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F1 TV audiences dropped in 2012 season

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Formula 1 world championships worldwide TV audience dropped in last season, the media reports said that 34% drop, around 25 million viewers, from China where several Asian races clash with other local sports events. 2011 season figure shows that 74.5 million viewers, down to 48.9 million in 2012.

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is not too worried, and he said that “a small handful of territories didn’t meet expectations in terms of reach, with the Chinese market suffering a decrease which could not be absorbed by a significant number of increases elsewhere”.

Brazilians’ is the Formula One’s largest audience and figures step up 8.9% year on year to 85.6 million in 2012. And also improvements in Spain and Italy, where respective increases of 11.5% and 15% compared to 2011 were fuelled by the strong performance of Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.

United Kingdom coverage was dividing for the first time between the BBC and pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB in 2012, which led to viewing figures falling by 3.8 million to 28.6 million.

News Source said that, spectators also dropped in other new markets for Formula 1. In Russia they fell by 12.8% ahead of the first Russian grand prix next year which will take place at Sochi’s $50bn Olympic Park. This drop was attributed to the poor form of Russia’s only F1 driver, Vitaly Petrov, who failed to score a point in the 2012 championship and has not been signed up this year.

TV audiences even fell in the US, despite the return of its home race after a five-year hiatus. The US grand prix took place in Texas in November to great acclaim within the industry, but viewers of F1 in the US fell by 3% from 10 million to 9.7 million.

“We obviously present TV viewers figures to our sponsors, as the current F1 business model has developed thanks to Bernie’s strategy to go free-to-air,” Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said.

“We do monitor the new strategy to go to pay-TV. It may increase the fan profile and ‘educated’ audience but we may have to review our sponsorship figures if the tendency becomes global.”


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