‘Song’ dominance remains the same


STOCKHOLM — Local programming for the Eurovision Song Contest dominates TV schedules in the Nordic region throughout February and March. What used to be considered a slightly corny event has turned into an audience-happy industry for pubcasters like Sweden’s SVT, Norway’s NRK and Finland’s YLE.

In Sweden, the local Eurovision final attracted a 45% audience share — following five weeks of semifinals at more than 30% each.

Local entertainment remains hot in Scandinavia. Danish drama series like “Anna Pihl” (TV2) and “Nikolaj and Julie” (DR) travel well within the region, while Swedish games such as SVT’s “Pa sparet,” TV4’s “Let’s Dance” and drama series “Salton” (SVT) attract big auds at home.

SVT head of acquisition Per Ogren also points out that certain British dramas, like “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries,” are more successful than their American counterparts.

Still, U.S. imports are an indispensable tool in the competition between Scandi broadcasters. Warners’ “Without a Trace” is one of SVT’s great successes, while the same studio’s “Nip/Tuck” has worked better than expected in the past year.

“Veronica Mars” and “Supernatural,” both targeted at a young audience, have underperformed despite having “very devoted viewers,” Ogren says.

At Mip, Ogren will be scrambling for comedies that will appeal to a broad audience. His company recently bought a classic German drama — Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s newly restored “Berlin-Alexanderplatz.”

Clara Scherman, acquisition exec at Sweden’s TV4, will be on a tear at Mip. With seven channels and a VOD service, TV4 needs hot shows of all genres. Among last year’s successes are “Lost,” “House” and “Anna Pihl,” while “Martha” turned out to be a disappointment.