Motorsport fans were fuming with Foxtel after it repeatedly interrupted its broadcast of Sunday’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix with advertisements.
Those hoping to watch the F1 season-opener from Melbourne uninterrupted on the pay-TV service were shocked when split-screen advertisements started to play.
Fox Sports kept pictures of their coverage on screen during the ad breaks, but lost audio, making the race tough to follow.
And crucial moments – such as the crowd reaction to Fernando Alonso’s ‘I’m alright’ wave following his horror smash – were overshadowed by boisterous advertisements spruiking Harvey Norman’s cut-price top load washers and two-door fridges.
Formula One is hardly a sport that lends itself to ad breaks but they kept coming at very regular intervals, leading to a social media meltdown from many of Foxtel’s subscribers.
— Richard (dook) (@dooktwit) March 20, 2016
— Shell Whittaker (@shellkershaw85) March 20, 2016
Via a Twitter account designed to help subscribers, Foxtel posted this comment: “Due to broadcasting agreements, coverage of the F1 is being simulcast by a local broadcaster and therefore includes their commercial content.
“While this does include advertising content from the local broadcaster, Fox Sports has ensured that the action will still continue for all of our subscribers so you’ll be able to keep watching via picture in picture mode.”
Not communicated to viewers – but findable online – was the fact you could opt out of the ad breaks.
This was possible via the red button, bringing up four options (on-board camera, pit lane, live timing and driver tracker) for viewers.
But the driver tracker was regularly down through the afternoon, leaving viewers even more frustrated.
‘What’s a weekend without the ads, hey?’
Only last month, Fox Sports launched an advertising campaign based on their ad-free coverage of every 2016 AFL and NRL game live.
The campaign – dubbed ‘We’re a FoxSporting Nation’ – involves a number of television and radio commercials.
Formula One features in the advertisements.
Of the ads, Foxtel’s executive director of television Brian Walsh, said: “We’re a FoxSporting Nation recognises Australia’s legacy as a sport loving country and reminds fans that regardless of your sport, your team or whether you’re a die-hard fan or a weekend watcher, Foxtel is the place to see, for the first time ever, every game, every team, every week, live and ad-break free.”