For the third year in a row, Formula 1 grew its audience figures, across both TV and digital platforms, compared to the previous season.
The total global TV cumulative audience stood at 1.922bn, the highest since 2012, which represents an increase of 9% compared to 2018. This is the third consecutive year of growth. In the top 20 markets (based in ranking of TV audience) it reached 1.781bn, with the same increment YOY.
Once again, the top five markets by cumulative audience are Brazil, Germany, Italy, UK and the Netherlands, all with audiences higher than 100m. Among the top 20 markets, there have been exceptional increases; in Poland (+256%) and in the MENA region (+228%,) 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%), the Netherlands (+56%), Italy (+29%) and Germany (+23%) were the countries with the highest increases while the audience continues to grow in the United States (+7%) and in China (+5%).
In terms of unique viewers, during 2019 the sport remained stable in the top 20 markets at 405.5m (+0.3%), while there was a slight decrease globally (-3.9%), with the overall number of viewers standing at 471m. Brazil, China, Germany, USA and Italy are the five markets with the highest reach. Poland (+569.7%) with 8.4m viewers and Middle East (+ 239.6%) at 17.6m registered the highest growth – mainly for the reasons mentioned above – within the top 20 markets Germany (+45.6%), the Netherlands (+31.1%) and Greece (+18%) 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 112m viewers (+20% YOY), which is also the highest since the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix. Three more events also had more than 100m viewers – Monaco, Brazil and Germany – and a total of 14 had more than 90m, with an average audience of 91.5m.
The breakdown by typology of broadcasting programme highlights an increase in both race (+7%) and qualifying (+5%) live broadcasts, while there has been a double-digit improvement in practice (+24%), delayed race (+11%) broadcasts and magazines & support programmes (+16%).
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 24.9m (+32.9% compared to 2018).
Again in 2019, Formula 1’s social media channels confirmed to be 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% (15.5bn), video views by 60.9% (3.1bn) and minutes watched almost doubled, reaching 3.2bn (+89.9%). Interactions meanwhile totaled 405m across the four social media platforms (+82%).
The F1’s core digital platforms had a great season, surpassing 1bn page views (1.124bn), almost doubling them (+82.3%), compared to last year. On the F1.com website the number of pages viewed reached 409.8 (+22.9%) while on the official F1 App has seen a three-digit increase (+152.3%), up to 714.2m views. On both platforms video views and minutes watched rose significantly, up to 54m (+45.2%) and 84.5m (+19.5%) respectively. The number of unique users reached 55.9m (+16.3%): 52.1m on the website (+15.3%) and 3.7m on the app (+33.5%), with a +25% increase of the average number of users per race week.
The second season of the official Formula 1 podcast “Beyond the Grid” continued its successful story with 43 episodes throughout the season reaching up to 15m listens in 2019.
The Formula 1 fan base in the 27 markets monitored by Nielsen remained above 500m during 2019 and continues its youthful expansion, with 62% of the new fans accumulated in the last two years under the age of 35. China (81.3m), Brazil (54.7m), Mexico (45.5m), USA (34.6m) and India (31.1m) are in the top five positions by number of fans.
Formula 1’s new season, which will be 71st in the history of sport, begins in March 15th with Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.