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Sony Pictures Television Networks has entered a joint venture with Turkish advertising company Satis Ofisi to take a majority stake in the free-to-air Planet TV channels group in Turkey, in a move that marks SPT Networks’ entry into a market with high growth prospects.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, comprises four national TV channels: Planet Pembe, which airs Turkish dramas and soaps; Planet Turk, dedicated to Turkish movies; cooking channel Planet Mutfak; and Planet Cocuk, which focuses on locally produced kiddie programming. These thematic channels, with state-of-the art design and technology, clearly rep a first step for SPT Networks toward a greater expansion.

“Turkey is an incredibly vibrant market, and we’ve been looking for the right opportunity to establish a footprint there for some time,” enthused Lyle Stewart, senior vice president, SPT Networks, CEEMA, in a statement.

“We look forward to bringing our expertise in building strong international channel brands to Planet TV to help the portfolio go from strength to strength,” he added.

Ofisi chairman Sevin Ergun boasted that Planet TV “has spearheaded themed TV channels in Turkey and filled a real gap in the free-to-air market.”

“The channels have a strong identity, which is reflected in the success we’ve already had among both viewers and advertisers. We believe that Sony Pictures Television’s strong brand values will allow us to further build on that success.”

Under the terms of the deal Satis Ofisi will continue to sell ads for the Planet TV portfolio. Financial details were not disclosed.

With almost 18 million TV households the Turkish TV market is one of the largest and fastest growing in Europe, serving an upwardly mobile local population of 76 million at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

In July last year, Discovery Communications expanded its Turkish footprint by forging a pact to buy free-to-air news and entertainment channel CNBC-e from prominent privately owned Dogus Media Group, which became Discovery’s exclusive ad sales representative in the country.

Outside the U.S., SPT Networks has 19 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies in 13 countries.