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Still ‘Desperately seeking the audience’? Audience making in the age of media convergence (the Lilyhammer experience)

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The present article addresses ‘audience making’ in the age of media convergence, when television drama is increasingly produced for both a national and an international audience to be consumed in either linear ‘flow’ or on-demand user modes. It asks about the ways in which key industry executives producing and commissioning television drama envision its audience, as well as the degree to which new production and distribution models impact industry notions of ‘the audience’. In order to address these questions, the article analyses the production and distribution of Lilyhammer, a successful television drama produced by the production company Rubicon TV for the Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK, in collaboration with the American streaming service Netflix. The article argues that how the television industry wants to see its audience influences how it actually sees it, which, again, impacts both the production of television drama as well as the industry’s evaluation of ‘success’ for this genre.

Keywords: Lilyhammer; NRK; Netflix; audience making; media convergence; success; television drama

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Lillehammer University College

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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