Tag Archives: BBC

Formula One: David Coulthard join’s BBC Top Gear

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Reports have emerged in the last 24 hours that David Coulthard is set to join the soon to to be relaunched Top Gear on the BBC in the UK.

Following the BBC’s announcement that it will drop F1 coverage from its schedules in 2016, 3 seasons earlier than contracted, those involved in the coverage both in front of and behind the camera will be looking at new options.

Outlets such as Variety and The Mirror are reporting DC will join the Top Gear team alongside the confirmed Chris Evans and also rumoured Sabine Schmitz. With the shows producer Lisa Clark leaving the project after 5 months before the new format has aired questions are emerging over the direction and management of the show.

David Coulthard and the BBC are yet to comment on these rumours. It is not clear if working on Top Gear would preclude Coulthard from involvement with the C4 F1 coverage or joining his long term colleague and friend Martin Brundle at Sky Sports.

 

Formula One: Channel 4 becomes FTA home of F1 in the UK

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Channel 4 will be the terrestrial home of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ from 2016-2018 in a new deal agreed today with Formula One World Championship Limited.

Channel 4 will broadcast 10 live Formula 1® races, including practice and qualifying sessions, in each of the three FIA Formula One World Championship™ seasons from 2016 to 2018. It will also broadcast comprehensive highlights of all 21 Grands Prix and qualifying sessions – including those shown live by Sky Sports F1®. All of the live coverage and highlights will be broadcast free-to-air and in high definition.

Reflecting Channel 4’s track record for innovation in sports broadcasting, in a first for a UK terrestrial commercial broadcaster, no advertising breaks will be taken through the duration of the live races.

Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group said: “I am sorry that the BBC could not comply with their contract but I am happy that we now have a broadcaster that can broadcast Formula 1® events without commercial intervals during the race.

“I am confident that Channel 4 will achieve not only how the BBC carried out the broadcast in the past but also with a new approach as the World and Formula 1® have moved on.”

David Abraham, Channel 4 Chief Executive said: “Formula One is one of the world’s biggest sporting events with huge appeal to British audiences. I’m delighted to have agreed this exciting new partnership with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the sport on free-to-air television.”

Jay Hunt, Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer said: “Channel 4 and Formula One are the perfect partnership. We’ve the same appetite for innovation and we’ll be demonstrating that to fans by becoming the first free-to-air commercial broadcaster to show the races ad free.”

Details of the 2016 races broadcast live by Channel 4 will be agreed in early-2016. Further details of Channel 4’s production and presenting teams will also be announced in due course.

The new agreement to broadcast Formula One World Championship strengthens the Channel 4 schedule and will not affect the level of spend on peak time, UK-originated content.

Channel 4 has a track record for innovative coverage of major sporting events, which most recently includes its BAFTA-winning coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games, RTS-award-winning coverage of horse racing; and its BAFTA-winning cricket coverage. In 2016, Channel 4 will also broadcast the Rio Paralympic Games and 90 days of live racing coverage including The Grand National, Royal Ascot and The Derby

Barbara Slater Director of BBC Sport issued the following blog on the announcement:

The Director General announced recently that the BBC needs to plug a £150 million annual gap in its finances from next year. He outlined that two-thirds of the savings would come from ‘scope’ savings, meaning that the BBC would stop doing some of the things that we currently do.

BBC Sport was asked to deliver approximately £35 million of these savings. This was due to the pressing need to realise the savings and the greater flexibility that BBC Sport has to deliver them compared to most other parts of the Corporation.

No Director of Sport wants to be responsible for reducing the amount of sport on BBC TV. But the current financial position of the BBC means some tough and unwanted choices have to be made. There are no easy solutions; all of the options available would be unpopular with audiences.

The amendment to the TV rights agreement for the Open Golf (a move from live to extended highlights) and the sharing of the 6 Nations Championship earlier this year contributed to our savings target. These deals also helped to mitigate the super-inflation that is prevalent across the sports rights market.

And the BBC is announcing today that a significant chunk of BBC Sport’s remaining savings target will be delivered through the immediate termination of our TV rights agreement for Formula 1. Any decision to have to stop broadcasting a particular sport or sporting event is hugely disappointing and taken reluctantly.

As part of the exit arrangements we are extending our radio rights deal to 2021 and will continue to cover the sport via our sports news service and the BBC Sport website. The package of TV rights we have foregone will transfer to another free-to-air broadcaster.

I’d like to extend my appreciation to our production team who for seven seasons consistently produced coverage to the very highest level which has been loved by the sport’s fans. It has won numerous awards, including a BAFTA. The quality of production from those behind and in front of the camera has been without equal.

These are very challenging times for the BBC and sport is not immune to those financial pressures.

We have had to take some unpopular decisions this year but we have done so from a position of strength with long term deals already in place for the likes of the Football World Cup, Wimbledon, the FA Cup, the Olympics, Match of the Day, UK Athletics and the World Athletics Championships, the European Football Championships, Rugby League, Snooker, the London Marathon, the Boat Race and much more.

Barbara Slater is Director of BBC Sport

Formula One: OPINION: How ITV could make a success of UK F1 coverage

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Respected British broadcasting news outlet Broadcast is reporting that ITV are set to over the free to air (FTA) broadcasting rights for Formula one from the BBC as early as 2016, 3 seasons ahead of the current contract. This site has contacted both the BBC and ITV for comment, both of whom responded that they do not comment on contract negotiations.

Under the current FTA UK agreement the BBC broadcast up to 50% of race weekend’s live with the remaining races broadcast in highlights form several hours after the race has taken place. SKY holds the broadcasting rights for all live race weekend coverage through the season.

Estimations on the costs surrounding the BBC’s agreement for F1 coverage range significantly from $20 to $60M per season. Whatever the true cost may be, in an environment in which the corporation is seeking to reduce costs F1 coverage may well be a luxury that can no longer be justified.

FTA coverage in a blend of live and highlights form, whilst not as strong as full live coverage has provided the BBC with a solid audience share since the deal came into place, although overall audience figures are on the decline.

News of ITV possibility taking on the FTA agreement comes at a time when overall audience levels for the sport are somewhat diminished, SKY are known to be exploring ways in which to reduce costs in their output.

With UK broadcasting agreements seemingly under re-evaluation perhaps now is the time to reconsider the way in which viewers receive F1 content. At present both the BBC and SKY have their own production teams sent to each race.  This leads to a duplication of costs and headcount at each race. This despite both broadcasters using the same world feed for actual race and live session content. On site teams are in place to provide race build up and analysis. This compared to the way in which Formula E coverage is broadcast, where a single world feed is available to broadcasters and each country operates studio based build up and analysis. A studio based approach is far more cost effective and sustainable.

Whilst the BBC and SKY have been rightfully applauded for their breaking down the 4th wall approach to F1 broadcasting, in a cost conscious environment is now the time to consider a change? If ITV, a commercial entity, are to take on the FTA UK rights, rather than developing a new team to support the coverage, could they simply take on the SKY coverage, using the same broadcasting and or commentary team and content? The ITV coverage could be positioned by SKY as a promotional tool for the premium ‘ALL LIVE’ coverage, and sponsorship rights of the ITV coverage sold by SKY. This would give SKY access to a larger audience which would satisfy sponsor expectations. Such a model would allow ITV to broadcast the sport with minimal investment outside of the FOM broadcasting contract, and SKY could spread costs across a second broadcaster.

The audience for sports coverage is more dynamic than ever, in an environment in which broadcasters appear almost bullied by each other into paying astronomical fees for coverage rights is now the time to reconsider how the sport is delivered to the fans?