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Pia Majbritt Jensen

The transnational appeal of Danish TV series

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Over the last five years, the near global reach of Danish TV drama has made Denmark the darling of the international TV industry and made Danish broadcasters and producers benefit both financially and status-wise. This is not just unprecedented. It is also interesting from an academic point of view because it challenges existing theories on global media geography, import/export of audio-visual content, transnational media reception and the importance of transnational TV viewing. According to these theories, non-Anglophone audio-visual content rarely exports outside its geo-linguistic region – in Denmark’s case the Nordic region – because audiences in other regions would be too far removed culturally and linguistically, and hence feel alienated Similarly, theories on the consumption of audio-visual content have neglected transnational, ‘non-resident’, viewing – i.e. when audiences engage with audio-visual content removed from their own (cultural) context as would be the case with international audiences engaging with Danish series – and instead emphasized the importance of geo-linguistic, national or ‘resident’ viewing.

Even in cases when transnational viewing has been theorized, explanations for audience engagement have been found in the national, ethnic and cultural identities of the audiences; or in the transparency and polysemy of especially US media texts and the highly commercialized and competitive structure of US broadcasting. Accordingly, Denmark – with its miniscule language, public service broadcasting dominance and no recent history of world colonization or immigration – should remain an entirely insignificant player in the worldwide exchange of audio-visual content, and the case of Denmark’s rise to fame internationally is therefore particularly interesting methodologically as well as theoretically.

So, why and how do transnational audiences engage with audiovisual content from a country in the periphery of global content flows? Based on audience research undertaken in Germany and the UK from December 2014 until March 2015, the authors will present their first findings on the transnational appeal and reception of the Danish series.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year19 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2015
EventMedia Engagement International Conference - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 19 Mar 2015 → …


ConferenceMedia Engagement International Conference
Period19/03/2015 → …

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