In a move to strengthen Nordic culture and secure rights to the Best Nordic shows against steep competition from streaming services, DR, NRK, SVT, RÚV and YLE have launched yesterday the ‘Nordic 12’ initiative.

The vision for the five Nordic public broadcasters’ joint initiative was already outlined last October, therefore yesterday’s announcement at DR Byen in Copenhagen comes as a follow-up and clear road map.

‘Nordic 12’ stands for the following:

  • 12 Nordic TV dramas of the highest quality available each year.
    The line-up for the first year announced yesterday includes dramas and comedies, consisting of: DR’s Liberty, Follow the Money 3, Ride Upon the Storm 2; NRK’s Home Ground 1&2 (second season in production,) Twin (in production.), YLE’s Blind Donna, Hooked S1, RÚV’s Manners, and SVT’s Bonus Family 3, The Days the Flowers Blossom and Summer 68 (all in production). 
  • 12 months window guaranteed for the public broadcasters on their linear and digital services. As soon as the TV dramas will be finalized, they will be available on the public stations’ streaming services over the next year, and several of them will also air on linear television. Some will also have cross-Nordic premieres, as stated yesterday by Gunilla Ohls, Head of Strategy at YLE. 
  • Tighter cooperation between the partners. The goal is to allow for quicker decision-making on projects with a co-production potential, to increase the number of Nordic co-productions and to secure the works of the best Nordic talents (writers, directors, actors).

Commenting on the Nordic 12 initiative, DR’s General Director Marie Rørbye Rønn said: “Drama is the obvious way to reach the Nordic users with content that is about our shared culture and identity, that can bind the Nordic countries across languages and generations. When we, as public service providers, stand together in the Nordics, we simply stand stronger and offer a better offer to the viewers.”

The public broadcasters’ joint initiative comes at a time of severe pressure from SVOD services and rapid shift in viewers’ habits from linear to digital. According to a recent report by Kagan, Netflix is the leader among SVOD players in the Nordics, with an estimated 4.2 million subscribers at the end of 2017 (+27% from 2016), followed by MTG Group’s Nordic service Viaplay, with around 1.7 million (+19), and HBO Nordic with 1.3 million (+24%). Netflix had a 58% share across the Nordics, compared to Viaplay’s 24% and HBO Nordic’s 18% market share.

Speaking to, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, Director General at the Norwegian broadcasting corporation said there is no way the Nordic public broadcasters can come near Netflix’s annual TV drama budget of around NOK 50 billion, as together, their drama investment amounts to about NOK 1 billion. “However when it comes to strengthening our Nordic culture and language, we are naturally much stronger than Netflix, and we believe that by gathering our forces, we can stand even stronger”, he asserted.

A recent report commissioned by Nordisk Film & TV Fond confirmed that TV drama is an important venue for cultural encounters in the Nordics. Some series achieve strong ratings across borders, such as The Bridge season 3 (3.5m average viewers), and on-line viewing of drama on the broadcasters' streaming services is significantly growing. Click here for the  Distribution And Viewing Of Television Series In The Nordic Countries - Report