Canal Plus hails strong F1 viewing figures

French pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus has revealed its viewing figures for the 2019 Formula 1 motor-racing season, with average audience share figures rising year-on-year.

The 2019 F1 season concluded at the weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which attracted 775,000 viewers – the best audience for the season finale in five years.

Canal Plus has announced that its average viewing figure for early-afternoon grands prix was 757,000 subscribers, which equates to a 30.2-per-cent share of its subscriber base. This represents a new record for Canal Plus’ subscriber share, bettering last season’s figure of 29.8 per cent.

The most popular race of the season on Canal Plus was the Italian Grand Prix, which was won by Monaco’s Charles Leclerc and attracted 1.17 million subscribers – the second-most watched race in the history of Canal Plus’ Formula 1 coverage. The race registered a subscriber share of 40 per cent, a record for a race taking place in the European afternoon.

The second-most watched race of the 2019 season was the Monaco Grand Prix, which gathered an audience of 865,000 viewers (and 35.1-per-cent subscriber share).

Canal Plus agreed a three-year extension to its rights deal in May 2017. The deal, which expires at the end of the 2020 season, marked the first major broadcast contract struck by F1’s new owners, US media company Liberty Media.

Canal Plus has covered Formula 1 in France since 2013, following on from TF1, which had previously covered the sport from 1992 to 2012.

TF1 did, however, sign a deal covering the 2018 to 2020 period for free-to-air rights to four races per season, including the French Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix. The TF1-owned TMC channel aired this season’s US Grand Prix, which was watched by an average of 936,000 viewers.

Last month, Canal Plus revealed that its debut season covering the MotoGP motorcycling series attracted an average audience of 412,000 subscribers for races taking place during the early-afternoon timeslot. Canal Plus replaced Eurosport, the MotoGP broadcaster in France since 1992, as the rights-holder in a five-year deal running from 2019 to 2023.