BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula 1 is launching a new TV streaming product that it says will put fans in control of their race viewing experience, letting them watch from their favorite driver's perspective or tracking battles for position.
F1 TV, launched on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress, will give access to cameras mounted on the cars of 20 drivers as well as the traditional broadcast feed, with viewers able to split the screens of their mobile device or smart TV.
"You can go head-to-head with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel as they battle for second place - and actually go side-by-side and look at the view from each of their cars," Frank Arthofer, Formula 1's head of digital, told Reuters.
Formula 1, controlled by Liberty Media, will offer the service live in countries including Mexico, France, Germany, the United States, Turkey, Belgium, Hungary and Austria - starting with the opening grand prix next month in Melbourne.
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Of Formula 1's roughly 500 million followers, Arthofer reckons that up to 1 million hardcore fans could be persuaded to sign up for F1 TV Pro, which is being offered as a subscription service. It also will offer, a less expensive, recorded version is called F1 TV Access.
Monthly charges for the premium version will be in a range from $8-$12, with an annual deal around $100, with prices varying by market. That puts potential revenues for F1 TV in the order of $100 million on a five-year timeframe, Arthofer said.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine, Editing by Eric Auchard)