ROME — Next year’s Discop Istanbul TV content market has been cancelled by organizer Basic Lead because of “ongoing geopolitical tensions” and security concerns in the region.
“Turkey is an important strategic territory for television content business, and Istanbul is a great destination, but ongoing geopolitical tensions have had a significant negative impact on this year’s attendance,” Basic Lead General Manager Patrick Zuchowicki said in a low-key announcement via a newsletter.
He lamented that “four months into the preparations of next year’s edition, we still don’t have a clear indication that the overall perception of these tensions and security issues will improve in the following months.”
“Under such circumstances, it is impossible for our organization to deliver a high-quality, efficient market that the industry expects from Basic Lead,” Zuchowicki concluded.
He added that Basic Lead “plans to position itself for a return to Istanbul in 2018.”
The decision to scrap next year’s Discop Istanbul follows a series of major terrorist attacks over the past 12 months in Turkey that have resulted in more than 200 deaths in Istanbul and Ankara, the country’s capital.
In the most recent incident, a car bomb ripped through central Istanbul on June 7 during rush hour, reportedly killing 11 people and wounding 36 more. The unclaimed attack has been blamed on Kurdish militants by President Tayyip Erdogan.
Terrorism of various types is causing a double-digit drop in tourism in Turkey
Meanwhile, Erdogan has been aggressively cracking down on the media, closing down TV channels and arresting journalists who don’t toe his conservative party line.
Despite this backdrop, several big U.S. TV companies, such as A+E, SPT, and Discovery, have recently launched channels in Turkey.
News of the cancellation of next year’s Discop Istanbul comes after Basic Lead earlier this month announced the launch of the Discop Dubai TV content market, which will target countries from the Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf and the Asian subcontinent, including India. The inaugural three-day edition of Discop Dubai will run January 29-31, 2017.
Discop Istanbul has in past years catered to the MENA region, besides Turkey and Israel.
Los Angeles-based Basic Lead also runs branded Discop marts for the global industry in Africa and Eastern Europe.