Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) makes popular series available DRM-free via BitTorrent

Kategorier: English-articles & Fildeling

Lars Monsen

As one of many ways to reach people with our content we have decided to do an experiment and make one of our most popular television series available through BitTorrent.This technology makes it possible for us to make our content available in a very high quality without having to invest in large server farms and expensive bandwidth.

The very popular series called «Nordkalotten 365» has been aired on traditional TV in Norway. Over 900 000 of Norway’s 4,6 million watched the show in average, and the marketshare was close to 50%! «Nordkalotten 365» is now made available for download. In this series the experienced hiker Lars Monsen has traveled alone through the north of Scandinavia for one year. The first episode is already published and the next episodes will be made available as they are encoded.

The files are MPEG4 H.264, 1024×576 25fps, 3 Mbit/s. No DRM.

So far the experiment has been a huge success. After one day roughly 8000 people have downloaded the torrent file. Because of the limited statistics reporting from the Amazon S3 tracker we are using we don’t have exact numbers from the tracker itself. Taking into account that Norway is a small country with only 4,5 million people this number is above expectations. The file has been out there for one day, and at this point only the first episode of the series is available. The bittorrent technology seems to work especially well for completely legal and high quality downloads. People happily seed the file and the download speeds achieved are reported to several megabits/s. The whole 600 MB file downloading in minutes or even seconds for the people with fast connections.

Miro Screenshot Monsen

The files can be downloaded with the use of any bittorrent client, but the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation are promoting the free and open source Miro player as the most user friendly and easy way to get hold of the television series.

The reactions from the audience have been extremely positive. More than a hundred comments on the article announcing the experiment (Norwegian) express solid gratitude and people that are impressed by the move.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation will keep on with experiments like these and try to make more content available through this technology in addition to the more traditional channels of streaming, podcasts and DVD sales.

Direct link to the RSS-feed with the torrents: nordkalotten365.rss

Links to the torrens:

NB! New version of episode 1. With better quality and hopefully with no errors in the file.
Episode 1: Nordkalotten365.E01.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent

Episode 2: Nordkalotten365.E02.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 3: Nordkalotten365.E03.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 4: Nordkalotten365.E04.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 5: Nordkalotten365.E05.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 6: Nordkalotten365.E06.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 7: Nordkalotten365.E07.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent
Episode 8: Nordkalotten365.E08.1024×576.H264.NRK.mp4.torrent

That’s all episodes. Download and enjoy. And please seed the file to support this experiment.

Editorial note: This is an English version of the Norwegian article we published yesterday, as a convenience for international readers. See also our other English article; «How to get a bigger screen on Nokia N95 than iPhone».

If you’re curious about NRKbeta, here’s our English about-page.

125 kommentarer

    • Lex Ein (svar til Stevko)

      I enjoyed Episode 3 very much, thanks to the English subtitles file available here! The download was very fast, and the video quality was excellent (it should be, at 700MB for 28 minutes).

    • Are you not confusing the two series? March 8 posting is about 'Der ingen skulle tru…', while this thread is about 'Nordkalotten365'. I am hoping for subtitles to Nordkalotten365.

    • Lex Ein (svar til Morten)

      I have reported my several comments as erroneous and not applicable to this series. I apologize for the stupidity.

  1. […] Maybe because it’s in Norwegian, it’s unlikely to become a huge hit worldwide, but Norwegian Broadcasting has just started to distribute on of its more successful shows on BitTorrent, without any DRM and in very high quality: As one of many ways to reach people with our content we have decided to do an experiment and make one of our most popular television series available through BitTorrent.This technology makes it possible for us to make our content available in a very high quality without having to invest in large server farms and expensive bandwidth. […]

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  2. […] Me gusta leer este tipo de noticias, ver gente que experimenta y no se obceca en lo pasado, en técnicas que no funcionan. La cadena noruega NRK está haciendo un experimento que consiste en publicar en BitTorrent una de sus series más populares (50% cuota de pantalla – 900.000 personas viéndola sobre 4,6 millones). La publican en alta calidad (MPEG4 H.264, 1024×576 25fps) y sin DRM. Totalmente libre para que cualquiera la pueda ver cuando y donde quiera. La serie se llama “Nordkalotten 365“, y cuenta la experiencia de Lars Monsen, un caminante que ha viajado sólo por el norte de Escandinavia durante un año. […]

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  3. […] I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while, but now I have no excuse; NRK even translated their announcement to English just for you international readers. The deal is, NRK, Norway’s biggest television station (and the license-financed one), has released a popular series through Bittorrent as well as broadcasting it in the conventional way. I don’t actually like the series, so won’t bother to download it, but I certainly welcome the spread of new, DRM-free ways of being able to access television content we pay for, and having more legitimate uses of Bittorrent is splendid. Another reason this open distribution is important is simply access: the web TV thing NRK also offers works poorly on my Mac. […]

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  4. Hi there,

    I found your experiement featured in some german news sites (unfortunately without direkt links) and googled this page.

    Thank you very much for these episodes.

    Unfortunately without subtitles one looses a lot. Could you please comment on the question wether you would dispise or support home made subtitles to be provided by some volunteers who might understand norwegian.

    I think the world would really like to see more of your beatyful country and therefor download this production – even more so, if they could understand you talking … ;D


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  5. I think this is a brilliant experiment. I’m Irish and the lack of subtitles has not been a problem. One gets the sense of what he is saying, and as it is largely a one-man-show, there is little dialog anyway. The scenery, atmosphere, and the host’s talent all come through perfectly. As far as subbing is concerned, I think it would be sufficient to have an English translation as a document with some sort of (very simple) scene index. I hope the Irish Language broadcaster sees this and considers doing something similar with our home produced documentaries.

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  6. It will be freaking awesome if it have the subtitles. Does the Norwegian TV have the English subtitle? If so, then why not put it here in the miro player in a very simple way. And where did you get the subtitle from? England? we, license fee payer’s money paid for it at the first place! I don’t watch anything without subtitles except the football. I hate the BBC iplayer cos they failed to provide the subtitles since last summer and their programmers are useless!

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  7. […] It is good to see that broadcasters slowly start to realize that they can benefit from sharing their content via BitTorrent. Last month Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) made the popular TV-show “Nordkalotten 365″ available in a DRM-less format. This experiment turned out to be a huge success, while the distribution costs were close to zero. […]

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  8. Please make the programs available with NORWEGIAN subtitles. NRK has so many programs with ttv also at Nett-TV, and Tekst-TV is also online available. But page 777 is offline and the only program in (mainly) Norwegian language with Norwegian subtitles is Migrapolis.
    It would make it so much easier to follow the programs and to learn the language.

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  9. Still no fan subs?
    Was someone going to make subs for episode one?
    I can make some if no one else are going to.
    They wont be perfect but better then nothing, right?
    Well I’m guessing most of the English people that wanted subs are long gone by now.
    But I can make subs for one episode and then we can see if anyone downloads them.
    The Norwegian subs would help because I am having a hard time hearing a few of the words.

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  10. […] Some weeks ago NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting put up one of the most popular shows in Norway on bittorrent. For free, with no DRM, no country restrictions. It has been a huge success and so far about 100 000 episodes have been downloaded by our readers! After being featured on boingboing and digg, Eirik Solheim of NRK was interviewed by the German website Tagesschau: If you want control of your content you need to lock it down in a vault and never show it to anyone. We gave up control of our content the day we started broadcasting. For years our most popular content have been available on BitTorrent and on sites like YouTube anyway. DRM doesn’t work. The only way to control your content is to be the best provider of it. If people want it on YouTube then you should publish it on YouTube or in a system that give the same experience. If people want it on BitTorrent then you should provide that. If you do it right people will come to your official publish point and you’ll end up with more control. […]

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  11. […] The CBC is the first North American broadcaster to take this step, though not the first in the world.  A Norwegian broadcaster (NRK) took this step earlier this year, with great success.  Eirik Solheim, one of the masterminds of the Norwegian project, was interviewed by a German news site, and the interview is very interesting.  One major problem with distributing shows using this method is third party contracts, which makes adopting BitTorrent distribution something that only new shows are likely to do. […]

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  12. […] Sono in prima fila alcune emittenti dell’estremo nord dell’emisfero. A gennaio la televisione di Stato norvegese Nrk ha diffuso attraverso la rete BitTorrent gli episodi della serie Nordkalotten 365: in poco tempo 90mila persone hanno scaricato le puntate. Un record che in una nazione di 4,6 milioni di persone ha sorpreso anche i vertici della Nrk. E pochi giorni fa, in Canada, la puntata di Canada’s next Prime minister è andata prima in onda in televisione, e poche ore dopo è stata distribuita online su BitTorrent: dieci ragazzi si sfidano per proporre idee in grado di migliorare il loro Paese. E il pubblico è stato invitato a scaricare, condividere e…divertirsi le prove dei giovani in gara. La maggior parte delle major e delle emittenti, comunque, è ancora piuttosto diffidente dal web. Se da un lato gli utenti dimostrano di apprezzare i filmati liberi disponibili in rete, dall’altro i grandi produttori sono alla ricerca di un modello che garantisca gli incassi. Che, però, non è ancora arrivato. […]

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  13. […] KundenfreundlichkeitGuter Kundenservice wird für Unternehmen immer wichtiger. Wohin können sich Kunden wenden, wenn sie Probleme mit Produkten haben oder mit Dienstleistungen nicht zufrieden sind? Leider wird gerade beim Kundenservice oft gespart: Firmen antworten nicht auf Mails, reagieren nicht auf Kundenbeschwerden und lassen Kunden am Telefon ewig warten. Wenn man endlich durchgestellt wird, merkt man oft schnell, dass die Kompetenz der Servicemitarbeiter zu wünschen übrig lässt. […]

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  14. […] Und neben anderen Versuchen, werden bestimmte Sendungen auch über das Peer-to-Peer-Protokoll Bittorrent verbreitet. Dafür mussten bestimmte rechtliche Vorraussetzungen geschaffen werden, aber die NRKbeta-Macher bezeichnen die Bereitstellung von Inhalten per Bittorrent als einen großen Erfolg. Some weeks ago NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting put up one of the most popular shows in Norway on bittorrent. For free, with no DRM, no country restrictions. It has been a huge success and so far about 100 000 episodes have been downloaded by our readers! After being featured on boingboing and digg, Eirik Solheim of NRK was interviewed by the German website Tagesschau. (Quelle) […]

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  15. Bryan Peterson

    I’m in America and a friend of mine from Norway linked me to this and I am very impressed with both the quality of the show and distribution method. I only wish I either spoke Norwegian or had some fansubs to go off of. Are there any other shows that we might expect to see torrented in the future?

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  16. I’m English and live in England but this seems good of NRK; to use BitTorrent technology to allow for distribution like this. I’ve watched Episode 1 so far and am impressed with the quality. Somebody did a good job there.

    My problem is I don’t know what’s being said as I don’t understand Norwegian. 🙂 I see some subtitles for Episode 1, but they only seem to cover the first 10 minutes of the programme(?).

    Is there a link to a subtitle repository somewhere?

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  17. […] Als je echt wilt reltrappen kun je de boel nog met bijvoorbeeld ffmpeg2theora in een vrij en open formaat omzetten en verspreiden via BitTorrent. Dat is niet legaal. Het is ook niet legaal om dit (mbv wat scripts) met alle afleveringen van alles dat op te verkrijgen is te doen. Niet legaal, maar wel technisch haalbaar, en zo’n onuitwisbare middelvinger van een terabyte is een statement zonder weerga dat wij het handhavingsprobleem van iemand anders niet op ons bordje willen krijgen, onderwijl vreugde verspreidend onder iedereen die ook in de bus een aflevering van ‘t een of ander wil bekijken. Klinkt dat als imagine-all-the-people-dromerij? De Noorse publieke omroep stelt zelf programma’s beschikbaar in een open formaat, via BitTorre… […]

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  18. even though i know no Norwegian i will try and translate the subs into English myself but if anyone has already done please let me know, the subs as stated above under the the March 8 2009 posting are for other programmes. Thanks

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  19. @Lex Ein: Amazing job with subtitles!

    Just want to mention that putting the series on YouTube is a violation of our copyright. Even though we use bittorrent for distribution of the series, we still have the copyright. It’s not Creative Commons, so sharing the series on other websites is actually not allowed.

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  20. This is an old article, but either way, the topic is interesting:

    If anyone want subtitles in their language, I suggest using a subtitle translator which are using the Google Translate API. That way you will get a not perfect – but perfectly good translation into your language. A Google search gives some results which may be interesting for some of you.

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  21. Tommy Olausson

    Tackar NRK! Tänk om SVT kunde göra så här också med visa serier dom producerar… Ni på NRK är ett föredöme, älskar många serier och program som ni producerar! Tackar än en gång till för att man kan ladda ner denna trevliga äventyrsserie med Lars Monsen.

    Med varma hälsningar från Göteborg / Sverige


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  22. Mattis Sehlstedt

    Hey, i’m trying to download the episodes via the links posted on this page with a torrent client, but it doesn’t seem to work. The torrents are dead it seems. So please, if you’ve any solution, i’d gladly appreciate it. Thanks.

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