VGTV is now the largest Web TV in Norway, surpassing linear niche channels in terms of coverage. 

Current changes in the industry open up a window of opportunity, Jo Christian Oterhals, publisher of Schibsted’s VGTV, told 200 delegates at the INMA European Conference in Berlin last week.

Norwegians are in the forefront of tech adoption: 36% of them are digital heavy users. Schibsted believes mobile is not the second screen to TV. Instead, mobile is the first screen, and TV is the second screen to mobile. In all, 2.3 million people are reached by VGTV (grown from 2 million in 2010). 

TV business will be subject to the same disruptive forces as newspapers have been, according to Oterhals: “TV of the future will be less controlled by owners of lines and hardware and more controlled by whoever serves the right content to the right screens. It doesn’t matter anymore who controls the cable. It’s content that is important.”

The future of news has always been live. On average, VGTV covers two live events each day. Sometimes those are big, sometimes they are small events: “You must remember though that VGTV is not a TV channel but an integrated part of the Web site,” Oterhals said.

VGTV covers simultaneous news events, which is a big advantage. At the time of Boston bombing in the United States, VG readers/viewers were able to follow different stories with different information at the same time.

If publishers can’t cover live events (even events like a Justin Bieber concert), they shouldn’t complain that their readers go away, Oterhals said. News media publishers must be able to create the content for all demographics.

The future of Web-based TV is happening now and needs multi-purpose, multi-location reporters who can do the unexpected and set a world record doing so, he said.

As an example, Oterhals mentioned a 30-hour-long interview prepared for VGTV by Norwegian crime writer Hans Olav Lahlum, who actually did set a world record for the online broadcast chat: