license fees bill for over-75s that jar.

Sharing six nations with ITV. Sky getting golf and cricket. Needing to ask nicely to sub-license the Olympics from Discovery after 2020. When the Conservatives finally reveal what they really want to do with the BBC (putting aside which side of the fence you sit over the BBC), the BBC managers will not be able to affect the discussion, caught out by short-termism and out-manoeuvred by Osborne playing a longer chess match.
 

raduv1

Distinguished Member
Funny as I had the Sky F1 channel for free but always preferred the BBC coverage for some reason.After over thirty years of following the sport I feel somewhat deflated and the person making the descisions on its future is more for his pocket more and more than the sport. please retire these dinosaurs
 

Jules Winfield

Well-known Member
Unfortunately I get the impression that Bernie will only leave F1 is when a shadowy figure in black (carrying a scythe) knocks at his door. I don't think that CVC care how the sport is run or about the vast imbalances in money distribution as long as they're still raking in the profits.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Unfortunately I get the impression that Bernie will only leave F1 is when a shadowy figure in black (carrying a scythe) knocks at his door. I don't think that CVC care how the sport is run or about the vast imbalances in money distribution as long as they're still raking in the profits.

The BBC's decision has nothing to do with Bernie Ecclestone or who has control of F1. The deal would have been the same and the BBC's decision no different irrespective of the ownership of the sport. It was purely deemed too expensive an undertaking to continue broadcasting F1.


Funny as I had the Sky F1 channel for free but always preferred the BBC coverage for some reason.After over thirty years of following the sport I feel somewhat deflated and the person making the descisions on its future is more for his pocket more and more than the sport. please retire these dinosaurs

The F1 channel on SKY isn't free. You only get it if paying for the Sports channels and you have to pay more if you want it in HD. You can't get it in HD if not a SKY satellite customer. A Virgin Media customer would have to pay £19 per month to get the SKY F1 channel.
 
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kungfuman

Well-known Member
The F1 channel on SKY isn't free. You only get it if paying for the Sports channels and you have to pay more if you want it in HD. You can't get it in HD if not a SKY satellite customer. A Virgin Media customer would have to pay £19 per month to get the SKY F1 channel.

It is 'free' if you have the HD pack and had since the early days of the Sky F1 channel like myself. I think they changed it a couple of years ago that all new subscribers have to take the sports package to get F1. I dont have sports and the only thing sportwise I watch is F1 so if I'm ever forced to take the sports package then its no more F1 for me.
 

Jules Winfield

Well-known Member
The BBC's decision has nothing to do with Bernie Ecclestone or who has control of F1. The deal would have been the same and the BBC's decision no different irrespective of the ownership of the sport. It was purely deemed too expensive an undertaking to continue broadcasting F1.

So Bernie has nothing to do with how much money the BBC paid every year and couldn't have substantially reduced the amount to help them keep showing the races? I thought he ran the commercial side of the sport. Evidently I was wrong and he actually gets the tea and waters the plants.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
So Bernie has nothing to do with how much money the BBC paid every year and couldn't have substantially reduced the amount to help them keep showing the races? I thought he ran the commercial side of the sport. Evidently I was wrong and he actually gets the tea and waters the plants.

The BBC agreed the price they'd pay so why would Bernie Ecclestone negotiate another cheaper deal for the BBC if there are other broadcasters willing to pay even more? The BBC has to live in the same world as every other broadcaster. Bernie Ecclestone didn't charge the BBC more than anyone else and didn't have to give them the get out that allowed them to stop airing all races live. He didn't even have to let them off the hook with the remaininder of the deal that the BBC still had outstanding and could have forced them to continue paying for the remainder of the contract. The BBC wasn't looking for a cheaper deal, it would have axed F1 regardless. F1 is not the only sport that will be disappearing from the BBC due to cuts. Did Bernie Ecclestone have something to do with darts and snooker being dropped as well?

The issue isn't how much it costs, but simply the matter that the BBC cannot afford it.

If you want to have a go at someone about this then that person is Barbera Slater, Director of BBC Sport. She's the one wielding the axe and not Bernie Ecclestone.
 
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odd1ne

Active Member
It is 'free' if you have the HD pack and had since the early days of the Sky F1 channel like myself. I think they changed it a couple of years ago that all new subscribers have to take the sports package to get F1. I dont have sports and the only thing sportwise I watch is F1 so if I'm ever forced to take the sports package then its no more F1 for me.
I get it for free but I wouldn't use it i had to pay more for it. Only reason I keep my HD pack if I am honest
 

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