Dagbladet invests in Web TV, dominates live coverage

By Alexandra Beverfjord


Oslo, Norway


Do you want to read a text that describes a flood that is taking place, or do you want to see a live broadcast of the enormous amount of water in full motion?

Do you want to read the minutes of an election result, or do you want to see and hear the intoxication of victory of the winning party’s premises?

TV director Mads A. Andersen has helped lead the team.
TV director Mads A. Andersen has helped lead the team.

An increasing number of people prefer Web TV as a format for news updates. Web TV is often the best form of communication when it comes to covering issues dealing with action, confrontation, or emotions. And Web TV is absolutely crucial when it comes to live coverage of major news events. We believe the trend of people preferring Web TV over text will intensify in the years to come.

Multiply traffic

Over the last two years, Dagbladet, Norway’s second-largest digital newspaper, made a big investment in Web TV under the leadership of the TV director at Aller Media, Mads A. Andersen, and Dagbladet TV’s editor, Bjørn Carlsen. They built the new TV desk right in the heart of the newspaper’s news operation. During this period, both the number of started streams and revenues have multiplied.

Dagbladet TV’s editor Bjørn Carlsen has been pivotal in Dagbladet TV’s exponential growth.
Dagbladet TV’s editor Bjørn Carlsen has been pivotal in Dagbladet TV’s exponential growth.

The majority of the Web TV traffic comes from clips, but we are also seeing a sharp growth in the use of live broadcasts. For major news events, the actual live broadcast is usually 25,000-35,000 views. Along the way, dramatic videos (such as the Beirut explosion) are also made as separate clips, which can get 50,000-100,000 views. With others, the total number of video views for one event or piece of news can be anywhere between 100,000 and 150,000 in one day.

Web TV first

Dagbladet TV is a small, efficient organisation. Part of the reason Dagbladet succeeds so well on Web TV is that the newspaper established a “TV first” philosophy across Dagbladet, which means many of the newspaper’s reporters are able to report live on TV.

Two weeks ago, about 200 young people illegally entered an old refuge in the mountains of Oslo to arrange a so-called “cave rave party.” Several of the party participants were poisoned with carbon monoxide and had to be carried out from the cave unconscious. The first live pictures and an interview with the fire brigade’s operations manager were sent to us from the scene early in the morning by a regular “writing” reporter who used his iPhone to both film and conduct interviews. This built a very good foundation for further television coverage of the drama.

It all culminated a couple of days later when we were allowed entry inside the cave to document where the party had been held. Our team went live starting outside the cave’s opening and continued streaming in the cave as long as there was coverage.

The Dagbladet TV staff helps ensure they are the first to report on breaking news.
The Dagbladet TV staff helps ensure they are the first to report on breaking news.

In the studio, we had a presenter who talked to the team and told our viewers that “we broadcast as long as we can,” and that the signal would probably disappear a bit inside the cave. This built a good amount of drama, and since we were also the only ones who actually did this live, we got very good numbers on this broadcast.

Efficient technology

Dagbladet TV has also built an extremely efficient breaking news studio, which enables the newspaper to start a full-scale live broadcast in a few seconds. The vision behind it is to have a studio that is rigged so you do not have to spend any time on anything other than telling the news. We will not spend time touching microphones, turning on lights, or sending a link to those who control the front of Dagbladet. The only thing we spend time on is pressing one button, which starts everything.

Dagbladet TV is not a news channel with regular broadcasts throughout the day, but a modern Web TV organisation that broadcasts when major news actually happens. To achieve this, the organisation depends on speed and flexibility.

Every breaking news event and everything that needs coverage “right now” is a measurement tool for us. We will be first with the latest news — and quite often that is exactly what we are.

Dagbladet TV has far fewer resources than its three closest competitors, but we are still able to move faster and better at covering major news events because we have a distinct “everyone knows everything” attitude and a culture of helping each other across departmental boundaries.

About Alexandra Beverfjord

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