F1’s TV figures ‘encouraging’ – report

Wed, 25 April 2007, 11:46

Formula one may have lost Michael Schumacher, but European television ratings are looking “very encouraging” after the first three grands prix of the new era.

That is the finding of the Sportbusiness publication, which analysed the TV figures of the so-called ‘Big Five’ European markets in France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK.

Spanish broadcaster Tele5 recorded higher ratings for all three races, and the audience-friendly timeslot for the Bahrain GP attracted peak of 6.7m viewers — more than a million higher than last year’s race.

A similar trend was noticed for Italy’s F1 coverage by Rai, where the 11.1m viewers of the Bahrain GP was higher than for any race on the 2006 calendar.

France’s TF1 coverage was steady, while a 10 per cent decline compared to last year in Germany is unsurprising, given the popularity of its departed seven time world champion.

Even so, RTL’s coverage of the race in Malaysia drew the top audience of any rival programme that day, even though fine German weather on the Sunday of the subsequent Bahrain GP is thought to have dented the figures a bit.

A ‘Lewis Hamilton-effect’, meanwhile, is being seen in the UK, where ITV’s coverage of the Malaysian GP recorded a 27 per cent boost compared to last year.

The figures for evening highlights of the Bahrain GP topped the scales at a staggering million viewers, compared to 400,000 just 12 months ago.

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