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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Drones help 300,000 watch Henley Regatta live

TV production company Sunset+Vine has revealed astonishing viewing results from its first online production of Henley Royal Regatta. The world’s pre-eminent river rowing event, now in its 177th year, was streamed live on YouTube from July 1-5 and on the BBC Red Button on Finals Day.

Employing new technology and new camera positions into its revolutionary production of rowing, including the use of drone technology to provide as yet unseen coverage of the sport, Sunset+Vine’s broadcast coverage delivered a truly unique view of rowing to its viewing audience. Over 294,000 people watched the Henley Royal Regatta live on YouTube with a further 100,000 watching specially created on-demand daily highlights programmes and the individual races so far. 40% of the audience came from outside of the UK.

Over 250 individual races were also clipped out and uploaded on YouTube for viewers to access On-Demand. Figures for Finals Day viewings on BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website are yet to be disclosed. It was the first time the event had been broadcast anywhere since 1976.

Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Royal Regatta, said: “The pioneering nature of the coverage of Henley Royal Regatta has provided a truly cutting-edge and innovative perspective of our event for viewers, as well as delivering a unique insight to the sport of rowing for a new generation of fans. The feedback we have received for Henley’s first broadcast anywhere since 1976 has been exceptionally positive and bodes well not only for the future success of this prestigious event, but also for the televised future of the sport.”

Michael Cole, one of the most experienced television producers of rowing events in the UK, including the 2012 Olympic Regatta, was Editorial Director.

The Henley Royal Regatta YouTube channel can be accessed: