Pushed to observe: How a sports activities docuseries drove U.S. followers to Components 1


TV programming has a protracted historical past of inspiring audiences to get extra concerned of their passions and choose up new hobbies. In some instances, TV exhibits have given a fortunate few the chance to stay out their dream jobs, reminiscent of Final Comedian Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger and Prime Chef winner Stephanie Izard.

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However TV programming can do extra than simply gas inside passions: Within the case of docuseries, which have gotten more and more common on streaming platforms, Nielsen analysis has discovered that they will rework audiences into sports activities followers.

There’s no short-changing the ability of sports activities and its affect on stay TV viewing. Final 12 months, sports activities accounted for 98% of the top 50 most-viewed programs by September on conventional U.S. TV. And as content material creators broaden the TV panorama to develop—and appeal to—new audiences, the world of sports activities is rising exterior of stay competitors.

Whereas match highlights and recap movies have all the time supplied audiences with a strategy to meet up with stay competitors and acquire perception into on-the-field motion, non-related content material, like docuseries are additionally gaining momentum amongst viewers—and galvanizing them to have interaction with sports activities firsthand. In truth, amongst world audiences, the enchantment of content material that’s unrelated to a stay occasion is simply barely lower than the content material that’s immediately associated to a match or recreation.

To study extra in regards to the connection between the viewership of docuseries and sports activities fandom, Nielsen not too long ago analyzed viewership of Netflix’s Components 1: Drive to Survive to see if it impressed U.S. audiences to begin watching Components 1 races. The evaluation, which checked out F1 viewership throughout three particular durations, discovered that greater than 360,000 viewers who didn’t view F1 within the latter a part of the 2021 season, watched F1 racing in 2022 after first watching Drive to Survive.

Pushed to observe:  Drive to Survive conjures up 2.3% extra viewers to observe F1 content material in 2022

Nielsen isn’t the primary to spotlight the affect of Drive to Survive on F1 fandom, and Nielsen Fan Insights has tracked F1 fan development of about 10% within the U.S. over the previous three years. However that is the primary time audiences have been analyzed to trace the halo impact from the present to stay motion—one thing earlier protection acknowledged couldn’t be done.

To reach on the findings, Nielsen calculated the tv viewership of:

  • F1 content material between Nov. 19, 2021, and Dec. 12, 2021
  • All seasons of Drive to Survive between Dec. 13, 2021, and March 17, 2022
  • F1 occasions between March 18, 2022, and April 10, 2022

In line with Nielsen knowledge*, practically 16 million folks watched not less than a part of any of the programming listed above. Of the 16 million, 2.3% didn’t watch any of the final three race weekends of 2021 F1 programming, highlighting that Drive to Survive generated greater than 360,000 new followers of F1 forward of the extremely anticipated Components 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix, which begins this Friday.

After we take a look at viewership of simply the docuseries and the brand new F1 season, which kicked off in mid March, we see that 41% of Drive to Survive viewers additionally tuned in to the primary three weeks of the brand new F1 season.

The brand new followers additionally carry a distinct profile to the game. They’re:

  • Extra Hispanic (23% vs. 12% who watched F1 content material and never the docuseries)
  • Youthful (46% are 34 and youthful vs. 16% who watched F1 content material and never the docuseries)
  • Prosperous (69% earn $100k+ vs 49% who watched F1 content material and never the docuseries)
  • White collar (70% vs 42% who watched F1 content material and never the docuseries)
  • Have houses with children (49% vs. 21% who watched F1 content material and never the docuseries)

Along with inspiring docuseries viewers to grow to be F1 followers, Drive to Survive has performed a big academic position as the overall inhabitants grows its curiosity within the sport. In truth, among the many basic inhabitants, Nielsen Fan Insights discovered that:

  • 34% grew to become a fan after watching
  • 30% say they understood the game extra
  • 29% felt extra engaged with the game

Given the excitement up to now, it ought to come as no shock that the fourth season of Drive to Survive has garnered even greater audiences. Premiere week for season 4, which dropped March 11, simply forward of F1 Spherical 1 in Bahrain, attracted 60% extra viewers than the premiere for season 3, which arrived proper earlier than final 12 months’s F1 season.

Compelling tales are in every single place, and sports activities are more and more gaining TV display time exterior of stay competitions. Whereas there’s no denying the attraction of stay sports activities, there’s now clear proof that one of many keys to attracting new followers could be rooted within the energy of compelling, documentary-style storytelling.


 *Nielsen nationwide TV knowledge and Streaming Content Ratings 


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