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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

TV2 celebrates 20 years

Norway’s national commercial television station TV2 launched several days of celebrations over the weekend, to mark its first 20 years on the air. The Bergen-based channel is widely credited with dramatically changing the nature of television in Norway.

TV2 started up on September 5, 1992 and finally gave some serious competition to state-financed Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), which at that time had only limited hours of mostly serious and stiff evening programming but dominated the local market. TV2 had to rely on advertising income instead of government funding, and thus had to appeal to viewers instead of simply being able to expect they’d tune in.

That led to innovations that were long-established in other countries, not least the US, but largely unheard of in Norway, including the presence of two anchors on the nightly news program, humor in newscasts, women delivering weather reports and far more sports reporting than ever before.

NRK officials are among the first to admit that TV2 forced the state broadcaster, which often was viewed as arrogant, to improve and launch innovations itself to retain viewers. Now both TV2 and NRK offer far more programming at all hours of the day and night, both in the areas of news, debate and entertainment.

TV2 hosted a large party for employees and guests, broadcast a special live program from Grieghallen in Bergen, unleashed TV2 celebrities into crowds gathered in Bergen to greet them, and were running special features on air all week. NRK was among those broadcasting their congratulations.

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