Producing For an International Audience

Karen Young - The Disney Channel
Jake Macfarlane's picture Jake Macfarlane 2 years 7 months ago

The Disney Channel company is famous for its family-friendly content that reaches a

global audience. Many of Disney's TV shows, both live action and cartoons, are often produced

in the US and distributed internationally. The Disney Channel itself is popular across the globe,

with different regional channels including the UK, Israel, Canada and more. Many regional

productions find success in other countries. In the summer of 2016, the network adapted one of

Disney Channel Israel's series, North Star, for their channels in the UK, Canada and the United



The Lodge is a serialized musical, mystery teen drama that follows Skye, a young city

girl who moves to rural Northern Ireland to work at her family's local hotel. The series follows

her struggles to fit in with the other teens that work at the hotel while trying to keep. The pilot is

full of tropes found in any teen drama. The first episode is also quick to hint at love square

between our protagonist Skye, Ben, Sean and Danielle. It's basically a love square between our

main character, a boy she didn't get along with, the popular guy and the mean girl. By the

second episode, we learn about Noah and Kaylee, two childhood friends who seem to have a

"secret" crush on each other. There is an ongoing mystery teased through these episodes that

adds an additional arc in the show.

The Lodge felt a bit too cheesy and predictable to me, but it's also possible that it's

because I'm not the target demographic for the show. Despite that, I still understand the

potential appeal for an international audience. The show itself follows a genre and a format that

has a worldwide appeal for kids and tweens-alike. Following the success of Disney Channel

original movies High School Musical and Camp Rock, it's no wonder that the network adapted


1 "Disney Channel Adapts Localized Programming for Worldwide Audience." The Walt Disney

Company. N.p., 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 31 Jan. 2017. adapts-localized- programming-worldwide-



this show for an international audience. I think Canadian tweens would find the tropes in the

show to feel very familiar: which can easily become a good thing or a bad one. The teen-on-

teen drama is layered with the usual teen-and- parent conflicts. The tropes make the show

accessible to a new audience that may not be unfamiliar with content from the U.K.

A negative side to using these familiar teen tropes is that it becomes too cliched and

predictable, as it did for me. By attempting to make the show universally accessible, the show

didn't feel unique to me.

That being said, I think the show did their best to reflect their target demographic. The

show itself featured a lot of facetiming best friends, taking selfies to commemorate fun moments

and using slang like "boyf," (which is short for "boyfriend.") The pilot revealed the variety of

hobbies and interests their characters had: ranging from a variety of outdoor activities, singing

to obsessively trying to become a reality TV star. The show's inclusion of different outdoor

activities and familiar themes was meant to appeal to audience members, wherever they lived.

The show was commissioned in hopes of following the success of Disney Channel's

globally-distributed series such as Argentina's Violetta and Italy's Alex & Co. 2 The Lodge

become the highest-rated show for tween girls amongst all U.K's children's channel when it first

premiered in the summer of 2016. So far, The Lodge's use of social media in their storylines has

helped with the show's popularity in the U.K. During the premiere, the show was the number . It

is currently the most popular show on 1 As the Disney Channel explores

new shows with an international target audience in mind, I hope that they strive for more ways

to tell interesting and new stories.


2 Wagmeister, Elizabeth. "Musical Mystery Series 'The Lodge' to Be Distributed Globally by Disney

Channel." Variety. N.p., 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. the-lodge- series-1201846877/