When public service drama travels: Production funding models and the schisms involved

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This paper will investigate how and to what extent the Danish public service broadcaster DR employs external funding for its drama productions. This investigation is carried out in order to discuss the schisms involved when a public service broadcaster – whose traditional obligations arguably pertain to the national sphere – becomes a player in the international market for television content and, as a consequence, partly reliant on international funding through either co-productions, canned programming export revenues, pre-sale or format sale.
DR’s drama productions such as The Killing (Forbrydelsen) and The Bridge (Broen) have in recent years experienced an unprecedented export success. Especially The Killing’s relative success with the British audience in its original version on BBC Four and its sale as a format to the USA, where it was adapted for the cable network AMC, marked an interesting shift. It became apparent that DR drama in particular – and Danish television drama in general – had something to offer even to the two most impenetrable television markets in the world.
This success, however, has not happened over-night but is a result of a conscious and two-decade long strategy on behalf of DR’s Drama Division to open up to international markets and to win more international prizes, all of which has been achieved. The success has also lead to an unprecedented interest in DR’s drama productions and paved the way for alternative and external ways of funding productions such as canned programme export revenues, co-productions, pre-sale and format sale.
We therefore believe it is relevant to explore how and to what extent DR makes use of external funding for its drama productions in order to discuss potential advantages and disadvantages in doing so for a public service broadcaster, whose primary remit – to serve the national interest – may suffer as a result.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventMaking Television in the 21st Century: ECREA - Aahus Universitet, Institut for Æstetik og Kommunikation, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 24 Oct 201326 Oct 2013


ConferenceMaking Television in the 21st Century
LocationAahus Universitet, Institut for Æstetik og Kommunikation

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