Formula One is planning to develop its own online streaming platform as part of a wider evolution around the sport’s broadcast model.
Chase Carey, chief executive and chairman of Formula One, revealed that the company intends to launch its own OTT streaming platform where fans can pay for a Netflix-style service with dedicated F1 content.
Speaking to Autosport, Carey described OTT has a “tremendously important opportunity” and highlighted the need for the sport to better utilise digital platforms.
“We were really a non-player in the digital platforms, so whether it's free, pay or digital, we want to make sure we're engaging with them all.
"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.”
He said the service would cater to dedicated fans looking for a deeper insight into the sport and the on-track action as a means of making the offering attractive enough to convince fans to pay for the service.
"Creating a subscription package for the strongest F1 fans is a tremendously important opportunity," said Carney.
Such a service is unlikely to appeal to less dedicated fans of the sport and could potentially impact on the value of F1’s current TV deals. However, new owners Liberty Media believe that strengthening the performance of F1’s digital model will make it more appealing and ultimately help grow its commercial revenue.
Carney stated that F1 was only starting to properly engage with fans now that Liberty Media was at the helm and believed that it could “create some real momentum and energy over the next couple of years”.
He said the new developments across digital platforms would be structured so as not to jeopardise any current or future broadcast agreements.
“We're going to be much more analytical about trying to evaluate the trade-off between reach and dollars," said Carney. "Part of what we have to do is make sure it's more than free to pay, it's digital, and how you engage fans across the broader spectrum of free, pay and digital.”
While he admitted that F1 would “gravitate towards the pay platform” over time, Carney said the sport would continue to marry those with some free TV broadcasting.
In the interview, he also revealed that future deals with TV networks will be shorter so they can be reviewed on a more regular basis to allow for greater flexibility around exploit all of its rights.