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NRK case study: World’s longest ever live documentary

NRK set a Guinness World Record with Hurtigruten, a 134:42:45-hour programme – the world’s longest-ever live TV documentary. NRK Project Manager, Thomas Hellum, will tell all at Fast Turnaround TV on 13 March.

NRK Norway set a Guinness World Record in Summer 2011 by broadcasting Hurtigruten, a programme lasting for 134:42:45 hours – the world’s longest-ever live television documentary. Thomas Hellum, Project Manager at NRK, will share with Fast Turnaround TV delegates on 13 March how the national broadcaster achieved this remarkable success.

The Norwegian Coastal Express brings people and goods from Bergen to Kirkenes all year round; and last summer more than 65% of Norway’s population took the journey simultaneously, thanks to NRK’s live TV and web coverage. NRK2 normally has a market share of 4-5%: within days of the set off, average market share was 36%.

Hellum (pictured top on right, with production manager Rune Møklebust) will reveal how NRK produced a five-day event, from a moving vessel at sea, that was live on TV and received 12 million page views on Facebook and 22,000,000 impressions on Twitter – and was streamed in 179 countries.

The entire journey is still viewable online, minute by minute
(including what the radar is showing and the journey in 3D graphics using Google maps).

He will also tell how the NRK staff of 22 worked around the clock, and how big equipment rentals can pay off when you get the equivalent of 150 normal-length documentaries for the price of four. Find out about the complex camera configuration, audio, post, server and streaming systems – and why this project drew thousands of people out to wave or call their friends.

One lesson learned by the Norwegian broadcaster: don’t write off crazy TV ideas right away – they might be unconventional but that can be why they work.