×

OTT Brings Creative Freedoms to Turkish TV Market

Make way for a new wave of Turkish dramas, with more compressed storylines and greater edge.

Though free TV still dominates in Turkey, where OTT is just a complement to pay-TV — which has a 27.5% penetration — two innovative high-end dramas, “Masum” (Innocent) and “Phi,” produced respectively for local streaming services BluTV and Puhu TV, will be launched as the big Turkish TV novelty at MipTV.

“Innocent,” a 50-minute crimer about a retired cop forced to contend with a murder involving his son as the culprit, bowed in January as Turkey’s first online streaming series and the first original on BluTV, which is owned by Dogan, the largest media group in Turkey. It’s been a hit.

Phi” is based on a trio of local bestsellers about a womanizing celebrity shrink and pothead who falls in love with his neighbor. The hour-long show, which is shot in 4K, combines romance, drama and thriller elements. It will launch in late March on Puhu TV, a digital platform owned by Dogus Media Group.

In both shows episodes are far shorter than standard Turkish longforms, which tend to run over two hours. That in itself is a major gamechanger. Also, similar to the impact of cable TV shows in the U.S., they can be bolder in content.

“Everyone in Turkey — the writers, the actors, the producers, the directors — hate making two- hour series,” says “Phi” producer Pelin Distas.

“In terms of creativity, linear TV can only give you so much,” says BluTV CEO and founder Aydin Dogan Yalcindag. “There is just so much more potential with OTT.” He adds that since “Masum,” he has been flooded with scripts and ideas from Turkish screenwriters and directors.

BluTV is also looking to expand outside Turkey as a global OTT for Turkish TV shows, according to Ozge Bulut Marasli, who heads Dogan TV Holding’s international corporate strategy.
Meanwhile Netflix, which launched soft in Turkey in 2016, is ramping up its local service. “They now realize the potential of the Turkish market,” says IHS Markit analyst Constantinos Papavassilopoulos. Their impact “will be interesting to watch.”

More Digital

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content