Channel 7’s telecast of the 2010 Bathurst 1000

Along with many other V8 Supercar fans, I was furious & livid (furiously livid?) with Channel 7 for delaying the telecast of the 2010 Bathurst 1000 by up to 37 mins. I, too joined the multitude of people on Twitter to express my anger and disgust at the situation and how it played out. However, here are some of my thoughts and links to other responses on what I think could have been done better on the day. 2 things I’d like to bring your attention to before I start:

So here’s my list of things that Channel 7 could do better next time:

  1. Tell us (the viewers) what you’re doing: The underlying message (which transpired on the Monday after the race) was that of NMAT: Never Miss A Thing. This is something a number of people picked up on, but had to deduce ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with a desire to ensure viewers “…not miss a moment of action“, but tell us that. Chances are, we’d understand your decision points and ‘live with it’, as opposed to becoming more vitriolic and angry at the lack of information being shared. One of the interesting aspects to this is whether it was advertised as a ‘live’ race or not? Everyone with even a modicum of interest in the Bathurst 1000 knows this to be the pinnacle of Australian Motorsport. Some would argue with the accolades it’s received in the past (including 6 logies since 2000), and the number of cameras/locations they have them (168 in total, embedded in the track, spoiler, mirror, inside the cockpit, under race cars, etc) tells the world “we’re serious about this race more so than any other race on the planet”.Your message got lost somewhere that you had our best interests at heart (NMAT).
    You defended yourself the following day (see ‘Horse: has bolted’) by saying “it was never said the race would be live”, but to even say that knowing how prestigious the event it in the eyes of the consumer is a show of utter contempt for the many race fans around the country who could not make it to the race. Are we second-class citizens? Why did residents of South Korea (as an example) get to view the race live? (“I’ve got friends in South Korea that watched the race live, but anyone living in the country where the race is an icon was not afforded the same luxury.”Mic Cullen)
  2. Don’t point the finger at your business ‘partner’: One of your team blamed V8 Supercars, who in turn said “the decision to time-shift the live telecast was not in its control and the blame lay with the network“. Ouch. You need to respect your business partners and accept responsibility when you can. Both parties.
  3. Social Media is here to stay – don’t ignore it, embrace it: Now we’ve got it, there’s no way it will ever disappear from our lives. No matter which tool (Twitter, chat rooms, Facebook chat, etc) is being used to have the conversation, the conversationsare taking place. You cannot ignore it – race fans (along with NRL fans, AFL fans, soccer fans, and fans of almost any other sport) are using these tools to have a conversation with friends and observers. Twitter is like hanging with ‘mates’ at a virtual pub, you have a yarn, throw around your opinions/ideas and chat about what’s happening in the world. Twitter conversations allow this to be on-topic through the use of hashtags (view the spike in #Bathurst tweets on the 10th October as an example).V8 Supercars fans use Twitter.

    Please do not expect your broadcast(s) to be viewed independently any more. At other race meetings, some fans resort to switching off social networking sites when viewing a broadcast (to not spoil the results for themselves). However, when I asked a few of them (through twitter), almost all mentioned that they did not expect time-shifting to occur during the Bathurst telecast. Watching the racing now without twitter is like leaving the pub/dinner party to go home and complete your tax return – Twitter adds a lot of perspective, humour and opinions to the broadcast (you often pick up small details you don’t get from the commentators). The future of any broadcast media consumption (notably television in this instance) will undoubtedly include social media as mentioned by Adam Turner ..people tend to blend television and social media into one activity, watching the television with a notebook or tablet..

    Channel 7, you need to find a way to integrate Social Media more into your TV broadcasts. It’s a complementary (not replacement) technology. Break away from your traditional media tag and become a revolutionary. It doesn’t take much! If you need help with this, please let me know, as a fan of both V8Supercars and social networking I’d love to be involved to making things better!

Here are some other thoughts:

  • You had 168 cameras, but we hardly saw more than a few seconds of  some of them – I do not recall seeing the wing-mirror cam on Mark Winterbottom’s car except in the top 10 shootout. We saw a few seconds of footage from the rear wheel camera on Rick Kelly’s car. My tip: we need more Picture-in-Picture (PIP) footage. Showing a lap of Mt Panorama with no commentary: PIP the footwell camera footage with the external view + include an under-car camera as well. AND do more of it!
  • PIP your ads – I’d be happy for you to do a PIP of an ad with audio whilst being able to see the the race continue in the main screen. If something major happens in the race, immediately switch to it (like Channel 10 used to do). I believe this could have worked well in 2010 as some of the race without safety cars was mundane. We see more racing AND you get to show ads.
  • Release a DVD set of the entire race alongside the ‘packaged and polished’ highlights DVD. Do it. There’s a market out there.
  • Broadcast it in HD. Please don’t use the “Delhi Commonwealth Games” excuse for not having HD cameras in 2011. As mentioned earlier, this is the pinnacle of Motorsport in Australia. Treat it as such. If you can’t, tell us.
  • Talk to us. Don’t leave the conversation to be too one-sided. Mark Beretta is one of the beacons of greatness in your organisation, but he needs help and support from above.
The tweet that sums up my post
The tweet that sums up my post

Oh and to the advertisers:

  • KFC, I will NEVER leave my house to buy your products during a race broadcast! If you offered zinger burgers by home delivery (in under 2 mins) it may be a different story 🙂
  • Armor All: no-one’s likely to polish their car during the race. Reminding us 27 times won’t change us.
  • Super Cheap Auto: your stuff will still be there on Monday 🙂

What’re your thoughts on the 2010 Bathurst TV coverage?

Other Links:

Channel 7’s 2009 Bathurst 1000 coverage

The 2009 V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 has been run and won, by the best team on the day. They drove a faultless race and kept their heads throughout the day. There are many others out there who can write up the story very well, however I decided to dedicate this post to the TV coverage provided by Channel 7 (in Sydney).

In no certain order, here are my thoughts to Channel 7:

  1. Use one of your un(der)used ‘digital’ channels to broadcast the ENTIRE race non-stop – Have your ads picture-in-picture with the sound, BUT keep the main part of the screen active with the race. We may actually see some of incidents you happened to miss whilst showing the ads.
  2. Please provide a run-down of how each car is doing instead of switching to another ad break. A 5-10 second update on each car would be great. During your hourly update you told is how the FPR car caught fire, but little of the other players who struck trouble. Jason Bright got back onto the lead lap. How? We won’t know from your telecast because it barely rated a mentioned!
  3. Since the race is not beamed 100% live to our telly (2-3 mins delay from what I have heard, this is not substantiated, but we all know it’s a little behind) surely you could have timed your ads better. There were a couple of times where you had 3-min ad breaks sandwich 1 min of racing (albeit under the safety car). One way to think of it (courtesy of @erkpod on Twitter) “Ch 7’s ad campaign keeps getting interrupted by some car race #bathurst1000
  4. You had so many little cameras in great places but did not use them enough!
    • The wing-cam on the Kelly’s car was great, would have been great to see more.
    • Whatever happened to cameras out ‘over’ the track as in days gone by?
    • The camera in the footwell of the car, complete with external footage and the V8 sound is phenomenal – we need more of it. One great comment by @StevePizzati: “Dear Ch.7 please please show more on-board laps (with footwork) where all commentators shut the hell up! Signed V8Supercar fans #Bathurst1000“.
  5. Mark Beretta and Matthew White aren’t adding value to the commentary so feel free to deploy them elsewhere.

Many Many thanks go out to a number of Twitterers who helped make the 2009 Bathurst experience better than just watching it on telly: @VSSSCOM, @themolk, @queenslandchic, @FJBurlinson, @alikat2k, @erkpod, @stevepizzati, @TonySearl, @awhisper, @neop26, @obliterated, @talking_Stones, @TouringCarTimes, @Wakdem, @VenessaHunt, @terryicarter, @GTRoberts, @SherieheartsRob, @swgn, @psycik, @KeithSteelAU, @stevebiddle, @missmoochacha, @rosscity, @mavric35, @jodes77, @FraserIsland, @jimmysmalls, @sweeeet__x, @paul_marshy64, @gleno_, @eskimo_dan, @rhettblanch.