Is there anything Ikea can’t do? As well as stocking houses with flatpack furniture and quelling hunger pangs with meatballs, the iconic Swedish company is now attempting to fix Australians’ sleep woes.
Ikea will this month enter the realm of slow TV, offering up a 336-hour livestream of a cargo ship carting its goods across the oceans.
To top it off, the video will be accompanied by a voice-over from Ikea’s Kent and Sara Eriksson reading out an Ikea catalogue in what are promised to be “soothing tones”.
(Kent and Sara host the company’s sleep podcast. Side note: Ikea has a sleep podcast.)
Watching what is essentially paint drying might sound like a waste of visual space, but it’s a formula that’s taken off with surprising speed among Australian viewers.
Last year, SBS took a risk in broadcasting the journey of iconic Aussie train The Ghan as it traversed some, admittedly occasionally dull, terrain from Adelaide to Darwin.
It was called the most boring thing on television. It also brought in 750,000 viewers, making it the most-watched program on SBS for the year.
It was so popular the channel decided to rinse and repeat in January, and broadcast four slow TV train journey specials, which ran for two or three hours.
University of Melbourne psychology research fellow Nicholas Van Dam told The New Daily earlier this year that slow TV could have its benefits for viewers.
“Some may have found the program to be relaxing, similar to a walk in the forest or a long hike,” Dr Van Dam said.
“Ultimately, I suspect the popularity reflects a desire for something that is more authentic and provides more of an in-the-moment experience.”
Slow TV is characterised by longer-than-usual shots (a minimum of 30 seconds, and up to three minutes). It was made popular in Norway in the 2009, when a seven-hour train journey across the country aired on TV.
The format was so popular it was repeated almost every year, culminating in a production in 2016 of a political scientist recounting the 227-year history of the United States elections across 227 minutes.
Ikea’s slow TV channel will run on YouTube from September 12 to 26.