ROME – A major spat has broken out in Turkey’s young but proliferating pay-TV market pitting leading pay-TV platform D-Smart and SinemaTV, which is affiliated with one of Turkey’s biggest theatrical distributors, Medyavizyon.
After five years during which SinemaTV channels beamed Hollywood blockbusters to Turkish auds via D-Smart, which is a subsidiary of top Turkish media conglomerate Dogan Media Group, D-Smart in January did not reup.
Instead, having meanwhile inked deals with Hollywood studios including Sony, Universal, Disney and MGM, D-Smart launched their own in-house channels.
This prompted SinemaTV to file a complaint to Turkish media regulator RTUK (Radio and Television Supreme Council).
The watchdog recently issued a ruling warning D-Smart to apply “non-discriminatory conditions” for channels to access the country’s satellite pay-TV platforms, according to SinemaTV. It also ruled that D-Smart customers can rescind their contracts with no penalties, according to Sinema TV.
When it was pulled, SinemaTV channels had 430,000 subs on the D-Smart platform, thousands of which complained when the channel was pulled, they say.
A Sinema TV rep said they are now hoping to get back on D-Smart as a result of the ruling. They are hailing it as a game changer for Turkish pay-TV that will bring the country’s market more in line with the U.K. and the U.S. – where, for example, DirectTV airs HBO and Cinemax, besides its own channels – paving the way for rival providers to co-exist on a single platform and giving Turkish viewers more choice.
D-Smart instead is reportedly stating that their customers are happy with their new in-house movie channels and that they had a right not to reup their deal with SinemaTV.
SinemaTV, which is part of the Oflaz Media Group, is currently distributing its channels on cable platform Teledunya and IPTV services Tivibu and Turkcell.