There’s apparently a new phenomenon sweeping Norway:
It began with the broadcast of a train journey from the coastal city of Bergen to the capital, Oslo. The formula was simple: put a few cameras on a train and watch the scenery go by — for seven hours.
Rune Moklebust and Thomas Hellum are the brains behind the whole thing.
“Did you know where this journey would lead, how successful it would be?” asked Doane.
“No idea at all,” said Moklebust. “It’s normally one of those ideas you get late night after a couple of beers in the bar, and when you wake up the next day, Ahh, it’s not a good idea after all.”
But much to their surprise, there was a green light from their bosses at Norway’s public broadcaster NRK2.
“We actually like it being a bit strange and a bit crazy, because then it’s more fun,” said Moklebust.
Of course, there can be problems:
The non-stop transmission, entitled Reinflytting: Minutt for Minutt, was meant to culminate on April 28, with the animals swimming from the mainland to the island.
Slow TV was a surprising sensation in 2009 when NRK aired Bergensbanen minutt for minutt, a 7.5-hour train journey across the southern part of Norway, from Bergen to Oslo.
The documentary drew an impressive 1.2 million viewers when it aired.
So what is it about this that makes it so popular? Are we entering a phase where the pace of life is so fast that we literally feel the need to slow down?
Of course maybe we’re just really bored with all of our online distractions-and in fact we may be turning away from them. So where do we go, when we want to take it slow in the 21st century?
There may be more to this, as well:
In 2015, the Publishers Association found that digital content sales had fallen from £563m in 2014 to £554m, while physical book sales HAD increased from £2.74bn to £2.76bn. The Bookseller also discovered a similar result, finding in its own report about the five biggest general trade publishers in the UK – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – that their ebook sales collectively fell 2.4% in 2015.
The shift was attributed to the explosion in adult colouring books, as well as a year of high-profile fiction releases, including The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. “Readers take a pleasure in a physical book that does not translate well on to digital,” the Publishers Association report read.
But Nielsen’s survey of 2016 attributed the increase in print sales to children’s fiction and to younger generations preferring physical books to e-readers. A 2013 survey by the youth research agency Voxburner found that 62% of 16- to 24-year-olds preferred print books to ebooks. The most popular reason given was: “I like to hold the product.” While Nielsen found that 50% of all fiction sales were in ebook format, only 4% of children’s fiction was digital.
So slow down, stop and smell the roses, etc.