I love Event TV. I enjoy knowing that a show is being shared around the world in real time whether it’s the World Cup Final or the Eurovision Song Contest.
That’s why I’m so impressed with NRK2’s recent ratings hitHurtigruten Minute by Minute which saw the broadcast of an entire five day boat trip along the Norwegian coast in what is known as ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage’.
There were no penalty shoot-outs, no evictions and no record contracts, just miles and miles of rolling sea, breathtaking fjords and midnight sun. It was a serene experience for viewers and the perfect antidote to noisy editing.
The 134 hour transmission delivered an all-time ratings high for NRK2 with up to 41% market share on a channel that normally sees a share of just 5%. Nearly three million Norwegians watched some of the broadcast and around 190,000 viewers followed the whole journey.
Meanwhile, the voyage turned into a TV roadshow as huge crowds and brass bands turned up along the route to wave flags and welcome the ship as it stopped at each harbour. Even Queen Sonja turned up in The Royal Yacht just before the final stop at Kirkenes.
Well that’s fine for the Norwegians you are thinking, but what about the rest of us?
I first heard about #hurtigruten on Twitter and discovered that NRK was streaming the trip live on the web so that viewers around the world could take part in the cruise.
Through NRK’s Flash site, virtual seafarers were able to chat to fellow passengers on Twitter and Facebook, navigate maps, use real time data about the ship’s position and even follow the trip in 3D through the Google Earth plug-in.
If you have a spare five days, you can still see the entire journey here.
The free spirit of the voyage can be seen as a metaphor for the openness of NRK in sharing their beautiful content with the world and their forward-thinking approach to Digital Rights Management.
Instead of locking up their content, they are already making some of their series available DRM-free through BitTorrent in the belief that the best way to control material is to be the best provider of it.
‘If people want it on BitTorrent then you should provide that. If you do it right people will come to your official publish point and you’ll end up with more control’ states the broadcaster.
The voyage may be over but NRK wants the Hurtigruten project to live on through the international community. If you are feeling creative, take a look at the NRKbeta blog here because the most imaginative mash-up from the virtual boat trip wins a genuine trip to Norway!