Listening Post

Norway's Slow TV

A new fad has Norwegians gathering around the TV set to wind down - instead of being wound up.

Last Modified: 15 Sep 2013 12:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Norway is a country that gets relatively little media coverage - even the elections this week passed without drama. And that is Norwegian media in a nutshell, not much drama.

A few years back, Norway’s public TV channel, NRK, decided to broadcast live coverage of a 7-hour train ride. Seven hours of simple footage; a train rolling down the tracks.

Norwegians - more than a million of them, according to the ratings - loved it. A new kind of reality TV show was born - and it goes against all the rules of TV engagement.

There is no storyline. No script. No drama. No climax. It is called Slow TV.

For the past two months, Norwegians have been watching a cruise ship's journey up the coast, foggy days included, and executives at Norway's national broadcasting service are considering broadcasting a night of knitting, nationwide.

"I think filming a boat is not a great philosophical achievement. But I think depth can be in many things and I think the gift or just sitting back and watching nature come at you and move past your window through your television ... It has a relaxing effect," says Per Arne Kalbakk, the deputy CEO of NRK.

On the surface, it sounds boring, because it is. But something about this TV experiment has gripped Norwegians and while the broadcaster may be at the avantgarde of weird and wonderful TV, they also have a formula that keeps the ratings up while keeping the costs down.

Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro went to Oslo to find out why Norwegians are tuning in to Slow TV.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Watch more Listening Post


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.
join our mailing list