New Nordic agreement will result in more Nordic drama

Public service providers in the Nordic region have agreed on a shared strategy for producing more Nordic drama.

Icelandic drama series Prisoners – one of the recent shows that have helped to put Nordic TV drama on the global map

First published in Nordvision’s Annual Report for 2017-2018.

At a meeting in Stockholm in October 2017, the Director Generals of DR, NRK, RUV, SVT and Yle agreed on a new, shared vision and strategy for generating more high quality Nordic drama. Recent years have seen the Nordic public service providers gain a worldwide reputation for their outstanding drama productions.

Quality Nordic drama, clearly rooted in a local context and with high ambitions for public service, is now among the most distinctive features of Nordic public service media.

As all five providers embark on this commitment to collaborate on drama productions, the result will be even more powerful home-grown quality drama for viewers across the Nordic region.

“A distinct focus on drama which somehow reflects Nordic culture, reality and identity is a natural fit for our public service mission.” 
– Marit af Björkesten, Chair of Nordvision 2016-2018


Tougher competition in an international market

With the constant growth of international streaming services, American fiction is more accessible than ever, and for Nordic public service drama to hold its own in this market, it needs an improved competitive position for both TV and streaming.

To ensure this, the public service providers of the five Nordic countries have agreed to a new, shared strategy for increased co-production of drama content. Their ambition is to improve the volume as well as the quality of Nordic drama – not least as part of the streaming services offered by the public service stations. Through this new strategy, the collaboration among the Nordic players will become significantly stronger. 

It will result in a planned increase in the number of Nordic co-productions, a shared vision for drama content and a more coordinated collaboration to make swift decisions on new content with co-production potential.

Maria Rørbye Rønn, Director General of DR, is thrilled with this agreement.

“Nordic drama has to compete with the best international fiction there is. Our new, co-Nordic strategy and the increase in Nordic collaboration are important steps towards an even stronger offering of public service drama than what we provide today. This will give rise to drama series which will one day become part of our shared cultural heritage in the Nordic region,” she says.

“This particular collaboration on Nordic drama will make us stronger in an ever more international market. Quite simply, we are in a stronger position as public service providers when we join forces across the Nordic region,” Maria Rørbye Rønn concludes. 

”We have a rich history of working together and a truly fundamental trust in each other’s ability to produce world-class drama,” 
– Thor Gjermund Eriksen, Secretary General NR


A promise to our users

Marit af Björkesten, director at Yle and Chair of Nordvision, is also pleased that this agreement has been reached.

“A distinct focus on drama which somehow reflects Nordic culture, reality and identity is a natural fit for our public service mission. This extends a sincere and recognizable promise to our users, which sets us apart from other suppliers of content,” she says.

The Nordic Director Generals believe that the stronger collaboration on drama has all-round advantages.

Director General of Swedish broadcaster SVT, Hanna Stjärne, says:

“Considering what the Nordic public service providers have delivered in recent years in terms of quality drama, we are convinced that a strengthening of our collaboration will benefit all our audiences in the Nordic region.”

Supporting this view is Director General of NRK, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, who points to the amount of trust underpinning an agreement on this scale.

“A close, long term partnership such as this is built on trust. We have a rich history of working together and a truly fundamental trust in each other’s ability to produce world-class drama,” he says. 

For Magnús Geir Þórðarson, Director General of RUV, an important aim is to ensure that the Nordic public service providers are recognized as the hotbed of Nordic drama at its very best.

The Nordvision partnership works together to strengthen public service media in the Nordic region. The Nordic partners co-produce, exchange programmes, co-develop formats and share knowledge, generating more than 4,500 TV programmes annually and setting new records for this cooperation year on year.

In the drama category alone, the Nordic cooperation resulted in a total of 317 episodes in 2017. Examples of current drama series are Broen (SVT and DR), Herrens Veje(DR), Monster (NRK), Vår tid är nu (SVT), The Independence Day Ball (Yle) and Prisoners (RUV).