‘Skam’ (Shame) is Norway’s biggest online hit ever, drawing nearly 200,000 viewers to each episode. The series, which follows the lives of teenaged girls in Oslo, can also count Princesses Mette-Marit and PM Erna Solberg among its fans.
The series takes on topics that resonate with teens, including bullying and sex and was even praised by the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos) for an episode that tackled date rape.
'Skam' has also raked in a number of prestigious awards but it seems unlikely that it will ever become a global hit. NRK said this week that its hopes of selling the series abroad seem unlikely, in large part because of the excessive drinking shown in the show.
“The responses we are getting are that the alcohol use is very dominant. They [the teens in the show] aren’t just a little drunk, they are really drunk,” Claudia Schmitt told NRK.
Schmitt’s German company Betafilm has been tasked with selling NRK programmes to foreign buyers and said that the programme’s “innovative and progressive” structure is also proving a challenge.
'Skam’ clips are published online every day and then put together into a full episode that airs every Friday both online and on the youth-oriented channel NRK3.
“The other countries need time to understand this broadcasting method,” Schmitt said.
NRK’s Ole Hedemann, who heads up the broadcaster’s development unit, said foreign buyers simply aren’t willing to take risks.
“There are many who cling tightly to the way it used to be,” he told NRK.
Hedemann said he is still hopeful that media companies in the other open-minded Nordic countries will purchase the show.
“It will probably be make it to the Nordic countries, I believe. That's where we have the greatest prevalence of smartphones and tablets. Give it three years,” he said.
The original trailer for 'Skam' can be seen below, while the English-subtitled trailer that NRK is using to shop the show globally can be seen here. Full episodes can be found on the series website.