Iltalehti grows video advertising market with quality Web TV content

By Heikki Siljamäki


Helsinki, Finland


By Joonas Partanen


Helsinki, Finland


Iltalehti’s Web TV channel, IL-TV, had already established itself as a source for short news clips and viral content with a significant following. Two years ago, we raised our targets with a goal to grow our audience and video advertising revenue significantly.

We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done in Web TV: a talk show with the quality of a television production that is also agile in an online environment with the ability to be split into many interesting clips and headlines.

Susanne Päivärinta (right) interviews celebrity doctor and TV personality Pippa Laukka.
Susanne Päivärinta (right) interviews celebrity doctor and TV personality Pippa Laukka.

To achieve this goal, Iltalehti hired well-known Finnish journalist and TV host Susanne Päivärinta from the public broadcasting company Yle. Her signature talk show, Sensuroimaton Päivärinta (“Uncensored Päivärinta”) launched on IL-TV with a new episode featuring two guests every Wednesday night. Each 30-minute episode also can be watched on demand anytime. Clips of the show are published from Wednesday all the way to the weekend.

As the show title suggests, we want to be uncensored. We ask questions some traditional TV shows might be too shy to ask. We touch on themes others might not want to go into. 

We invite celebrities and political leaders, but we ask them something different, go deeper, and show something about them that people haven’t seen yet. 

We also have lesser-known guests with strong stories to tell. We’ve covered, for example, sex work, doping in bodybuilding, child abuse in the church, cosmetic plastic surgeries, terrorism, and so on.

Susanne’s characteristic and engaging style of interviewing is a main ingredient in the show’s success. She has a lot of fans who appreciate the style where no questions are avoided and guests are given time to talk. We are not only asking, we are also listening.

Sensuroimaton Päivärinta has been a major success for us. Right from the first episode, it has gathered hundreds of thousands video starts every week. The best episodes get around 500,000 video starts the week they are first aired when clips are included in the count. These are excellent figures, given the Finnish market of fewer than 6 million.

What is completely different compared to talk shows in traditional television is that Sensuroimaton Päivärinta attracts a younger audience. More than 50% of viewers are under 44 years old. The largest age bracket is 25- to 34-year-old viewers. The show is watched by both men and women, with female viewers being a slight majority.

As our flagship programme, Sensuroimaton Päivärinta has been a key initiative to drive IL-TV’s audience and revenue growth. In 2018, Iltalehti’s video advertising revenue grew by more than 40% compared to the previous year.

The show is loved not only by the general public but also by critics. Sensuroimaton Päivärinta has been voted among the top three talk shows in Finland two years in a row (2017 and 2018) in the annual Kultainen Venla awards gala, where members of the television academy vote for best productions in different categories. Sensuroimaton Päivärinta was also the first Web TV show to be voted to top 3 in the awards. 

The show has been a great addition to the Iltalehti brand. It communicates quality journalism with interesting people and important topics, and it is entertaining. These are things that we like to people to think about when they think of Iltalehti.

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