Formula 1 has announced that its new over-the-top streaming service, F1 TV, will launch with the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona in May. The new service is being tested in a beta version available “to a small subset of fans for viewing and testing” for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix as well as the following Azerbaijan GP before its official rollout in Spain.
F1 TV is being produced in conjunction with NBC Playmaker, iStreamPlanet, CSG, Ostmodern and Tata. There will be two service levels at two different price points. F1 TV Pro, the premium tier, will feature live races and all 20 driver-cameras, as well as side-by-side live race viewing and additional exclusive feeds. Subscribers will be able to personalize the way they watch a Grand Prix, the content they view and how and when they access it.
All of practice, qualifying and races will be offered live, along with press conferences and pre- and post-race interviews. Later in the season, the main support series FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup will be added to the service.
F1 TV will initially launch on desktop. Apple, Android and Amazon Fire mobile and tablet devices will launch shortly thereafter. By summer, the service will also be available to fans on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV. Pricing will be offered on an annual basis of $70-$150, with monthly rates ranging from $8-12. The service will be priced according to market.
A less expensive, non-live subscription tier, “F1 TV Access,” will provide live race timing data and radio broadcasts, as well as extended highlights of each session from the race weekend. It will also include “unprecedented access to archive video content from the amazing historic archive owned by Formula 1.” F1 TV Access will be available on a near-global basis at launch, to complement F1 TV Pro; and will also be added to throughout the season.
In developing the platform, NBC Sports’ Playmaker Media, and iStreamPlanet will act as systems integrator and video streaming partner. CSG will deliver identity management, payment processing and business analysis to support subscriber management and retention. Ostmodern will design and deliver the web and app product experience, including personalization, side by side viewing and future feature enhancements, underpinned by their Skylark CMS.
CDN and connectivity services to distribute the F1 TV content globally will be supplied by Tata Communications, Formula 1’s Official Connectivity Provider.
“There is tremendous opportunity in the OTT space to provide F1’s avid fans with a unique F1 viewing experience across all devices,” said Frank Arthofer, director of Digtal and New Business for Formula 1. “With this launch, fans will find an easy to use streaming experience, rich with live and on-demand content available only on F1 TV, all at a great price.”
The announcement comes after ESPN announced earlier this week that its F1 race telecasts in the U.S. will air commercial free for the remainder of the 2018 season.