Friday, 29 July 2011

A birthday Indulgence - F1 to BSkyB.

I nearly always stick to photography in my blog but please allow me this indulgence, it is my birthday after all.

As some fans may have gathered I like Formula One, its excess cannot be justified but I like it

In fact I have followed it for much of my adult life.

Here is a pic I shot of the late great Ayrton Senna at a Silverstone test session way back in the day when he drove for McLaren Honda.

So my birthday did not start so well when I saw that coverage of F1 was going to be shared with BSkyB.

As BSkyB says in its current ad campaign 'Believe in better'



There is some good coverage on BSkyB, the digital satellite format does allow for great detailed coverage.

But the art of BSkyB is to charge us the population of the UK for broadcasts which we have previously received for 'free' or at least included in the very reasonable BBC licence fee anyhow.

Do I blame BskyB for getting the deal with F1?

I don't actually.

Yes, we the fans will indeed lose out, if we do want to see every race in the season, as the BBC will show half of the races.

But if I want to see the other half, yes folks I have to sign up to BskyB.

Which I will not do.

Now this is very interesting because most of my diehard F1 friends do not have BSkyB and have no intention of getting it either.

Bernie Ecclestone has always stated his objection to 'Pay for view' F1, but somehow he has had a change of heart or wallet....

Mercedes, Renault and all of the 200 mph sponsorship billboards, will I believe, be seen by far less people.

Cricket has been demoted to a niche sport since it is pay to view, once again short term gain to the long term detriment of the sport.

Is this what the sponsors want? a ring fenced sport which will be seen by fewer viewers, not more?

Less reach for all of the advertising budget.

Sponsors could be harder to find and down it all goes.

'Believe in better' by all means but you are going to have to pay for something which was formally 'free'

Or perhaps lose interest in and not bother to watch it anymore?

* Those of you whom have stuck with my blog thus far, I have a little tease for you. Sometimes I post a lot , sometimes not very much, but about once a week. I'm embarking on the single biggest photography/film project of my career and over the next 3 month I will be sharing with you the highs and lows of what I sincerely believe will be the pinnacle of my working life so far. Sit back and enjoy the ride.


alistairkerrphotography said...

I have a similar problem with wanting to watch the Tour de France live, I won't get Sky so it won't happen, though itv do a good job with highlights.

Bernie seems to change his mind depending which way the money blows from. I think alienating a good percentage of F1 fans who won't want or afford Sky is a big mistake and it will not move the sport forward. The people in charge of sport these days just see the money, they don't think about the fans, though they may pay them lip service, they are far to removed from the very fans who's love of the sports keep these 'officials' in their fat cat salaried jobs.

Happy Birthday Drew.

Barclay Judah said...

Although I don't share your same love for F1 and since I'm in the US I don't have to deal with BskyB.
I do understand your frustration between multiple cable and satelite companies offering different channels and sports in the same area. That happens all the time here. I just try to go with the lesser or the evils.

And Happy Birthday

Rob said...

To be fair... I am F1 obsessed not a fan so take it with a bag of salt :-).... I agree it sux a lemon but IMO it's more about the obscene amount of dosh Bernie now demands - for someone who keep saying it's not about money - his actions and that of his companies is ONLY about money.

I loved watching and listening to Murray growing up since the Oz channel just rebroadcast the BBC feed. I now live in the US and it's always been behind a pay wall here - I pay for a cable "package" to get the speed channel - what was that bend over further - er - ok.... so WTF do I have to miss the action and watch ads during the show again??? Several races are don on a main channel - delayed for 4 hours and no interviews and go forbid something happened during the time for an ad... ad wins every time :-/ During the race we get continue f* baseball ads.... I HATE it !!!!

I guess I am trying to say.... It can be worse then you have even with Sky :-/

Drew Gardner said...

Hi Guys

Thanks for comments and Birthday wishes.

All comments valid, I do hate ads in the middle of a GP, granted.

But I suppose what this really comes down to is exactly how much money does one man need?

Is it right to put personal benefit in front of helping the sport reach a wider audience, not a smaller one?

My personal preference would have been to keep F1 in the UK with the BBC, for something they (we) could have afforded(supposedly some £20 million).

F1 could bask in the reflected glory of the worlds most respected broadcaster and allowed ANYONE to see the races LIVE and in full.

With the BBC the audience figures have been on the up, next year the sport will join the ranks of the other big name sports whom have put short term gain ahead of the long term growth of the sport.



PHOTO JUNKy said...

I won't go into great detail as you have summed up my view on the situation perfectly. However, having grown up when the choice was to watch advert free programs for which you paid a licence fee or watch for free and tolerate the ads, I find it hard to understand those who have fallen for the con of the century, pay a fee ( far more than the licence) to watch adverts!
The sport will be damaged for exactly the reasons you mention, the short term view seems to prevail these days.
Despite the above rant I love my life, photography and the few blogs I follow including yours, thank you.
Happy birthday.

Alex said...

An interesting stat did the rounds on twitter yesterday:
F1 Hungary race on BBC1 = 5 million viewers
Super Soccer Sunday on Sky = 2.5 million viewers

If we are a nation of football lovers, having it on sky must REALLY hurt viewing figures!

I am gutted at the decision.

Drew Gardner said...

Hi Alex

Sums it all up really.

Sacrificing the wide reach of the sport for short term gain.

One must question if the best interests of the sport are indeed being served.

If any car springs to mind right now it's a 'Big Yellow taxi' by Joni Mitchell.

As she says 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone'

Are you listening Bernie?

I doubt it.