Launch F1 TV OTT streaming service

Formula 1 is set to launch F1 TV, a live Grand Prix subscription service, early in the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

F1 TV is Formula 1’s over the top (OTT) platform and marks F1’s biggest investment in its digital transformation to date. Pricing for F1 TV Pro will be offered on a monthly basis of between $8 and $12, and annual rates will be priced according to market.

F1 TV will offer commercial-free live streams of each race with multi language commentary. In addition, the service will provide access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. F1 TV Pro will have unique feeds not available on any other platform with the capability of multi-level personalisation.

Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and when they access it. All of practice, qualifying and races, will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre and post-race interviews. Subscribers will be able to watch live races of the main support series, the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup, among others.

During the season, F1 TV will be made available in four different languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and will appear in nearly two dozen markets at launch (including Germany, France, USA, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and much of Latin America). Access will initially be available through desktop and web, with mobile apps and TV apps being phased in on Amazon, Apple and Android.

A less expensive, non-live subscription tier, F1 TV Access will provide live race timing data and radio commentary, as well as extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also be underscored by unprecedented access to archive video content from the historic archive owned by Formula 1. F1 TV Access will be available on a near-global basis at launch, to complement F1 TV Pro.

CDN and connectivity services to distribute the F1 TV content globally will be supplied by Tata Communications, Formula 1’s Official Connectivity Provider.

“With the launch of F1 TV, we are beginning on the journey to build a cornerstone of our digital transformation. F1 TV subscription products are clearly and centrally aimed at our hardest core fans, and we are firm believers that while we are bringing a new audience to the sport, we must always remain focused on delivering products and experiences that serve the most avid F1 fans,” said Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital and New Business, Formula 1.

“Our objective with F1 TV is simple: provide these fans with the best available service to watch live Grands Prix and provide them with the best sports OTT customer experience in the world. Our team and our partners are singularly focused on delivering on that vision: not just for launch but over the long-term. Live streaming video is an exciting space changing almost daily.”

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F1 plans OTT service for 2018

Formula 1 has revealed plans to launch an online live streaming service in 2018 as it reviews its digital and broadcast strategies.

While the sport, under the previous management of Bernie Ecclestone, was wary of embracing new platform technology, new owner Liberty Media is keen to exploit digital opportunities, with a live streaming service from races set to be rolled out for the start of next season.

F1’s commercial chief Sean Bratches has admitted the sport needs to provide an ‘over the top’ offering if it was going to attract bigger future audiences. “We have an obligation to our fans, quite candidly, to ensure that they are able to access our content in any means they want,” he told Autosport F1 writer Jonathan Noble. “We would be derelict if we pursued a path for anything other than that.”

According to Bratches, the aim is to create platforms in the direct-to-consumer arena that engage fans and leverage F1’s assets – whether they are live races, archival or data.

The live OTT offerings will only be available in markets without pre-exiting television deals that have guaranteed exclusivity.

Equity analysts at investment bank Exane BNPP has reminded investors in a note on that it has long held the view that the new broadcasting disruptors would be exerting considerable pressure on established pay-TV operators.

The bank says: “F1 is quite unique as it’s one of the few sports that have truly global appeal. Thus, it would make a good fit for Netflix…. Netflix Sports next up? Liberty Media would partly hurt Sky by doing this as Virgin is its big UK competitor to Virgin. But it is Amazon that we see as the nearer-term threat to bid on sports – I noticed last night that Prime video is now the lead sponsor of the NFL Redzone channel and in Europe we see Amazon as a risk to bid on EPL rights at the next auction opportunity. English football appeals to a key demographic they lack and is the kind of differentiated exclusive content that will attract a critical mass to its platform.”

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