The Netflix of naps shows that we are tired of everything
Imagine a video of hours of a train journey. More than 5 hours of travel from Madrid to Bilbao in which you only see the path that the train travels on the tracks. Imagine now that it is broadcast on television and that it is an audience success. In Norway, this idea triumphed long ago on public television and materialized in the Slow TV concept. Basically, the opposite of what the massive consumption of television supposes. A marathon of hours watching the same thing (without shouting, scares, or anything that disturbs the calm) can be the height of boredom or the best way to relax. The most interesting thing is that it is more successful than it seems. We already have up to the Netflix of siesta, Napflix, a project of origin, how could it be otherwise, Spanish.
The idea was born in 2016 to escape from a technology completely opposed to the concept of Slow TV. An obsession with being constantly connected to social networks and the news on the platforms. Napflix is just the opposite and in a compilation of YouTube videos it goes from “using that technology to connect with others to using it to connect with you,” says Victor Gutiérrez de Tena, co-founder of the platform, to Hipertextual.
A video of a tropical storm, a documentary about koalas, or simply a fan moving from right to left. The Napflix catalog includes 110 videos from different categories, such as Sports, Documentaries, Music or ASMR for the perfect nap. Surely the latter is the most important phenomenon in recent years, collecting millions of visits around the world.
Youtubers who make sounds that followers describe as a mental orgasm and that has become a tool to relax or sleep. When Napflix was born in 2016, ASMR had not yet reached its peak but Gutiérrez de Tena, together with the other founder Francesc Bonet, saw that the idea had a future.
They started collecting videos that evoke napping after eating, although Napflix is described as a tool to relax. “It's television but instead of seeing someone arguing, it's an ocean. Technology becomes an element of rest“, explains Víctor Gutiérrez de Tena.
“We needed a platform for the opposite, to help you relax. There is a social pressure to update your networks, to see what the other publishes. The pandemic has also made us more need to be connected with everyone. This platform it is precisely to disconnect from technology. It is even poetic.”
Víctor Gutiérrez de Tena Napflix videos come from YouTube and are collected for the platform by the two partners. The ad revenue from those videos and views go to the creator of that content, not Napflix. Since they started, they did not think about having an economic income. In recent years they have even had opportunities such as the offer of an airline that wanted to include the platform in its in-flight entertainment platform. Also by a brand of sleep medication. But Gutierrez de Tena and Bonet have turned down offers to monetize their “Siesta Netflix.”
In the end, the two publicists by profession have their jobs outside of Napflix and manage the project together. The next step is to continue as they are, but also to start creating more own content on their YouTube channel. All under his banner of relaxation and Slow TV. “We have gained 5,000 subscribers without publishing anything and now we are going to promote the channel with our own videos,” says Gutiérrez de Tena.
For the time being, the project continues to gain followers, especially in India and the United Arab Emirates, where it receives the largest number of visits. In total, about 6 million people have visited the page where relaxation is the ultimate goal. The siesta, its maximum expression.
Norway, the kings of 'Slow TV'
In Norway, the concept of Slow TV reached public television and the NRK channel dedicated part of its schedule to a 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Honefoss. The show, broadcast in 2009, was the most watched with 1.2 million people watching the ride; and in social networks it did not go unnoticed either. For the chain it was a bet that worked and that has been replicated in other chains at an international level.
Also in Spain. In a newly released 2019, the regional television of Aragon decided to broadcast on January 1 at 9:30 p.m., prime time, a program called “El viaje”. Four hours of program, the time that separates Zaragoza from Canfranc, in which there are no dialogues, explanations, or music. Only the noise of the train running along the tracks. The phenomenon was similar to that of Norway and, at least for a day, what some would call soporific became the most watched in the region.
An article in El País explained the bewilderment of the viewers: “The reactions on the networks went from bewilderment and jokes to intrigue and the confession that many had surrendered to the hypnotic -and narcotic- power of the tracks. What the hell was that? Contemporary art? An experiment in social control? “, read the piece. All this confusion was translated into a trending topic and a share that exceeded that of the general channels.
Not only the train trip works for siesta
Other countries such as the United Kingdom, France or Hong Kong have replicated the idea of Norway on their televisions. In most cases, train travel is the protagonist of a video of many hours with little action and a lot of relaxation. In Norway, the famous landmark train ride was the first in a series of videos within the Slow TV genre on other modes of transport such as boat. 134 hours from Bergen to Kirkenes recorded with 11 cameras. In total, more than two and a half million people, almost half of Norway's population, watched the live broadcast in 2011. The video also set a world record as the longest documentary broadcast on live television in the world.
Not only train or boat trips, wood has also had its moment of splendor within Slow TV. An article in The New York Times referred to the love of a part of the Norwegian population for this material. So much so that NRK had the great idea to put together a video of a fireplace. It can remind us of the YouTube videos that are put in the background in some houses. The idea is the same, but in this case it has the special component that is not a loop recording; instead, the NRK chimney burned down overnight. A chain worker added fresh wood when needed.
A spectator named niesa36 said at the time for the Dagbladet newspaper that he couldn't go to bed because he was too excited watching the fire in the fireplace. Just as he was about to leave, they put on more firewood and he couldn't get away from the television. “I'm not being ironic. For some reason, this broadcast was very relaxing and very exciting at the same time,” he said.
'Slow TV' triumphs against all odds
This viewer has described what millions of people feel when watching videos within the so-called Slow TV. It is precisely this radical difference with respect to daily life of social networks and continuous stimuli that is the key to its success. ASMR is for many the way to relax and abstract (even a sleeping pill) and it has become so fashionable in recent years that there are videos for all tastes.
Maybe it's just a fad that will be buried in the abyss of the internet. But now, content within the Slow TV genre can be a vindication that sometimes we need a break. Which would explain that a content that is objectively the antithesis of everything that would attract the attention of a viewer has more followers than it would fit. There is no morbidity, no murders, no love, no fights, no sex; because there are no dialogues.
In the midst of this phenomenon, siestas live something like a moment of glory. Something that has always existed in Spain and that suddenly even companies like Google discovered and created their siesta rooms –the reality is that it is a strategy so that workers do not leave the campus but that We're going to let it go this time.
The issue is that naps are on the crest of the wave and that to reconcile that restful sleep after eating we don't want to see perhaps the fashion series or the Oscar-nominated movie. Better to put something that if I miss half, I wake up and be at the same point.
The Peli de Tarde account has commented on it on more than one occasion, referring to the telefilms on Antena 3 or Spanish Television on the weekend at 4:00 p.m. Because one can fall asleep with the first movie of the afternoon, wake up with the second one already begin and that everything continues to make sense. Naps will continue to be a very important factor in our lives and that there is a platform identified as the Netflix of siestas is the best proof of this.