Case Dekkarifestivaali

Organising an event virtually ended up increasing the number of participants tenfold

“Dekkarifestivaali” is organised by Tammi, which is part of Werner Söderström Ltd. Founded in 1943, Tammi is one of Finland's largest book publishers. Redland, in collaboration with Tammi, produced the first Dekkarifestivaali as a virtual event in the fall of 2020.

Starting point

The festival, which has been held since 2015, is eagerly awaited by fans of detective novels. In 2019, it gathered nearly 500 visitors to Helsinki’s Paasitorni. In 2020, the festival was overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it impossible to hold a physical event. It was possible organisers would have to cancel the festivities completely.

Redland contacted programme director Outi Mäkinen and suggested that the festival be organised as a virtual event. There was a great place to start from. The festival already had a dedicated audience who had participated in the paid event in previous years. The decision was nonetheless made to organise a virtual event with admission free of charge, with the goal being to attract 500 participants based on the number of attendees the previous year.

Solution

There is always a bit of magic at literary events, as they provide writers and their readers with an opportunity to meet. The goal of the creative design was to determine how this magical experience could be conveyed to fans of detective novels virtually.

The virtual aspect meant the event would have the opportunity to reach new audiences, too. Holding the event online would make it easy for people to take part in the event from all over Finland, and even from abroad. The live stream could be viewed through various digital channels, on the festival’s own website, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Redland co-produced the event with Tammi. The division of labour was clear. The content and framework of the event came from Tammi. The event was filmed as a live, multi-camera TV broadcast with Redland partner Bright. This meant we were able to make use of Bright’s studio and TV-level camera equipment and staff to direct the technical production. Redland produced pre-recorded interviews with the writers, which were shown as recordings during the program.

Results

The virtual version of Dekkarifestivaali exceeded all expectations! Over the course of the four-hour broadcast, the event managed to attract over 5,200 viewers across all channels.

There were around 1,600 unique viewers through the web browser. Of these, only about 150 stopped streaming in between, which indicated a particularly high level of public interest. On social media, the live broadcast reached around 3,600 people. On YouTube, the event was mostly viewed after the fact, but the audience had reached over 580 at the end of the year.

In 2019, about 500 detective novel fans took part in Dekkarifestivaali. When organised virtually, the festival was able to reach an audience ten times that size. On social media channels, the virtual event program received praise from fans, many of whom would also have been willing to pay for participation.

The recording of the virtual event can be viewed on YouTube >> Dekkarifestivaali

“When creating a new event concept for Dekkarifestivaali, I felt it was important to find a partner whose quality I could rely on. Visitors in previous years had praised the festival not only for its program offerings, but also especially for the high-quality execution of the event itself. The setting looks great, the sound quality is superb and everything stays on schedule. I wanted to be sure that attendees at the virtual Dekkarifestivaali would be able to enjoy a high-quality event, even if it would all be a little bit different this time around. This was absolutely the case, thanks to Redland and Bright.”

Outi Mäkinen
Program Director at Dekkarifestivaali and Publishing Director at Tammi

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