F1 to offer streaming services package in 2018

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The announcement that ESPN was taking over the US broadcast from NBC Sports was a bit of a surprise to be honest. I knew the NBC contract was up this year but assumed that NBC’s Gold app and online streaming services would fit nicely with Formula 1’s new owners, Liberty Media. Then again, they are a media company so their tastes are most likely very rooted in the broadcast industry and what is achievable.

Autosport ran a story today that sort of solidified my opinion on the ESPN move on several posts I’ve made about the issue. It seems that, as I suggested, Formula 1 will launch a new streaming service of OTT programming for 2018.

“We are trying to create content that lives outside the grand prix weekends, which has been almost non-existent from digital or linear standpoints,” F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches said.

“Our objective is to engage with the Netflix of the world, [with] the Amazons, and create content that fans can consume, which is compelling and tells different stories about what is going on in F1.”

Nothing formal has been announced but it appears that the new owners will have their own broadcast packages with a lot more content pre, on and post-event. That’s terrific news and if you are still paying for a broadcast package from your cable company to get F1, then here is your chance to finally cut the cord.

This now starts to make more sense, as the Autosport article suggests, that NBC didn’t want to compete with the bespoke F1 package and would have rather used their NBC apps and services to provide such a streaming package.

I’m curious how much F1 will spend on content, studios, on-air talent, production teams etc versus how much NBC would have charged for an OTT package produced by them such as Sky Sports does?

Speaking of Sky, it seems the packages will be available in the US, given ESPN’s anemic approach to showing F1 races in 2018 but not an option for the UK which has a robust program and long-term contract with Sky Sports F1.

“We are trying to create content that lives outside the grand prix weekends, which has been almost non-existent from digital or linear standpoints,” he said.

“Our objective is to engage with the Netflix of the world, [with] the Amazons, and create content that fans can consume, which is compelling and tells different stories about what is going on in F1.”

Key here is F1’s ability to get to the end of all their global contracts and then work with them to offer their F1-produced package one would think but then again, maybe not. Lot’s of changes coming and a new TV package, improved streaming package and more.

As of now, however, the ESPN coverage seems to be woefully weak and if I have any critique of F1, it is not announcing their complete broadcast plan but rather taking the brand damage from fans by simply announcing that ESPN will be showing races only and no pre or post coverage and nothing more.

Why would F1 not want to control the narrative about its OTT broadcast package in 2018 and let ESPN and NBC control the conversation and narrative—which has been very, very negative on social media. A Poor move on F1’s part in my opinion. They should have gotten out ahead of this story.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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The Captain

We could tell this was coming, but there still is a LOT of questions and red flags Liberty need to clear up. And I’m speaking form a U.S. fan standpoint. While I love the idea of offering a stream ( I really do) I know the ‘internet techie bubble’ sometimes has a very hard time empathizing with anyone outside of that world, and the ESPN deal is still somewhat concerning for what I would say is probably large percentage if fans. Will these streams be able to be viewed anytime AFTER the race or only live? Will there be apps… Read more »

Are Buntz

F1 Video Channel on Amazon would work for me…

REDRACER

hopefully a 4k viewing option

Daniel Johnson

A few quick things, for anyone with a Roku Chromecast, Firestick, PS4, or Xbox one this is a godsend. Second if you look at the WEC model it’s pretty great. Here you can watch the race on FS1 or for $10 bucks you can stream it on up to 5 devices (for the 24 hours of Le Mans) all commercial free and have all the qualifying and practice too. What really F1 needs to be balancing is the direct revenue better than the old model of selling a product to a tv network? They are essentially betting on themselves and… Read more »

Prakhar Mehrotra

It would be great if Liberty can produce content to match what Sky Sports does for their coverage. James Allen already creates videos for F1 and I can see him fitting seamlessly into the FOM production. Not to mention that Will ‘The Kill’ Buxton is looking for a job for next year. If they can provide a solid streaming platform with 1. No Lag (this could take a while to figure out) 2. Ability to DVR races and replay them WITH SYNCED TIMING 3. A commentary team I can actually listen to 4. No Ads 5. Creating content that highlight… Read more »

Scottynz

Big thing for me is please let there be no geoblocking… down here at the bottom of the world in NZ getting decent online content is a nightmare….

the Late Idi Armin

what would be nice is the the option to switch the commentators off. i don’t need someone screaming that the honda has broken again when i can see it for myself.