Bernard Ecclestone, F1’s Despot, has answered Max Mosley’s criticism of F1 inability to capitalize on the Internet to expand services and content to is millions of fans. Apparently the FOM, F1’s management group lead by Bernard, sold all rights to TV and Internet options to television stations the world over exclusively. While it is understandable that he cannot break that contract, the model perplexes me on a few areas:
Selling broadcast rights and internet rights in local areas is a bit odd. Let’s take America’s Speed TV for example. Speed TV has a nice web page, if you can wade through the half-naked girls and NASCAR banner ads, in which they carry exclusive content regarding F1 and the news it generates. Bernie may have sold them the right to carry the logo and content on their web sites but what Max is referring to is a global offering from www.formula1.com, not local content associated with the broadcaster in that region.
If F1 were to offer global content such as full race coverage, I can see where that wouldn’t work. Bernie makes a lot of cash selling those rights to broadcasters so it would be shooting himself in the foot. But that issue can be off the table as far as exclusive content goes. A crew that does special video content and programs, such as the Allianz sponsored Inside Grand Prix, could just as well be an F1 program. Don’t get me wrong, their web site hsa come a long way and honestly it is getting much better. I think Max and Bernie are talking about two separate issues. I appreciate what Bernie is contractually obligated to but I also agree with Max that there are thousands of other possible content delivery options that fans would pay for. A supplemental value-added service to compliment local broadcasts so to speak.