"Very slow" live cruise show a hit on Norwegian TV

Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:57am EDT
 
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By Wojciech Moskwa

OSLO (Reuters Life!) - Worn out by a fast-paced life and faster-paced television shows but lack a vacation budget? Take a five-day cruise along Norway's scenic fjords, all free and streamed live on Norwegian public television.

For 8,040 minutes straight -- including all the boring bits -- viewers can follow the Hurtigruten MMS Nordnorge cruise ship and its roughly 670 passengers and crew as the vessel steams north along Norway's jagged coastline.

The "minute-by-minute" coverage started on Thursday and includes all on-board announcements and views from 11 cameras focusing on the spectacular fjords, boat traffic around the ship, officers on the bridge and the mostly elderly passengers strolling the decks and taking in the scenery.

"It is slow, it is very slow," said Rune Moeklebust, the project manager for the show running on the NRK2 channel.

"It is the opposite to everything else on TV -- that's why it stands out and why, apparently, people want to watch."

Preliminary viewing data is encouraging, Moeklebust told Reuters, with 1.3 million of Norway's 4.9 million residents at least "stopping by" NRK2 between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. on the first day.

With a peak audience of 325,000 and some 160,000 glued to the broadcast for the entire 7-hour period, the "live documentary" grabbed more viewers than NRK2's usual programing.

Passengers, mostly from Norway and Germany, booked tickets for the 1,460 nautical mile voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes, a Barents Sea port near the Russian border deep in the Arctic, without knowing they would be part of what NRK said is set to be the world's longest uninterrupted live broadcast.   Continued...