Advanced Television

F1 broadcast to 1.9bn fans in 2019

January 22, 2020

By Colin Mann

For the third year in a row, Formula 1 has seen its audience figures grow across both TV and digital platforms compared to the previous season.

The total global TV cumulative audience stood at 1.922 billion, the highest since 2012, which represents an increase of 9 per cent compared to 2018. This is the third consecutive year of growth. In the top 20 markets (based in ranking of TV audience) it reached 1.781 billion, with the same increment year-on-year.

As they were last year, the top five markets by cumulative audience are Brazil, Germany, Italy, UK and the Netherlands, all with audiences higher than 100 million. Among the top 20 markets, meanwhile, there have been exceptional increases; in Poland (+256 per cent) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (+228 per cent,) mostly driven respectively by new contract arrangements and Robert Kubica’s return to F1, and the new agreement signed in 2019 with MBC Group. Greece (+75 per cent), the Netherlands (+56 per cent), Italy (+29 per cent) and Germany (+23 per cent) were the countries with the highest increases, while the audience continues to grow in the United States (+7 per cent) and in China (+5 per cent).

In terms of unique viewers, during 2019 the sport remained stable in the top 20 markets at 405.5 million (+0.3 per cent), while there was a slight decrease globally (-3.9 per cent), with the overall number of viewers standing at 471 million. Brazil, China, Germany, USA and Italy are the five markets with the highest reach. Poland (+569.7 per cent) with 8.4 million viewers and the Middle East (+ 239.6 per cent) at 17.6 million registered the highest growth. Within the top 20 markets Germany (+45.6 per cent), the Netherlands (+31.1 per cent) and Greece (+18 per cent) had double-digit growth.

Nineteen out of the 21 Grands Prix had a higher cumulative audience compared to the previous season. The Italian Grand Prix had the highest of the year with 112 million viewers (+20 per cent YOY), which is also the highest since the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix. Three more events also had more than 100 million viewers – Monaco, Brazil and Germany – and a total of 14 had more than 90 million, with an average audience of 91.5 million.

In terms of the different sessions of a race weekend, 2019 saw an increase in both race (+7 per cent) and qualifying (+5 per cent) live broadcasts, while there has been a double-digit improvement in practice (+24 per cent), delayed race (+11 per cent) broadcasts and magazines and support programmes (+16 per cent).

In 2019 the number of users across Formula 1’s social media platforms again grew significantly, with the total number of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube reaching 24.9 million (+32.9 per cent compared to 2018). The increase was particularly notable on Instagram (+69.3 per cent) and Twitter (+66.1 per cent). Formula 1’s social media channels confirmed their status as the fastest growing of all major sports leagues in the world.

Engagement on F1’s social media platforms saw positive gains too, with total impressions up by 48.3 per cent (15.5 billion), video views by 60.9 per cent (3.1 billion) and minutes watched almost doubled, reaching 3.2 billion (+89.9 per cent). Interactions, meanwhile, totalled 405 million across the four social media platforms (+82 per cent).

F1’s core digital platforms had a great season, surpassing 1 billion page views (1.124 billion), almost doubling them (+82.3 per cent), compared to last year. On the website, the number of pages viewed reached 409.8 (+22.9 per cent) while the official F1 App has seen a three-digit increase (+152.3 per cent), up to 714.2 million views. On both platforms, video views and minutes watched rose significantly, up to 54 million (+45.2 per cent) and 84.5 million (+19.5 per cent) respectively. The number of unique users reached was 55.9 million (+16.3 per cent): 52.1 million on the website (+15.3 per cent) and 3.7 million on the app (+33.5 per cent), with a +25 per cent increase of the average number of users per race week.

The second season of the official Formula 1 podcast Beyond the Grid continued its success story, with 43 episodes throughout the year reaching up to 15 million listens in 2019.

The Formula 1 fan base in the 27 markets monitored by Nielsen remained above 500 million during 2019 and continues its youthful expansion, with 62 per cent of the new fans accumulated in the last two years under the age of 35. China (81.3 million), Brazil (54.7 million), Mexico (45.5 million), USA (34.6 million) and India (31.1 million) are in the top five positions by number of fans.


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