“Murdoch to invest in Turkish media” – Sabah

“Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan met with Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the United States media giant News Corp. during his heavy schedule yesterday.

During the meeting which lasted an hour and ten minutes, Murdoch shared with Erdoğan his intentions to invest in the nation and stated: “We want to expand our programs in Turkey. We see Turkey as an important country from a media standpoint. We hope to expand our investments here.” Murdoch was accompanied by former parliamentarian Engin Güner for the meeting.

Upon his arrival, Murdoch was carrying a book entitled, “The Empty Ouarter”, which he later gave to Prime Minister Erdogan as a gift.

English writer John Bridger Philby wrote the book which describes the Rub ‘al Khali desert in Arabian peninsula. Philby was a British colonial intelligence officer during World War I, yet died a Muslim in Lebanon in 1960.

Prime Minister Erdoğan also welcomed Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi. Prior to Erdoğan’s arrival to the Prime Ministry, 20 security detail were on duty to search the area with dogs following a noise bomb that went off prior.”

Source : Sabah

“Star turn” – C21 media

Cem Aydin. Source : C21 Media

“Following its purchase of Star TV last year, Turkey’s Dogus Media Group is focusing on rebuilding the mainstream channel with original and international productions. CEO Cem Aydin spoke to Michael Pickard.

When its plans to add a home-grown mainstream network to its portfolio of thematic channels were stifled by the economic crisis in 2009, Turkey’s Dogus Media Group was forced to put its ambitions on hold.

Its desire to expand remained, however, and the group moved its focus from launching a network to acquiring an existing one. In line with this new strategy, in October 2011, Dogus paid Turkish conglomerate Dogan Media Group US$327m for its entertainment network Star TV.

Dogan originally bought Star for US$306.5m in 2005 after previous owner Uzan Media folded in 2003 with debts of US$6bn. Star joined Dogus’s stable of seven other channels, which run alongside websites, radio stations, magazines and a publishing imprint. The business is part of the wider Dogus Group of 122 companies, operating in sectors as diverse as banking, construction, real estate and energy.

Explaining the Star purchase, Cem Aydin, CEO of Dogus Media Group, says the firm had become a “pioneer” in thematic channels and wanted to try its hand in a “new and more competitive market” – mainstream TV.

“We worked on a project named TV-en for almost two years,” he says. “But unfortunately, due to the financial turmoil, the project was postponed for an indefinite period. In 2011, when new advertising opportunities arose for mainstream channels, this was the right time to take a project from the rack. Turkey’s first private TV channel, Star TV, was on sale and so rather than building a TV channel from scratch we decided to rebuild Star TV.”

Dogus Media Group was founded in 1999 with the acquisition of NTV, Turkey’s first 24-hour news channel, which had launched in 1996. Business and entertainment channel CNBC-e debuted in 2000 while sports net NTV Spor, music channels Kral TV and Kral Pop, Hindi news net HDe and entertainment net e2 completed the line-up until Star was added last year.

Dogus wasn’t the only company affected by the economic crash, as the entire Turkish media industry faced cuts after a period of expansion, but Aydin says the country’s recovery is now gathering pace. “We were affected but the recovery process has been fast,” he says. “We expect the ad market to grow by 20.4% in 2012 and bring fresh blood to the media industry in general. We aim to increase our ad share in the market until 2013 and keep it around 11.2% afterwards. Obviously, TV still occupies the largest portion of ad share and the acquisition of Star TV has enabled us to double our market share projections for the next three years.”

Advertising sales have also been impacted by the collapse of the Turkish ratings system, which was abandoned last year amid allegations the personal details of some panelists were leaked, which potentially left them open to bribes to change their viewing habits.

A new ratings system will launch in May, but Aydin says: “We’re in limbo right now. This is not good for the sector. Advertisers need measured metrics; they want to see who they reach. And the ad price is also determined through ratings of the time slot. We broadcasters need the metrics to see how our shows are doing and also to talk to the advertisers.”

Despite some signs of economic growth, Dogus does not intend to venture back into acquisitions, as Aydin says picking up new networks is “not a priority for us right now. Improving Star TV, according to our goals and vision, ranks higher on our agenda and we need to concentrate on this objective,” he says.

In terms of content, Dogus’s networks have found success with both home-grown and imported shows. On CNBC-e, worldwide hits including the BBC’s Merlin and Doctor Who, US network CBS’s comedy How I Met Your Mother, Starz original series Spartacus: Blood & Sand and HBO’s Game of Thrones have won strong audiences, while NTV’s documentary hour on Sundays and local news show Close Up are also popular.

Meanwhile, e2 has a slate of international productions including HBO’s Treme and BBC comedy Come Fly With Me, as well as US talkshows such as The Ellen Show, The Conan O’Brien Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

At Star, Ottoman Empire drama Magnificent Century (Muhtesem Yuzyil), made by TIMS Productions, was acquired from rival Show TV, in part to highlight the takeover completed by Dogus, and viewers have followed. “We obviously treated this transfer as a launch tool to attract attention to the change taking place at Star,” says Aydin. “It is doing very well since the story is quite appealing and tragic and it has a loyal audience. But Star will create its own productions soon enough.

“For the past three or four years, historical series have been on the rise, occupying a serious position in the entertainment world and attracting significant attention to certain periods of history. We believe this trend will continue for a few more years as there is quite a lot of historical material that can be used.”

Other popular shows airing on Star include Iffet, a drama about a woman who is betrayed by her lover; and One Man, One Woman (Bir Erkek, Bir Kadin), the Turkish adaptation of Canadian comedy series Un Gars, Une Fille.

Gameshows are also finding viewers and Star airs a version of Israeli format Still Standing, under the title Eyvah Dusuyorum, which is produced by Endemol Turkey. The channel is also prepping a Turkish version of US classic Jeopardy!. “In terms of primetime series, locally originated productions have been dominant until recently,” says Aydin.

One notable exception to this is Kanal D’s remake of long-running US drama Desperate Housewives, which is running as Umutsuz Ev Kadinlari, produced by Medyapim.

“We are always looking to acquire successful international content,” says Aydin. “Adapting scripts is a rising trend but it is quite difficult to find stories that fit the local culture. Producing original dramas will still be the priority of the sector.”

The number of programmes exported from Turkey is also on the rise, as shown by Magnificent Century’s roll-out into more than 40 territories worldwide by distributor Global Agency. “Turkish series have become quite popular abroad, especially in the Middle East. It is to such an extent that the popularity of these series has boosted interest in Turkey, creating a new line of tourism. It is an exciting but understandable development, given the proximity of the cultures.

“This growth will continue as long as series dominate the primetime hour. But will this spread to other regions? The answer to this lies in shortening the duration, the variety and the production quality of the projects,” explains Aydin.

“Primetime is dominated by Turkish series that run for three hours, with ad slots. A show that runs for almost three hours every week has the possibility of falling into a vicious circle and, currently, the Turkish television industry is suffering from this fatigue. It is having a negative effect, because in order to fill that time space, the stories become longer than usual and lose their dramatic effect.”

As Dogus has bought into Turkey’s mainstream television market with its acquisition of Star, so too have international broadcasters, which are looking to exploit one of the fastest growing TV markets in the world.

Discovery, National Geographic and Disney all have a presence in the country, and while not directly competing against Dogus’s stable of channels, their presence is a sign of the value of the market to foreign broadcasters.

However, Aydin says this competition is not something local networks have to fear, but is something they should embrace. “NTV has been the pioneer of news channels in Turkey by positioning itself as ‘the news channel of Turkey.’ But recently we have had international companies entering the scene, such as Al Jazeera,” says Aydin. “The existence of such competitors in the market is valuable and beneficial to raise standards. The same is also true for players like TNT and Fox in the entertainment world. Such international companies spice up the course of Turkish media.”

Since officially relaunching Star in January after completing the acquisition, Dogus is now preparing for a “second launch” this fall as the growth of the channel forms the focal point of the media group’s ambitions for the immediate future. Part of this plan is to follow the changing audience landscape in Turkey and, in particular, how younger viewers are taking their viewing habits online.

However, Aydin says traditional TV is still the main medium. “The most significant change in Turkey has been witnessed with the expansion of new media, with the mass penetration of internet into households,” he says. “Nevertheless, television is still the main source of information and entertainment.

“Turkish television is quite up to date with what happens in the international arena. The younger audience, on the other hand, is following TV online and has created its own digital entertainment world. We strive to create content that appeals to these youngsters as their habits will be determining the trends of the next few years.””

Source : C21 media

“Murdoch tells Erdoğan interested in expanding investment in Turkey” – Today’s Zaman

Ruppert Murdoch. Source : Today's Zaman

“Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday afternoon in Ankara.

The Australian-American media mogul’s meeting with Erdoğan followed last month’s media reports that his News Corporation was planning to buy Turkish Çalık Holding’s Sabah daily and ATV station.

A Turkish official close to the prime minister told The Associated Press that Murdoch has expressed an interest in expanding investments in Turkey.

The official said Murdoch told Erdoğan during the meeting that he regarded Turkish media as an “important sector” for investments.

The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, would not say if Murdoch expressed interest in acquiring Turkey’s ATV television and Sabah newspaper.

Murdoch in 2007 shared with the Turkish government that he “seriously contemplated the acquisition of Sabah and ATV” when they were put up for sale by the state’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). Following confiscation by the TMSF of Turkish business tycoon Turgay Ciner’s Merkez Media Group in 2007, the Çalık Group acquired Sabah and ATV along with other smaller entities for $1.25 billion in 2008. The News Corporation’s Wall Street Journal said in late January that US media giant Time Warner Inc. and private equity firm TPG Capital are also interested in Sabah and ATV.

Murdoch’s reputation as a media tycoon was smeared by a scandal last year that even forced the British government to make a statement regarding its links to the mogul’s media empire. Following the discovery of systemic phone hacking made by Murdoch’s News International, police arrested dozens of reporters as well as a number of executives working for him.”

Source : Today’s Zaman

“Turkish TV viewers upset most by hate speech and discrimination on screen” – Today’s Zaman

Photo : Cihan (Source : Today's Zaman)

“Most of the complaints filed at the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) by viewers in 2011 were against TV hosts who were allegedly involved in hate speech or discriminatory behavior based on religion, language or ethnicity on the screen, a 2011 RTÜK report has shown.

In 2011, TV show hosts and participants received the most complaints from viewers by 17 percent for allegedly engaging in discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or language, followed by programs that are allegedly involved in discrimination by 13 percent, while 11 percent of the complaints were filed due to the cancellation of some TV programs.

TV show hosts such as Müge Anlı received the highest number of complaints due to their “discriminatory” statements on television, leaving complaints filed against some TV series far behind.

The most controversial discriminatory statements were made by Anlı in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that hit the eastern province of Van last October, which is predominantly Kurdish, when Anlı attempted to link the cause of the quake with the ethnicity of the people in the region. The quake hit at a time when acts of violence perpetrated by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against security members escalated. Being blind to ethnic divisions, Turkey became mobilized to extend a helping hand to the people of Van where hundreds of people were killed, while thousands of others were left homeless in the quake.

TV show host Anlı, defied the collective sentiment by saying on air: “Police officers, who were targets of little children sent out [by adults] to throw stones at every opportunity, were the first to rush to the disaster scene. … May those hands that threw stones at them be broken. Those who threw stones — kill them on the mountaintops whenever you want to. Let’s set things straight. In difficult times, the police are the best [for the people of the area]. … It is not that simple. Everyone should know their place.”

Anlı’s remarks were met with widespread outrage and anger. In January, the İstanbul Prosecutors’ Office announced that it has not found legal grounds on which to take action against Anlı in an investigation launched against her. Lack of hate crime legislation in Turkey makes prosecutors fall short of legal grounds to investigate individuals like Anlı over their discriminatory statements. Hate speech is a form of expression that spreads and promotes hatred based on intolerance and animosity towards individuals or groups.

Hate speech not only inflicts psychological damage on the victim but also tends to incite hate crime, which can be defined as a criminal offense motivated by prejudice or hostility based on somebody’s ethnicity, national identity, religious beliefs, social status, sexual orientation or disability.

Although such crimes have reached unprecedented levels, they commonly go unpunished.

According to Cengiz Alğan, chairperson of the Association for Social Change’s steering committee, it is a must for Turkey to define in its penal code what constitutes a hate crime and set certain punishments for hate crime offenders.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman in a phone interview, Alğan also said journalists’ associations and media organizations should set their own codes of ethics to prevent those working in the media from engaging in hate crime.

“Journalists and correspondents should be given training to this effect. Every media institution should set fundamental ethics rules,” said Alğan, adding that the BBC’s ethics code could be taken as a model for the Turkish media in order to prevent hate speech on screen.

Habertürk TV’s Duygu Canbaş’s statements about the Van quake were no less offensive than Anlı’s, as she said: “Even though the quake took place in Van, we are in great pain.”

Day time TV shows like that of Anlı’s — a marriage show — received 30 percent all the complaints filed in 2011. They were followed by dramatic TV series, which received 29 percent, commercials with 14 percent, news bulletins with 4 percent, ‘last survivor’ programs with 3 percent and sports programs with 3 percent.

Referring to the public disturbances caused due to hate speech on TV, Cafer Solgun, a Kurdish-Alevi writer and activist, told Today’s Zaman that it is a big shortcoming that Turkey does not have a law on hate crimes and the effects of this shortcoming are felt more strongly every day.

“Although programs starring TV hosts who were involved in hate speech have been cancelled, no other sanctions are imposed on them. And we keep waiting to see which TV host will be the next to use offensive remarks against a certain group in the society,” he said, stressing the urgent need for hate crime legislation in Turkey.

In 2010, Star TV talk show host Mehmet Ali Erbil received harsh reactions from Alevis when he associated them with debauchery and incest on his program, which has since been canceled. He drew the ire of Alevi groups when he made a joke on live TV about “mum söndü” (the candle was blown out) — a phrase used to refer to Alevi religious ceremonies pejoratively and and which suggests participants supposedly turn to debauchery and incest. Star TV decided to discontinue Erbil’s program.

Solgun said civil organizations like the Confrontation with the Past Association, which he heads, are lobbying Parliament for the preparation of a law on hate crime in Turkey. “Although none of the parties in the Parliament has voiced opposition over the need for such a law, none of them have yet taken any action to this effect,” added Solgun.

Controversial statements by sports commentator Ahmet Çakar, also a former referee, andRasim Ozan Kütahyalı about an ongoing match-fixing probe in Turkey during a sports program on Beyaz TV last December triggered complaints against a sports program for the first time, according to RTÜK’s report. RTÜK issued a warning to Beyaz TV following the complaints.

During the program, Çakar and Kütahyalı accused Fenerbahçe President Aziz Yıldırım, who was jailed as part of the rigging probe, of involvement in match-fixing, violating the RTÜK law which says, “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.””

Source : Today’s Zaman

“Bosnian star in Turkey for TV series” – Hürriyet Daily News

Terzic (L) Jolie pose in the premiere of ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey.’ REUTERS Photo. Source : Hürriyet

“Bosnian actress Alma Terzic has come to Turkey to play in the Turkish TV series “Mavi Kelebekler” (Blue Butterflies). The actress, who also performs in Angelina Jolie’s new movie, In the Land of Blood and Honey, will play in the first four episodes. ” […]

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Turkish TV series gather at Istanbul fair” – Hürriyet Daily News

“The Turkish and regional television industry has gathered at the DISCOP Istanbul Television Broadcasting Fair, which kicked off Feb. 28.

The fair, taking place at Istanbul’s Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel, includes participants from 32 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa that together boast more than 500 million viewers.

The first conference of the fair, which took place Feb. 28, was moderated by Nick Holdsworth, Variety Magazine’s East Europe and Middle Asia chief. The conference focused on the Silk Road and Middle Asia. The second conference will focus on a “Renaissance in Arab content,” discussing how Arab content can be successful abroad.

KanalD, the Samanyolu Broadcasting Group, Show TV, Turkish Radio & TV Corporation (TRT), WWE Turkey, ATV Broadcasting, Digiturk, Calinos Entertainment and ITV – Inter Medya are all presenting their series at the fair. The fair provides a platform for Global Agency, which has distributed series such as “İffet,” “Behzat Ç.,” “Kalbim 4 Mevsim” and “Firar” from Turkey’s private Star TV channel.

Global Agency, whose goal is to distribute the most watched series around the world, has sold “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) to 40 countries and is among the five fastest growing distribution companies in the world.

The fair is gathering 120 international content providers in Istanbul for presentations and discussions on TV formats, program packages, movie portfolios and more. Global Agency has been attending television broadcasting fairs around the world for the past eight years. The company will also present movie projects such as “Love in a different language” and “1,001 Nights” to international companies in addition to various competition formats.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News