HLN’s live video stream attracts 60 million starts in 6 months

By Geert Dewaele

DPG Media

Antwerp, Belgium

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In 2019, when COVID-19 was still a strange combination of letters, the team at HLN.be, the largest news platform of Belgium, visited our colleagues at Expressen in Stockholm. We had heard they developed some interesting video concepts and wanted to know more.

When we entered the newsroom, we were impressed by the emphasis on live video production. Everything that happened also happened live on video. It felt a bit like CNN in Scandinavia.

We took the inspiring ideas back to Belgium, knowing a copy would never be as good as the original. So, we sat down and thought about how we could come up with a concept that would really fit with the digital experience.

HLN LIVE provides breaking news all the time.
HLN LIVE provides breaking news all the time.

We did not want to become another news television broadcaster squeezing images onto a mobile phone. This needed to start from the digital customer’s needs. One need was clear: Customers not only wanted to read what was happening now, they also wanted to watch it as it happened. No wrap-ups, no bulletins. It’s the here and now that counts.

March 2020: The birth of HLN LIVE

We launched HLN LIVE in the spring of this year, just as our country went into lockdown and the need for news and information reached an unprecedented climax.

HLN LIVE launched just as Belgium went into lockdown.
HLN LIVE launched just as Belgium went into lockdown.

The goal was to deliver news as fast as possible via (live) video. The concept was and still is very simple: This is a stream of video stories and live video, without any schedule, rhythm, or repetitive structure. The video stream switches rapidly from breaking news to the next piece of breaking news — from the live broadcast of a press conference on new coronavirus measures to the first reactions after the verdict of an important trial. When you start the stream, you can be sure you’ll see the most important breaking news of the moment.

September 2020: Breaking news on our live set

But we were still missing something. News can’t always be live-streamed. Sometimes there are no press conferences or video images.

HLN LIVE-set features commentary with breaking news.
HLN LIVE-set features commentary with breaking news.

That’s why we launched the HLN LIVE-set. This presented the news, but it only went live on breaking news with interviews with decisionmakers or journalists who could explain what was happening.

The results

Since our launch, we have welcomed a growing number of viewers. HLN LIVE has had more than 60 million video starts since its launch in March. More importantly, since HLN LIVE can only be watched when you log in (for free) on our platform, it has also given an incredible boost to our number of logged-in users.

That is also good news for our advertisers, who can target their messages better. Of course, we cannot reveal too many details, but the investment in HLN LIVE is an investment in the future of our growth.

About Geert Dewaele

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