What has happened?
As well as creating hype for locals, the Australian Grand Prix puts Melbourne on the world stage in the hope to attract tourists and has always been a major national media event.
This year a Netflix documentary series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” was released ahead of the 2019 season in hopes to attract and educate potential fans. Formula 1’s director of media rights, Ian Holmes said, “Partnering with Netflix to create an original series puts us at the forefront of becoming a media and entertainment brand and attracting new fans to the sport”.
According to a Nielsen SportLink study released this year, the overall popularity of the Formula 1 in Australia has been steadily on the rise with 17% of Australians identifying themselves as fans of the F1, 24% of Australians attending, watching or following the Formula 1 season in 2017 and 2018.
The Media Store Take
Attendance for the Formula 1 reached a high this year despite a drop between 2017 and 2018, boasting its biggest live crowd since 2005 of 324,100 people. This mimics peaks in interest shown for the Google search terms “Melbourne Grand Prix” and “formula 1”, which were on a downward trend since 2005 but both peaked at 100 points this March.
According to OzTAM, the race last Sunday also pulled in a TV audience of 649,000 – an increase of 6% compared to last year. While Netflix audience data can’t be confirmed, commissioning the Netflix film looks like a smart move. Documentary popularity has spiked since the platform began investing in long-form journalism, and by placing the brand outside of its usual broadcast setting, Formula 1 has engaged a unique audience in a contextually relevant and meaningful way.
By educating the narrowcast Netflix audience about the sport, they generated interest and discussion, mobilising their online audience to transition to the live broadcast event. See the trailer for Formula 1: Drive To Survive.
Jeanette Bonnici & Ruby Muller