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Record 2.7 million watch Independence Day ball broadcast

Some 2.7 million people, half the total populace in Finland, watched live coverage of the Independence Day on TV Tuesday evening. 2016 marked the second year that the all-time viewer record was broken.

Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

Yle’s live broadcast of the annual Independence Day ball hosted by the Finnish President in Helsinki attracted more TV watchers yesterday than ever before in history. Some 2.7 million people tuned in, along with 250,000 watches on Yle’s Areena video streaming service.

Yle programme director Marko Krapu is excited about the new milestone.

“The figures are grand. They’re a testament to a long tradition of TV viewing and well-produced programmes. I’m really proud of everyone who participated in the project, whose professionalism could stand up to international standards any time.”

The before and after shows also attracted a huge audience, with the pre-festivities show watched by 1.4 million and the after-party followed by 1.3 million TV viewers.

Second year the record is broken

Last year's coverage of the ball was the last time the record was broken. The 2015 live broadcast gathered an audience of 2.6 million people. 

“Changes to last year were very moderate, but we did do a lot of work on tone of voice – in other words, how we wanted to talk about things. We emphasized keeping things light and relaxed, and coming together as a people. Our extended before-party show on TV1 made more of an effort to get out to other provinces. We want to expand this concept even further next year,” said Krapu. 

He says Yle has great plans for covering next year’s 100-year anniversary of independence.

“Next year will be amazing. Hopefully, we Finns will take advantage of the hundreds of different events transpiring around the country all year. Yle is involved with many of the centennial events, and of course the Independence Day ceremonies themselves. They will be bigger and better than they have ever been.” 

Yesterday’s Yle broadcasts are available to watch on Yle’s Areena video streaming service for 30 days after they were first aired.

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