Ex-Fox president Hill to change F-1 broadcast strategy

Ex-Fox president Hill to change F-1 broadcast strategy

Fox Sports former president David Hill will lead an overhaul of the Formula One broadcast strategy.

Formula One Auto Racing has hired former Fox Sports president David Hill to advise on an overhaul of its on-screen package. The new onscreen look will include virtual advertisements from brands local to where the races take place.

“David Hill, who really built Fox Sports, is an adviser to help, as we go into the next year, launch some innovations and enhancements to the programming package to really bring something fresh to the marketplace,” Forbes.com has quoted F1’s chief executive Chase Carey as saying.

Carey is hoping Hill will help to revitalize F1’s broadcasts after a steady decline in audiences over the past decade. In March, Britain’s Independent newspaper revealed that last year F1 attracted 390 million viewers which was a fall of 207 million from a decade earlier.

“We do a professional job today but I think too much of what we do is probably not that different than it was ten years ago, whether that’s graphics, sound or camera angles,” said Carey. “We need to make sure that our product has an innovation and an energy that excites and engages fans.”

Carey was the chief executive and chairman of Fox Television between 1994 and 2000 and went on to become executive vice-chairman of News Corp itself until June 2016. He had high praise for Hill when he left Fox and said “for nearly thirty years, David has defined excellence in sports television in the same way [former ABC Sports president] Roone Arledge did in the 1970’s and 1980’s. David is a true leader, visionary and once-in-a-lifetime force of nature,” according to the Forbes report.

Hill brings with him over three decades of experience in television broadcast technology with the launches of  Australia’s Nine Network and Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky Television in the UK in the 1980s. He has started out working for the Nine Network in the 1980s and helped to launch Sky Television in Britain in 1989. As president of the Murdoch-owned Fox Sports from 1993 to 2000 Hill had an introduction of cutting-edge on-air innovations. These included the use of a glowing hockey puck and a first down line superimposed on the gridiron in NFL matches.

Hill left Fox to form his own production company in June 2015 and soon landed one of the top producing jobs in live television when he was named co-producer of the 2016 Academy Awards. His road into auto racing came through fellow Murdoch veteran Carey who became F1’s chief executive in January following the takeover of the series by Liberty Media Corp.