F1 struggles to attract younger viewers despite digital drive

Series’ global research director reveals just 14 per cent of viewers are under 25.

F1 struggles to attract younger viewers despite digital drive

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Just 14 per cent of Formula One’s viewers are under the age of 25, according to the motorsport series’ global research director Matt Roberts.

In an open Q&A on discussion forum Reddit, Roberts revealed that the average age of a Formula One viewer is 40. Under 25s are the most poorly represented age group, with 30 per cent of the series’ viewers between the age of 25 and 34; 20 per cent between 35 and 44; 20 per cent between 45 and 54; and 17 per cent over 55.

Roberts also said that the average age is higher in Formula One’s more established markets such as the UK and Italy, while viewers are younger in the series’ newer markets like the US and China. 

The viewership figures come despite Formula One’s increased focus on digital since Liberty Media’s US$4.4 billion acquisition of the series back in 2017. Since then, Formula One has launched its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform, set up an esports series and run its first ever marketing campaign in an attempt to engage with the next generation of fan.

Roberts, who was hired by Liberty in June 2017, added that although Formula One’s digital drive has not yet had the desired effect on its TV viewership, a number of the series’ new initiatives have already helped to engage a younger audience.

“Esports have been great for us so far,” he said. “80 per cent of the audience is under 35-years-old but is amazing when you compare this to ageing TV audiences.”

Formula One’s digital efforts continue to be a work in progress under Liberty. The series revealed in October that it made just US$10 million in digital revenues in 2017, accounting for only 0.6 per cent of its total revenue. That figure was, at least, up from US$6.1 million in 2016, marking a 65 per cent increase.