• Sophie Bødker Borup
4. term, Danish, Master (Master Programme)
A young man in his early twenties pulls out his smartphone and logs into his Facebook account. He scrolls through his news feed but pauses at a picture posted by the produc-tion behind the Danish TV-series Sjit Happens. The picture shows a boy whose age and physical appearance does not immediately match the statement printed on his t-shirt: "I fuck on the first date," it says. The irony is obvious. The young man smiles as he reads the text associated with the picture: "Dating. What should you NOT ask on the first date? ". The young man clicks in the comment box and writes his personal dating advice: "How's your mother? It's been a while". He proceeds to click ‘post’.
The young man's interaction spells out a special production concept that we are increasingly seeing today through the Danish TV channel TV 2 ZULU. This trend ex-plains how a receiver can actively participate in a production phase. This trend de-scribes a modern 'user involvement' or, as the production behind Sjit Happens calls it, 'crowd sourcing'. ZULU is one of TV2 DENMARK A/S's five niche channels, whose inten-tion is to ensure a broad and competitive supply in a modern media world in constant evolvement. With niche channels one must never be in doubt about what to expect, as ZULU channel manager, Sune Roland Jensen, states. As a result of this, the respective niche channels typically address to a well-defined audience segment.
In its position as a niche channel, TV 2 ZULU's intentions are not necessarily to strike a chord with every single viewer, but rather to do it with the right viewers, who in ZULU's case are people aged 15-40 years. With its self-proclaimed image as a comedy channel, ZULU explicitly uses elements from the American stand-up comedy tradition, which in combination with the classic Danish satire tradition provides the framework for its very special place in the Danish TV industry: an American-inspired canal commu-nicated and published in a Danish context.
Through a modern institution analysis, this thesis delivers an insight into the complex institution that TV 2 represents in the media reality and the niche channel TV 2 ZULU's function in that context. The thesis’ methodological approach is based on the virtual ethnographic epistemology, which, unlike the classic ethnography, is adapted to today's media reality where field research can be done within and across virtual plat-forms.
Following the methodological approach, I've sorted and categorized the mate-rial made available on Sjit Happens Facebook profile, where the production has regular-ly invited the receiver to interact with the production. I have done this in order to speci-fy what the production has sought to involve their receiver in, how they have practiced the involvement, and the extent to which the involvement is visible in the finished product.
The categorization revealed a tendency for the receiver's impact on the actual production to be limited to relatively minor conditions, such as the last name of a char-acter. This indicates that the receiver’s contribution in no way occurs with significant value to the production, suggesting that the specific intent of the requests for interac-tion may be found in other conditions. These conditions are evidently expressed through the commonality that the channel has established with their receiver, which is expressed through ZULU’s well-established channel profile: distanced self-ironic, zulu-fected recognisability.
This sense of community is the key point in convincing the receiver that you always know what you can expect when you choose ZULU. There is established a sense of community that unites the laughing receiver in an internal referential social, cultural environment that sorts out those who are not a part of the channel's true viewers: those who are too young and those who are too old to be a part of the explicit community that creates the essence of the niche channel ZULU's identity, humorous potential and unique position in the media reality.
Publication date1 Jul 2016
ID: 234150215