Malin Ströman (SVT)

While our video-on-demand service SVT Play is popular among over 45s, younger adults in Sweden, who consume even more online video – in general they don’t even have access to broadcast channels – say it’s Netflix, YouTube and Instagram that drive their consumption. For teenagers, it’s mainly TikTok. Still, SVT retains a strong belief in its own platforms for the future.

Though it may seem that young adults are addicted to their smartphones, and to social media, they report mostly consuming video from streaming services and YouTube, and that the majority is consumed on a TV screen – 56% compared to 25% on a mobile. For teenagers the ratio is reversed, but we’ve observed that these mobile-hungry teenagers, growing up and entering the world of work, have less time for their phones. They then seek a sense of community relaxing in front of the big screen in their first home of their own.

So, we use TikTok and Instagram as the most effective ways to connect with young users on their smartphones, reminding them of SVT’s offer, compared to others. But we still have some things to figure out: why would these young users choose SVT Play instead of Netflix and YouTube? What can we offer that will better answer their needs?

In general, all streaming services seem to serve the desire to watch something with a partner. A high proportion of all users, all ages, mention this as one reason for watching the various platforms. SVT wants to strengthen this further to create a sense of community. Competing with TikTok and Instagram is challenging, but maybe we can come up with formulas that work.

Stay updated and learn

YouTube seems to answer the greatest diversity of needs: scrolling through content that doesn’t require anything from you, having fun, having something playing in the background, or just watching for short stretches. But also, to stay updated in areas that interest you and to learn new things. These last two are value propositions that we, as a public service company, would like to own.

Besides catching up with something missed on television (SVT1, SVT2 or our kids’ channel SVT Barn), another often- mentioned reason for watching SVT Play is to stay updated! Indeed, for 15–29-year-olds this is the strongest reason to choose SVT Play. So, we’re now exploring this offer further for younger users – not those who know the news shows from television, but those who need reliable news sources, knowledge and facts to make sense of the world, to participate in conversations with friends and to be able to make the best choices.

The value proposition is about always offering content to find and consume according to a certain need. We’re running tests with short news content, lowering the threshold towards generating interest in longer stories. We see that it’s easier to start something short and, with interest triggered, continue to learn more about the subject. This responds to the users’ habits of speed, indulging in a special interest, and short attention spans.

In other experiments – with live ‘slow TV’, short live formats, children’s formats, news video clips and more – we’re exploring how interactions in the video player, with likes, chats, personal settings or just to see other parallel viewers, increase the probability of a user returning sooner and/or more frequently. A strong value proposition sees users returning at least once per week and, when it comes to being updated, preferably much more often.

These tests require rapid content production combined with development of components for navigation, exposure and interactivity. A/B testing tools are required, and analysts using the live data for insights to determine the subsequent tests. The formats transform in tempo, length and look, even sometimes for the next publication, while others may require a few weeks before being transformed to something completely different based on what we’ve learned.


All data provided by Ungdomsbarometern and internal research, user behaviour mapping and agile experiments. This article first appeared in issue 56 of EBU tech-i magazine.


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