In Norway, VG recently launched a daily entertainment news show called VG Rampelys (“limelight”). We have created a pink and sparkly format with the purpose to inform, educate, and entertain teenage girls, in particular.
It has been four months since launching, and VG Rampelys has reached more than 1.4 million monthly unique users on Snapchat, with the majority being girls aged 13 to 24. On VG’s Web site, which is the largest news site in Norway, the entertainment show has generated record high engagement amoung younger and female audiences.
Multiple Snap shows
Over the last few years, VG has gained valuable insights in how to create content for a young audience. In the fall of 2019, we launched our multi-functional news product VG Nyheter (“news”) as a Snap show twice a day. This is an efficient, one-minute news show that informs people about the latest and most important news.
With the launch of VG Rampelys in May 2020, VG now has a total of three daily news formats and multiple entertainment shows. We used our experiences from our other video products to develop a new one.
Here are five insights into the challenges we faced and what we learned:
1. Creating engaging content
Many of the stories this hard-to-reach group wants to consume are happening on their favourite platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube. This can be a challenge for those of us who make content, since many of us are much older than our audience.
With this in mind, VG went on social media to ask our teenage followers several questions: Which celebrities are you into? Who do you want to hear the latest news about? This resulted in a list of more than 100 celebrity names, some of which were completely unknown to many of us on the news team.
2. “How do you do, fellow kids?”
It was crucial not to end up like Steve Buscemi with the meme-able quote from the show 30 Rock: “How do you do, fellow kids?” How do you avoid that when you are creating content for people much younger than yourself?
We are extremely conscious about this and spend a lot of time developing our scripts and fine-tuning the performance. Our reporters use common, everyday language, and we strive to be more casual than traditional news anchors. We never underestimate our audience and speak in a straightforward, direct way looking into the camera, which is what they are used on social media. We keep it short, effective, and true to our own brand.
3. Diversifying the look
The pink and sparkly wrapping was created to really separate VG Rampelys from our news show, VG Nyheter. We use the same templates developed in-house in Final Cut, but we changed the look and colour.
Red has always been VG’s recognisable news colour, while pink has a tradition in VG to signify entertainment. To make the difference between the two shows really obvious, we added a lot of playful sparkles.
4. Explainer videos
Our audience loves explainer videos, and the format enables us to experiment with our storytelling. We approach these the same way we would give context and background information on a terror attack or about any hard news stories.
We explain happenings in the world of social media, scandals, and celebrities. We have done stories on #FreeBritney, the rapper 6ix9ne, and controversies on TikTok. A deep dive into ongoing news stories pays off in terms of engagement, record high ratings, and completion rate.
5. Journalism with impact
Some might assume that entertainment news is shallow and not important.
But girl power stories such as the most promising rappers, diversity (LGBT+), the Black Lives Matter movement, how much influencers really earn, and TikTok trends accused of being racist have proven that there is a lot of inspirational and impactful journalism in modern entertainment news.
Breaking news is at the core of VGTV, in addition to the wide variety of stories we cover. By turning entertainment news into ongoing daily coverage for young people, we are forced to actively look at and prioritise these types of stories, which we likely would not prioritise otherwise.
With VG Rampelys, we have filled a gap and attracted a group that is traditionally very hard to reach. We are learning a lot along the way, and it has turned out to be very insightful.