Bad news for Danish ‘Skam’ fans: Norwegian show blocked abroad

It looks like Denmark-based viewers of the Norwegian TV series 'Skam' won't be able to see the fourth season of the wildly popular show.

Bad news for Danish 'Skam' fans: Norwegian show blocked abroad
Gaaaah, how will Danish fans be able to keep up with Isak and Even? Photo: NRK
'Skam' has attracted so many Danish viewers that the Oslo school that serves as its setting now has a Danish tourist problem.
But there is bad news for those Danish fans, not to mention the programme's viewers elsewhere around the world, including in the other Nordic nations, the US and China.
NRK’s P3 channel, which airs the series both online and on traditional television, announced on Friday that a dispute with Norway’s music industry means that the channel will have to put so-called geoblockers on the programme so that it cannot be viewed outside of Norway. 
“NRK has received a request from IFPI Norge to immediately geoblock the series so that it can only be seen in Norway,” the broadcaster’s lawyer, Kari Anne Lang-Ree, said. 
IFPI Norge is the Norwegian branch of the the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the global music industry. 
The very success of ‘Skam’ is what has created the problem. NRK’s contract with IFPI is for airing the programme domestically, but also covers making it available to Norwegians abroad. That’s why it is only available with Norwegian subtitles. 
But the show’s surprise success has “challenged” the scope of the contract, according to P3’s report. 
“NRK has the right to broadcast the material to Norwegians in Norway and abroad and what the music industry is reacting to now is that there are far too many others who are watching it without NRK having paid for the international broadcast rights,” Lang-Ree said. 
In recognition of its many non-Norwegian fans, P3 also published a short message in English.
“We want to thank our international fans and followers who have embraced ‘Skam’. We are blown away by your dedication – it is something we never expected. That is why it hurts to tell you guys that due to a necessary clarification with the music right holders, ‘Skam’ will until further notice not be available outside Norway,” it said. 
“We are working hard to figure out how to solve this issue so that the fans can continue to enjoy ‘Skam’ from where they are. Thank you for your patience and dedication,” it concluded. 
The fourth season of the series is due to debut in the spring so there will be limited time for NRK and IFPI to reach a new agreement. 
No matter what happens, Danish 'Skam' fans won't be left completely in the dark. Danish broadcaster DR also airs 'Skam' but has thus far only shown the first two seasons. The third season will premiere on January 18th, both on the youth-orientated channel DR3 and online (where you can also enjoy Danish subtitles if your Norwegian is a bit rusty).
Since the programme began attracting attention from abroad, there has been a global clamouring for it to air with English subtitles, a gap that's been filled by Norwegian fans taking it upon themselves to provide translations on unofficial YouTube rips of the series. 


Why has Denmark made a children’s TV show about the ‘world’s longest penis’?

The everyday adventures of new Danish kids' TV character John Dillermand like walking the dog or going to the zoo might not look like the stuff of scandal -- if the tales didn't often revolve around his oversized penis.

Why has Denmark made a children’s TV show about the 'world's longest penis'?
An image from the first episode of 'John Dillermand'. Photo: DR/Louise Bergholt Sørensen

Even in one of the world's most progressive countries, the stories of the man with “the world's longest willy” have sparked debate about just what is appropriate for children in the programme's target audience of four- to eight-year-olds.

“We think it's important to be able to tell stories about bodies,” public broadcaster DR posted on Facebook Tuesday.

“In the series, we recognise (young children's) growing curiosity about their bodies and genitals, as well as embarrassment and pleasure in the body.”

Broadcast on kids' channel Ramasjang, the first of Dillermand's 13 episodes has already been watched 140,000 times since it was released on January 2nd.

His extra-long member is often key to the wacky situations in which he finds himself at one point floating over the city thanks to balloons tied to his tackle.

“It's a very Danish show. We have a tradition to push the limits and use humour and we think it's totally normal,” education expert Sophie Munster told AFP.

With some members of the public posting outrage online, far-right MP Morten Messerschmidt attacked the show in a Facebook post.

“I don't think looking at adult men's genitalia should be turned into something normal for children. Is this what you call public service?” he fumed.

Munster argued however: “The debate is from an adult perspective, in which the long penis is sexualised. Children have a different perspective.

“The size of the penis is exaggerated so much, children realise it's a joke.”

The series can be watched via broadcaster DR's website.

READ ALSO: Danish zoo invites kids to watch lion dissection (2015)