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ITV-F1 vs Beeb for poll position in Formula 1.

The Formula 1 season got under way in March with tyre squeals and five new or enhanced Formula 1 web sites. That’s good news for advertisers wanting to reach affluent young males, claim their creators.

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The Formula 1 season got under way in March with tyre squeals and

five new or enhanced Formula 1 web sites. That’s good news for advertisers

wanting to reach affluent young males, claim their creators.



beeb@the BBC has revamped its TopGear-branded site (www.beeb.com), while

ITV, F1 Racing magazine and Business Net have jointly launched a

completely new one (www.itv-f1.com), as has the online service LineOne

with Formula One Focus (www.lineone.net). McLaren has launched a site

(www.mclaren.co.uk) to follow the team’s fortunes, while Shell has an

enhanced site (www.shell-ferrari.com) to make the most of its

sponsorship.



The new ITV-F1 site probably represents the biggest investment. Owned by

ITV and costing around œ700,000 to set up and run this year, the content

largely comes from F1 Racing. It includes daily news updates, previews and

reports from ITV commentators such as Murray Walker and Martin

Brundle.



”The fundamental reason is to support our broadcasts,” said Ian McCulloch,

executive operations director at Laser, part of ITV. ”ITV has no motor

sport heritage, so last year we were making sure we didn’t cock up our

coverage. Now we want to take things further and reap all we can from our

five-year contract. We’re announcing the web address at the end of

broadcasts, so television viewers come to the site.”



ITV’s broadcasts have averaged around five million viewers per race, and

McCulloch is aiming for an eventual 1.5 million page impressions a week on

the site. ”Most of our television audience remains ABC1 males aged between

20 and 44 who work in an office, and the site will attract a similar

audience,” he said.



There are also plans to introduce a push channel. ”We’ve already sent out

emails to registered users, but plan to go further than that,” he

continued. ”We’ll alert registered users about fresh news stories,

downloadable screen savers or merchandise. An ITV-F1 logo would pop up on

the screen which the user can hit and be taken back to the site.”



Simon Johnson, head of marketing for beeb@the BBC, agreed that Formula 1

is a powerful online community builder. ”It’s like a soap opera - informal

and provocative - and fans keep coming back to our F1 site to find out

what’s happened,” he said. ”Obviously, that makes effective

advertising.



Last year, we ran ads for the RAC and had a link through to its site.



There was a high clickthrough rate, a large proportion bought policies

and, importantly, many of these were high-end policies.”



A key part of the beeb’s F1 site is its fantasy Formula 1 game, where

players pay œ10 to enter for the season, and the season’s best online

manager wins a trip to the 1999 Australian Grand Prix. ”We already have

more players than we had during the whole of last year,” continued

Johnson.



”And the way things are going, we should average about 500,000 impressions

a month.”



This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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