Foxtel and in particular Fox Sports is often heavily promoting their “uninterrupted” coverage of Live sport.  We see it with NRL, and with AFL, yet this weekend for their first ever weekend of Formula One coverage we’ve been subjected to some strange split-screen advertising – will this go on all year?

IMG_9580The short answer is no.

Clarifying their position in response to customer enquiries Foxtel said this in their online forum:

FOX SPORTS and Foxtel are displaying ads in a quarter-screen picture-in-picture box as a part of the contractual obligations of the new broadcast deal. This is only for the Australian Grand Prix. The picture-in-picture box was created for these ads, so that racing coverage was not abandoned while the ads are on air. These ads will not feature during race coverage for the remaining 19 Grand Prix events on the 2015 F1 calendar

So – good news, no ads for future Grand Prix events.

But why in Australia?

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 5.26.29 pm

Keen eyed fans will notice the ads are timed exactly at the same time as those on Channel Ten.  Those with even keener eyes will notice they are the very same advertisers.

The reason?  We speculate, but given how late the deal to share the F1 coverage was done between Ten and Fox Sports I think it’s pretty clear.

Ten sales teams had sold F1 advertising packages in the months leading up to the Grand Prix.  Then it turns out a whole bunch of viewers (30% of Australians have Foxtel) might not be seeing those ads.  So I’d suggest the contract to show the season included a clause or three to ensure the pre-sold Australian GP ads were also shown to Fox Sports Viewers.

No Doubt Fox fought hard, that’s why we’ve got a split-screen approach to the ads, so we can at least see all the action!

The Australian Grand Prix is the highest rating F1 GP of the season, so Ten needed to do everything in their power to recover the most revenue.

I reckon Foxtel happily copped the ads on the chin taking into account the next 19 events will be theirs to control.

As a paid up Foxtel Subscriber – the ads annoyed me, yes, but at least I could still see the action.

And unlike some other narks and whingers in the world, I’ll take Foxtel’s word on this one – there will be no ads during future events!

Remember, we’re getting every practice, every qualifying and every race this year in Full HD (and a better quality HD than the Free to Airs have) on Fox Sports – that’s a win for subscribers.