Formula One to launch new OTT service to bring fans more digital content

When Liberty Media bought Formula One a few months ago, the sport was falling behind massively when it came to digital output.

It wasn’t for lack of will on the part of the teams, but rules around sharing race video on social and digital platforms stifled the growth of the sport in the online world. But that looks to be changing.

As well as now allowing video to be shared on social media, the sport looks set to launch its own digital broadcasting platform to bring more F1 content to fans online.

The sport is said to be looking for ways to bring an OTT platform to its fans, offering a Netflix-style product where fans can consume their Formula One content.

“We’re actually ideally suited [to a digital service], because we have a wealth of data and information, and such great history, so we have the ability to create unique packages,” Chase Carey, the Formula One chairman, told Autosport.

The sport does have a rich history, but the rise of digital has had a negative impact, too. Recently, the Monaco grand prix reminded us of Formula One’s glamourous image as men in fast cars descended on the millionaire’s playground. Fast cars, yachts and casinos seem to go hand in hand, and Formula One’s playboy image of the 1960s and 70s starts to reappear again.

But that was a time when fast cars with big engines were the pinnacle of technology, whilst the exotic worldwide locations captured the imagination. These days, whilst the cars are still incredibly impressive pieces of technology, the machines don’t seem to shine the glamour they used to. Smartphones and the internet now seems more intriguing to a larger audience.

And yet by combining the two, the glitz and glamour of F1 and digitally-native content fans can consume around the sport, Formula One can cash in on its historical image in a new setting, and broadening its reach on digital platforms will only increase the clout of the sport when it comes to negotiating broadcast and sponsorship deals.

There is no doubt that Liberty’s biggest challenge, when it became the owner of Formula One, was to modernise the sport’s digital output. It is ironic that a sport which innovates its technology so frequently should fall behind in this regard, but it’s clear that there is movement afoot to change that. And it looks like there are more exciting developments ahead for Formula One fans.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 231 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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