Ten flips on F1 broadcasting as Webber joins chorus of concern
Formula 1 is getting some bouncing-ball treatment from the Ten Network, with broadcasts shifting from HD to SD, from live to "live" and back again.
As Ten shifts Formula 1 racing off One HD and into the SD domain of Ten's main channel, it also ended true live F1 broadcasting Australia-wide. After a chorus of complaints, with Red Bull's Mark Webber adding his voice to the chorus, Ten has thrown Adelaide and Perth viewers a lifeline.
Formula 1 was one of the sports leading the HD charge when Ten launched One HD as a heavily sports-focused channel. Fans were treated to solid race coverage, and grew comfortable with the HD quality. So it is no surprise that fans feel disappointed about losing HD broadcasts.
Yet, even more significant was an end to true live broadcasting, with only the eastern states of Australia receiving F1 in real time. States in other time zones are now getting their F1 fix delayed in line with the delay on the overall channel program schedule, and Ten has not offered live options on their secondary channels for enthusiasts.
With fans getting vocal, Australia's leading F1 driver, Mark Webber, added his voice to the chorus:
Late on Tuesday, Ten announced that it would return Adelaide and Perth broadcasts to One HD, and deliver true live coverage, yet eastern states would remain on Ten to receive the broadcast in SD. Any fan would agree that live broadcasts are more important than arguments over SD versus HD, but now it is the eastern state fans who see themselves being punished.
In Ten's defence, it seems as though their shift to the main Ten channel for the Bahrain race resulted in improved ratings for the event. As long as Australian viewers continue to favour the main channels and deliver benefits to broadcasters for using their SD channels ahead of HD, it seems that the network loses out commercially.
When vocal fans are outnumbered by the ratings results, who is in the right? Will anything ever make serious fans feel satisfied?