When Skam (2015-2017) premiered in Norway, Norwegian viewers took to the series with a frenzy, setting both streaming records for the NRK and Norwegian digital engagement records. The series also found success globally through fan distribution of clips with fan-made subtitles (fansubs) of the original Norwegian series. In 2018, however, the production team launched remakes of the series in seven different countries, the last of which premiered on Facebook Watch in the United States under the helm of the Idol franchise’s Simon Fuller. Skam and its subsequent remakes present interesting questions regarding traditional perceptions of piracy, as both the remakes and the original Norwegian series have a steady digital following, despite industrial preconceptions about piracy and loss of profitability. Ultimately, its unique reception comes from its active fanbase, and the way in which each remake utilizes its digital medium to ensure the inability to pirate the experience of watching the series in real-time. The Skam franchise serves as an important addition to the conversation surrounding one-way media flows, traditional narratives surrounding piracy equating loss in profit, and our understanding of contraflows within the onset of digital transnational distribution of media.
Keywords: transnational digital distribution, formats, remakes, fansubbing, piracy, prosumers