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F1 Struggled to Find Formula for Digital Success in 2017

Formula 1 made just $10 million in digital revenue last year. The tiny output, just 0.6 percent of its total annual revenue, comes despite several initiatives by the league’s ownership, Liberty Media Group, intended to bolster F1’s digital presence.
Formula One Digital Media’s financial report, was released yesterday and details were reported by Forbes. Despite the apparently small take from digital media, the $10 million figure is, however, a 65 percent increase from F1’s 2016 digital revenue total ($6.1 million).
“The directors consider the performance of the company during the year to be satisfactory and in line with expectations as the company continues to invest in the development of its digital platforms, and believe the company to be in a sound position at the balance sheet date and, with the progress it is making, well positioned for the future” detailed F1’s financial statement, according to Forbes
The $10 million digital revenue total accounts for sales of the official F1 app and the licensing of online ticketing and merchandise rights. But it does not yet include revenue from F1’s esports series or the F1 TV OTT streaming platform, which both debuted in 2018. Even with a disappointing proportion coming from digital media, total revenue for the league still grew over the past year.
“Revenue grew strongly, up by $3.9m (65%) despite the company’s primary focus being on planning future products and services, the increasingly successful development of its digital and social media channels, and the development of content and underlying technical platforms to support future growth opportunities,” the report stated.
SportTechie Takeaway
Both the official F1 app and F1 TV streaming service were met with criticism this past year, which may contribute to another disappointing digital revenue total for 2018. The app’s live timing function was so poor that the league was forced to re-launch its older timing app, according to Autosport. F1’s president publicly apologized for glitches in the F1 TV streaming service in May. RaceFans dubbed the service “amateur.”
However, the results for 2019 and beyond are likely to improve, especially with the potential for integrating in-race betting to the F1 experience.


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