Liberty admit F1 TV Pro 'will never be as big' with rivals like WWE
Liberty Media Chief Executive Greg Maffei has admitted that their F1 TV Pro project will struggle to compete with other sports rivals who have a mass of content at their disposal, such as the WWE Network.
The WWE launched their online video platform in 2014 and as well as showcasing live events, they boast a gigantic back catalogue of previous races and shows going back decades, totalling thousands of hours of content.
Maffei feels that the nature of F1 dictates that there is a limited amount of content that can be made available beyond conventional race weekends, and so believes it is important to temper expectations as to what the worldwide subscriber base could eventually reach.
F1 TV Pro got off to a thoroughly unspectacular start in 2018, with so many technical issues meaning they were forced to issue refunds and aim for a smoother launch this season.
At the Deutsche Bank Internet & Telecom Conference, Maffei said of its progress: "One of the challenges with having 21 races available in linear form on a lot of platforms is that it is hard to find a lot of content that is differentiated, unique and special only for that OTT (Over the Top) product.
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"People who have done a great job, like WWE, have a huge amount of content which isn’t available on a linear feed so you have more tonnage to put on the Over The Top product."
He added: "I do think there are important revenue streams and important ancillary benefits we can get out of our OTT product.
"But it is probably never going to be as big as some people who have much more tonnage and differentiated unique content.”
WWE's subscriber base, for which customers pay $10 per month, currently numbers in the region of 1.7m, though the number actually viewing the service (eg via shared username and passwords) is almost certainly more.
F1 haven't made it clear which markets they are looking to achieve most growth, particularly given some pre-existing broadcasting contracts (for example with Sky in the UK) prohibit users there from using the full Pro service.
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