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TV4 Group reaps online rewards from cross-platform initiatives

Carola Lundell

Carola Lundell

Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4 Group has seen a 111% increase in online video streams after adding cross-platform features to Sweden’s version of the Idol franchise this year.

Speaking at the Future TV Advertising Forum in London yesterday, TV4 Group’s head of new business, Carola Lundell, said Swedish Idol was an example of how TV4 is looking to engage viewers across platforms and innovate in terms of format.

The competition show, which is currently in its tenth season in Sweden, included two new web-focused features this year. Viewers were encouraged to go online to find out which contestants had got through to the finals, with linear broadcasts ending on a cliff-hanger. Hopefuls were also encouraged to upload audition tapes to the TV4 website, as well as audition in person, with two entrants selected from the web to appear in the finals.

“We had 7.1 million started streams based on the audition going online,” said Lundell – a digital traffic increase of 111%. TV4 also received some 2,200 online audition entries online, which generated 1.5 million started playback streams on its TV4 Play VoD service, she revealed.

“What this generated for us is a lot of user-generated content on our online platform for the first time,” said Lundell.

“Obviously this also led to a lot of engagement in social media. From a commercial perspective this means that we had a lot of inventory to sell ads on, but I’m also convinced that there’s more to do in terms of finding new ways to actually involve advertisers in this type of initiative.”

In another case-study, Lundell said that, in Finland, TV4 sister channel MTV managed to increase advertising revenues by some 40% for its version of the Strictly Come Dancing format this year after adding a Twitter sponsor for the show (chocolate maker Fazer) and encouraging more online engagement. This included audience Tweets to reveal the identity of the guest judge that would appear on the following week’s show.

“One figure that came out of this collaboration which just ended on Sunday is a Twitter reach of almost 448,000 – you need to bear in mind that there are 500,000 Twitter users in Finland in total,” said Lundell.

Speaking more generally about TV4 Group’s online efforts, Lundell said that the firm is using services like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, as well as podcasts, to reach viewers in online different windows. She also claimed that 55% of its viewers now use a second screen while watching TV – primarily smartphones.

“An important thing to remember is that this is very much unchartered territory for us. We don’t have all the answers. It’s very important that we have an iterative approach to the stuff that we’re doing online – meaning that we test things, we see where that leads, we then learn from that and then try to integrate new ways of working on things,” said Lundell

“We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re sure that this approach is going to take us forwards.”

Tags: Sweden, TV4