Since 2015, the Norwegian teen drama SKAM has been attracting teens and adults from all over the world. Six European remakes and one American remake followed, which too, are enjoyed by the transnational cult fandom that surrounds SKAM. This goes against Straubhaar’s cultural proximity theory (1990), which argues that audiences prefer local media productions as they can recognize values and cultural references. This theory is often used to explain the success of the format trade, which is based on adapting ideas to local cultures (Waisbord, 2004). The aim of this research is to analyze why and how non-local SKAM fans consume foreign versions of the show despite having a local adaptation available to them. For this purpose, seven focus groups have been conducted with Dutch SKAM fans. This was followed by a thematic analysis. Based on the results, this research argues that these fans are aware of the cultural distance between them and non-local versions of SKAM. However, it is non-cultural values such as ‘diversity’, ‘realism’ and ‘curiosity’ that attract them to the series and its multiple non-local adaptations. The collaborative nature of fandom, in which fans supply knowledge and access to each other, is used to make the series more understandable and accessible to non-local fans. The fact that these fans consume multiple formatted versions of this TV show could indicate that we should consider a different, less localized perspective on the format trade and TV in general.

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Jolien van Keulen
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Nicky van Loon. (2022, July 25). Shame Across Borders The Transnational Appeal of the Norwegian Teen Drama SKAM. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from