From Skam to wtFOCK? How we found the recipe for success for Sputnik Media and Telenet

From Skam to wtFOCK? How we found the recipe for success for Sputnik Media and Telenet


Norway, 2015. The new online youth series ‘Skam’ is launched. Skam follows the daily life of teenagers and covers topics like friendship, school, love, mental health, and identity. The series uses an innovative storytelling format, to say the least. Every day, they upload a new real-time video on the broadcaster’s website. By the end of the week, all of these updates are combined into one episode. Skam broke all viewership records, received a lot of praise in Norway… and became hugely popular in other countries. So when Telenet and Sputnik Media wanted to make a Flemish remake called ‘wtFOCK’, it was up to Allyens to make sure this version would be a big success too. 

With a little bit of help from our research

One of the reasons Skam is so popular is because it has a very authentic depiction of the lives of Generation Z-ers. And yeah, we’re young, too. We know how important it is to see things you can actually recognize and relate to. To truly discover what’s on the minds of 15- to 17-year olds these days, we conducted 6 months of research. We did 50 in-depth interviews with teenagers, asking them everything about friendship, family, communication, language, style, school, music, media, love, sex, relationships, spare time, going out, food, money, religion, and how they look at the future. 

Intersectional representation for millennials 

The series needed to realistically represent today’s world. So we made sure that we had a good mixture of respondents and that asked minorities specific questions. Such as how gay teenagers feel about who needs to take the first step in a relationship or how teenagers with a headscarf feel about wearing one. This way we got a trustworthy insight into Generation Z culture in general, as well as into specific minorities. This helped Sputnik Media to stay away from stereotypical representation and exaggerated situations. For instance – and spoiler alert – you won’t see a teen pregnancy, but you will see a girl who visits her doctor after she had unprotected sex. A situation that will not only be more relatable for a lot of teenagers but also teaches them something. 

Binge, binge, binge!

wtFOCK currently has 4 seasons each of which centers around a main character and theme. And if we do say so ourselves, the series is very well made, credible, and authentic – thanks to our research, of course. So, you should check it out. There’s a reason it’s one of the most successful online series in Belgium – ever.

How successful you ask? Well, the first season attracted 100.000 unique viewers, and the audience grew to 200.000 viewers in the first weeks of the second season. And the third season? A whopping 450.000 viewers! Needless to say, we’re super happy we were part of this project!

Written by

Carlien Coppieters

Carlien is seriously involved with finding the right words. A fairly essential quality, as a copywriter. But when it comes to describing herself, chances are she’ll get stuck at ‘professional dad joke-maker’. Thank goodness she gets to write about other things at Allyens!
16 September 2020

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