Liberty defends online streaming plans for Formula 1

by Craig Edwards

Sean Bratches has been forced to defend Liberty Media’s plans to move away from free-to-air television and increase the internet coverage of Formula 1.

In recent years, the sport has made more deals with pay-TV networks and fans are only seeing a limited number of races shown free-to-air.

Bratches when talking to Auto Motor und Sport focused on the digital future of the sport. “The relaunch of our digital platform is planned. Today it only costs us money. Fans cannot download exclusive content.”

The F1 commercial chief further stated the plans that Liberty Media have for their digital platform. “We will introduce a direct streaming offer to the fans both live content and non-live content.” said Bratches.

The fans will then get access to data directly from the cars.

“One will be freely available, while the other for serious fans is behind a payment barrier.”

Former chief executive of F1, Bernie Ecclestone, argued that television right must remain exclusive and therefore never developed a true online presence for the sport but Bratches believes they can be done “simultaneously”.

Bratches concluded his interview with discussing the move to pay-TV. “Free TV means reach, but the money is on pay TV.

“Ideally, 25 to 30 per cent of the races should be on free TV and the rest behind a pay wall. It works in France and other countries, but there are countries where we should not move to this model yet.”

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