×

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.

Popular on Variety

“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

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Adds Deals With Six Anime Creators in Japan

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is partnering with six different Japanese creators in order to expand its slate of originals anime content. Among the deals are ones with Clamp, the female manga collective that was responsible for the “Cardcaptor Sakura” franchise. Another is with Mari Yamazaki, whose “Thermae Romae” manga was turned into two hit live-action [...]

  • Netflix Corporate Headquarters in Los Gatos

    Netflix Looks to Dispel Myths in Berlin as it Ramps Up European Production

    Netflix is looking to create more transparency and dispel some of the myths around working with the streaming giant as it ramps up its European operations, though the company’s fast-paced shooting schedules are “not for everyone,” director of international originals Rachel Eggebeen said Tuesday morning at the Berlinale Series Market. “It’s a fast pace that [...]

  • Baby Yoda featured image

    Questions Remain for Disney Plus, Hulu Amid Iger-Chapek CEO Transition

    In a surprise announcement, Bob Iger said he was stepping down as Disney’s chief exec citing “the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses” as one reason for the timing as he hands off to new CEO Bob Chapek. True, Disney earlier this month reported tremendous growth for Disney Plus, racking up 28.6 million users just [...]

  • Xumo on LG TV

    Comcast Acquires Xumo Free-Streaming Video Service

    Comcast announced that it has acquired Xumo, a free advertising-supported streaming service, from previous owners Panasonic and Meredith Corp. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast paid more than $100 million for Xumo, CNBC reported. Xumo will continue to operate as an independent business unit inside Comcast Cable, the company said. Xumo offers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content