A few weeks ago it was announced that the NENT Group will take over the Dutch Formula 1 rights from Ziggo in 2022. While the news shellshocked several Dutch fans, the company's Sports Chief, Peter Nørrelund reassures that the fans in Holland will enjoy very wide-ranging broadcasts on the Viaplay streaming service starting next year.
Nørrelund has been active in the TV world for several years now and is well placed to discuss the impact sport plays in the modern world. In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Nørrelund discusses why the company decided to acquire the rights to F1 in the Netherlands and how NENT plans to increase the sport's viewership.
"At the NENT Group, we want to set up as wide a range as possible, and in both the Nordic and Baltic countries we also have a broad sports package that we offer to our customers. Therefore, we saw it as a unique opportunity to also capture the Formula 1 rights for the Dutch market, especially now that Max Verstappen is doing great.
"We already have F1 rights in seven other countries, with Finland to follow next year and Poland in 2023. From the experience in other countries we know how big Formula 1 is in the world."
Being a former sports journalist himself, the Dane also pays special heed to the way drivers interact with the media, something he hopes will give him an added advantage.
"All drivers know how important sponsors and the media are in the premier class of motorsport," Nørrelund explained.
"Just look at how Lewis Hamilton used to struggle to get sponsorship money to build his career. Even in karts, you have to make sure you have your sponsorship money in order and that is why the drivers know very well how important it is to represent your team and sponsors well. I like that aspect of Formula 1, that drivers are willing and therefore also very interesting for the media."
Nørrelund also describes how NENT will take an active role in providing their viewers with as much additional information as possible.
"We will not only work from a studio in Amsterdam, but we will also have at least two commentators and a pit reporter on location," Nørrelund elaborated.
"That should ensure that we can always provide the fans with the latest news. It is necessary in Formula 1 to be there so you can cover the sport as best as possible for the fans.
"However, at the moment it is still unknown who will take on which position. It is clear that we will be working with F1 experts, but at the moment we don't know who will fill which role. First we are busy arranging everything in terms of management in the Netherlands, so that we have a good basis.
"From there, we can move on and work on the division of roles. Step by step, we will also communicate to the fans about the way we will work. When we have more clarity on certain matters, we will share this directly with the fans."
Nørrelund is also keen on leveraging social media and says NENT focus will primarliy center around providing extra value by paying extra attention to what goes on behind the scenes.
"I see all kinds of things passing by in the media and of course I understand that: it's an interesting topic," Nørrelund elaborated.
"For us, the most important thing at the moment is to say that we want to tackle the broadcasts as big as possible and we are succeeding in this because we are already broadcasting the sport in seven other countries. This gives us a lot of experience and makes us one of the biggest broadcasters in the F1 paddock.
"Because of our size we are able to reach the fans in the best possible way. Also, the fans can just watch us on smart TV, big devices and other platforms, just like it is the case with, for example, Netflix. When we talk about Netflix, I would like to mention that they play an important role in the development of Formula 1 through the series Drive to Survive.
"I think they have done a special job in bringing Formula 1 to an even bigger audience and I want to give them credit for that."
The Dane finally highlights how NENT will even broadcast certain races for free on their network.
"Another example of our set-up is that next year we will also broadcast some races for free," Nørrelund explained.
"That means that people can watch certain races on our platform without having a subscription with us. During the Dutch Grand Prix we will work together with a Dutch broadcaster, which will also broadcast the race on the public network.
"The Dutch GP will then also be viewable to everyone in the Netherlands."