Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Future of Slow TV

The future of Slow TV looks very promising. 

NRK in Norway are set to produce the occasional Slow TV event with production values in keeping with their standards thus far. Their standards are part and parcel of the format which NRK sells through a global distributor, Digital Rights Group (DRG). In November 2013 DRG sold the format rights to California based reality TV production company, LMNO Productions. A search reveals a belief from LMNO that the format will stand out in their marketplace.

In the former UK Head of Commissioning for documentaries on BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4, Emma Willis was reported in Broadcast and The Daily Telegraph in June 2014 as being very interested in the Norwegian format and believed there was something in it for the BBC. Emma Willis left the BBC in autumn 2014, but in March 2015 the Channel Editor of BBC Four, Cassian Harrison announced a series of commissions which would form part of a Slow TV themed week in June.

The South Koreans have been very interested in Slow TV, too. A documentary team were present at the NRK Minutt for Minutt event 60 hour hymn book sing through in Trondheim in November 2014 as part of a documentary about unusual TV formats. Whether or not that translates into their own Slow TV remains to be seen - or if they just continue to enjoy what the Norwegians are doing.

In April 2014 Norway's main commercial channel, TV2, announced its 3 week long broadcast of 5 to 6 hours of helicopter flights over Norway for what appears to have been a well received show in May and June. Even with the worldwide interest in Slow TV during the month following with British Airways buying up NRK's Bergensbanen, English speaking press and media did not pick up on another Norwegian broadcaster producing a lengthy live Slow TV event. Now that a commercial broadcaster has more than dabbled in Slow TV one would expect the channel to ponder other suitable related projects as well as other non public service broadcasters to follow suit.

Russian Yuri Grymov has launched a Slow TV package of channels. "Noise, Slow and Relax - aimed at those who wish to escape from the information stream, and includes a TV for psychological relief. The channels are made in the format of "slow television", which is popular in Europe... Content channels are videos of own production and the work of authors from around the world." Source here. Given that Slow TV has only been done by Norway and France in Europe, its European popularity needs a little qualification. Sounds like it may be more akin to British based Landscape TV which plays mainly aesthetically rich landscape montages with ambient, instrumental or classical music.

On the web many videos, segments and montages describing themselves as 'Slow TV' or "Minutt for Minutt" grow on such platforms as YouTube and Vimeo. Obviously they do not have the budget and tech of a large production company or state broadcaster, but these are very much embracing the spirit of Slow TV - a desire to slow TV down to a bit less drama and easier pace. There is an alternative (additional) way to do TV, there is a desire for it and a desire to make it.

The USA will also have its first Slow TV production, "Slow Road Live", on 27th November 2015. This comes in a good year for Slow TV. Having been largely confined to Norway to date, Easter sees German Channel ARD-Alpha with a Slow TV project, in June the BBC will have a week of "BBC Four Goes Slow". The developers and masters of the format, NRK will have another Slow TV transmission - probably in June - and then the first proper development of the Norwegian format outside of Norway, in the USA in November.

Just like winter in Game of Thrones, more Slow TV is coming. 

Slow Television -The Slow TV Blog

Post Updated 1st April 2015

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