• Carma Levene

SBS's Slow Summer

Sometimes you just need to slow down.


With our hot summers it’s hard to maintain pace anyway, with wading through soupy humid days, and straight-up hiding in air-con from the ones over 38 degrees.


A quick trip to the shops becomes slower than Alf Stewart’s line delivery, as you walk however many miles it takes to make sure your car is in the shade.

Most of the country seems like they’re still on holiday.

It’s simply too hot to rush.


Add to that the rise of the slow movement and you’ve got a recipe for success.


SBS took an upward trending movement, coupled it with an action people want to take in the real world (sitting down for hours watching a screen) and released their first slow TV in 2018.

Initially it was polarising, as people scoffed at the idea of watching footage filmed from The Ghan’s 54-hour journey from Adelaide to Darwin.



3 straight hours, no ads, no breaks - just the middle of Australia rushing past as shot by a luxury train, “The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey” wasn’t an original concept but we certainly hadn’t seen anything like it here before.


And it was a hit. It’s estimated that 400,000 people watched The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey.


Sure, had it not been for the iconic nature of The Ghan itself, and the stunning scenery providing a visual all-you-can-eat buffet (which would have been a surprise to many who would have assumed it was all boring desert) plus people’s romantic and nostalgic fondness of train travel - I don’t think it would have been as successful. I mean, driving across the Nullarbor wouldn’t have had the same draw.


Anyway the 3-hour version was SO popular, SBS released an even slower 17 hour cut.

Amazing right? We keep being told attention spans are getting shorter, and our tolerance for long content is declining – and we all need instant gratification, yet viewers on Twitter asked how they could nominate the train for a Logie.




Obviously SBS would want to repeat their success, but how would they top The Ghan? Well, we’re about to find out if they can with their Slow Summer campaign, promising:


Slow TV every Sunday in January with four new relaxingly slow experiences - The Indian Pacific, The Kimberley Cruise, Britain's canals, and a trek from NZ's North Island down south.

We’ll have to see whether the magic formula of The Ghan can be replicated with these experiences.


Let's take a look at the current Social media campaign content promoting the Slow Summer series.


There’s this hypnotic slow-mo video ad I was served on Instagram:



I am a fan of this one.

It taps into the same enjoyment I get from watching kinetic sand or slime videos. I probably watched it 5 times through when I was first served it.


It's got a slow summery vibe...even the cat-mop is relaxed.


This one is a bit more typical, and gives a snapshot of what to expect from each slow show.



It's a perfectly normal trailer, except slowed right down and it's beautifully edited.


Then there's this one, which has been viewed 59K times in 2 days.



They've even made an event:



Interestingly teaming up with a tour provider - notably NOT a Western Australian one, even though the cruise itself takes place in our bit of Top End...is this a missed opportunity from Western Australian tour operators?


As I was writing this, SBS published this article, going all-in on Slow TV being the meditation of our generation. Here's a quote from the author:

While I'm still struggling to incorporate other mindfulness practices and varieties of meditation into my daily routine, there's something strangely reassuring about the growing popularity of Slow TV.

Wanna check these Slow Shows out for yourself? Here’s the schedule.

Make sure you tune into our upcoming Facebook and Instagram Live where Clay and I will discuss this campaign together – watch along, drop us a comment and we'll answer all your questions and let you air your thoughts...and Clay and I’ll probably disagree on something in a way that’ll make you smile and want to take sides.