I’m slightly curious now if ESPN’s plan was always to offer the Formula 1 broadcast pre-race coverage and online digital features or was that a late add-on given today’s news? I must assume it was always planned but today’s announcement that the F1 TV streaming service will not be ready for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix is a bit of a buzz-kill for F1 fans.
The long-touted OTT (Over-the-Top) service that F1 has been working diligently on for the past six months isn’t going to see prime time for mass users this weekend despite initial suggestions. Instead, F1 will use this weekend as a beta to test the service to smooth any rough edges. I found this article by Autosport interesting.
“We will do a stress test/beta test session during the Melbourne weekend with the aim to be fully operational as soon as possible,” an F1 spokesperson told Autosport.
“It’s a normal process when you develop a new product. It won’t be a public test, it will be an internal test.
“We will have people spread in various locations in the world, testing the system and functionalities.”
Asked about the likely timing of F1 TV’s introduction, the spokesperson said: “As soon as possible. There is not a set deadline.”
There is also a plan to introduce the new portable F1 Vision device, which was known as FanVision when it was last used in 2012, for the Spanish Grand Prix on the weekend of May 13.
“We should launch it by the start of the European season,”
To be fair, F1 wouldn’t be too keen to release a product that was buggy or had issues that provided a challenging user experience. That would be a very bad move to be honest so I applaud their desire to get the issues worked out ahead of a mass launch. Although I would say that I was hoping they beyond the beta testing phase but let’s be realistic, they’ve been working in anger on this for six months and that’s not much time for a global streaming service to be honest.
I fully understand the Silicon Valley notion of “good is good enough” but I don’t agree with it. It may work for tech giants and that’s great but it isn’t how many people make choices in their life. Someone once said that good is the enemy of great and I tend to agree with that.
I would much rather F1 measure twice and cut once so to speak. It seems they understand the disaster that would befall them if they rushed a half-baked streaming product to market and one that they’ve been continuously calling “Over-the-top”. So Europe it is then. That’s why I am wondering if ESPN’s quick, last-minute announcement of expanded online streaming services were announced this week.
Hat Tip: Autosport