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UHA viewing figures rise

Promote Shetland's broadcast of Lerwick's Up Helly Aa attracted again a worldwide audience - Photo: Alex Mazurov/Promote Shetland

TUESDAY’s live broadcast of the Lerwick Up Helly Aa procession saw thousands of people once again tuning in across the world, with more viewers watching than last year.

There were 193,000 views of Promote Shetland’s broadcast on Facebook, while over 16,000 peopled tuned in on uphellyaa.com from the US, Australia, Germany and Norway.

The broadcast throughout the day was hosted by Tom Morton, Davie Gardner and former jarl Peter Malcolmson.

There were numerous cameras taking in the event, but the poor weather put paid to drones which were due to give a bird’s eye view of the proceedings for the first time.

At one point a gust of wind knocked over a radio link by 90 degrees, with staff having to rectify the problem as the show continued live.

The footage was shared across the world by a number of media organisations, from local outlets like Shetland News to the Associated Press and US network ABC.

Promote Shetland’s Andy Steven said the amount of time users watched the broadcast was also up on last year.

“It has been a huge amount of work, and I must pay tribute to our team of young volunteers, who worked in extremely difficult weather conditions to bring us some spectacular pictures,” he said.

“As well as more viewers, the time they spent online has increased, up slightly to on average 51 minutes compared to 48 last year. Also we had people from 89 countries watching, up from last year’s 78.”

He added that Promote Shetland’s other visual streams, which include music festivals and webcams, have been watched over five million times in the last year.

“Our Up Helly Aa coverage is just one element in our campaign to stream positive Shetland images across the world, and that includes music, knitting and food videos, as well as our popular webcams, which have given folk a chance to see our wonderful coastal scenery, wildlife and the Northern Lights,” Steven said.

“From Up Helly Aa last year to the end of this one, our servers have delivered over 5.5 million streams worldwide. I think that’s a fantastic achievement.”