“Fatmagül’s popularity rises in Arab world” – Hürriyet Daily News

Beren Saat stars in ‘Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?’. Source : Hürriyet

“Turkey’s popular “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (What is Fatmagül’s Fault?) is the latest Turkish TV series to gain popularity in Middle Eastern and Arab countries.

In the series, Beren Saat, who previously gained fame in the same region with her previous role “Bihter” in TV series “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love), stars with actor Egin Akyürek. She is known as Fatima.

The series is aired in primetime on satellite channel MBC4 five days a week in the United Arab Emirates. A great deal of news about the series has appeared in the Arab world; developments with the characters are shared with the public.

The series has gained lots of fans in the country and each episode is uploaded to video-sharing websites after being aired on television.

“Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” is aired on Turkish Kanal D channel every Thursday and features the story of a rape victim, Fatmagül.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Discop Istanbul 2012” – Turkish News

Source : Turkish News

“More attendees than in its first edition, a great demand for documentaries, co-production deals, animation, and a strong investment on local promotion, are some of the event’s highlights. With a significant increase in the number of attendees, the Ceylan Intercontinental in Turkey has closed its doors, thus ending a new edition of Discop Istanbul (February 28 – March 1).

After witnessing a significant increase in the number of guests present at the event, the Ceylan Intercontinental hotel in Turkey closed its doors, thus ending a new edition of Discop Istanbul, which took place on February 28 – March 1. Some of the main highlights -according to several attendees- were the search for co-production and adaptation deals for formats, animation and documentaries.

“One of the market’s strong suits is documentary sales,” said Jennifer from A&E Networks. “Nowadays, here you can see excellent TV movies, series and general dramas. But outside their primetimes, these networks program documentaries and educational programs, and that’s where our production quality surpasses what they do in these markets,” she added.

According to Xavier Aristimuño, SVP of new business sales and development at Telemundo Internacional, producing high quality fiction series entails “analyzing co-production deals that are convenient for both parties. This is why our presence in markets like this one has to do with our interest on both selling our products and identifying good projects.”

Meanwhile, Guido Baumhauer, head of distribution at Deutsche Welle, believes “the development of new platforms and the constant growth in content offers forces us to search for distribution deals that are just right for us. Given our structure, it’s not so much about producing locally with big budgets; it’s about finding windows that allow us to add value to the content we already have.”

According to Mathieu Béjot, representative of TV France International, as far as French companies focused on exporting content go, “this market has been fruitful for those which distribute documentaries and animation, since for the rest, competition with local products was quite tough.”

Yet, according to Katia Sol, head of international sales at AB International Distribution in France, “the potential within these markets has a lot to do with the type of content. For instance, our series Mafiosa -possibly the most internationally distributed French series- has been very accepted, which proves the potential these types of series have in these markets.”

THE PARTIES

Another one of the event’s highlights were definitely the amazing parties, especially the one organized by Global Agency at an antique Palace by the Bosphorus, where approximately 300 people enjoyed a lavish affair with great production and technical resources.

With not quite as much production yet still successful were the parties organized by ATV at the Arabesque restaurant and Kanal D at 360 in Istanbul.”

Source : Turkish News

“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

“Skyrocketing demand for soap operas beat satellites” – Hürriyet Daily News

Cast members from the hit show Muhteşem Yüzyıl (The Magnificent Century) Hürriyet photo

“Turkish television and cinema representatives have requested an increase in both domestic and international satellite capacity to meet skyrocketing demand, according to the general manager of Türksat Satellite Communications and Cable TV Management.

Türksat, Turkey’s current satellite infrastructure provider, does not have the necessary capacity to meet the needs of the booming Turkish television and cinema sector’s domestic and international satellite requirements, Özkan Dalbay said.

New satellites needed. The provider’s new 4A and 4B satellites, which are slated to soon go into service, will help ease some of the demand, he said, but added that even they would be insufficient in meeting demand at the current rate of development.

Dalbay also said Turkey’s plans to create its own domestic satellite were continuing in tandem with the 4A and 4B satellite project and that eight Japanese satellite production specialists were currently working on the endeavor.

“If we don’t face any problems, we plan to have a satellite production center in place by the end of 2013. Our domestic communications satellite project will also be completed by that date and production will begin at the facility,” said Dalbay, adding that Turkey would have its first domestically designed and produced satellite communications system in place by 2015 barring any glitches.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Turkey takes off” – C21 Media


by Andrew Mc Donald

“Turkey’s expanding TV business is attracting plenty of international attention thanks to the strength of its drama programming and advertising market. Andrew McDonald reports, as Discop Istanbul gets into gear.

Turkey’s TV content market has evolved dramatically in the past decade and a half. Once home to a high number of foreign imports, including Latin American telenovelas, Turkey has since developed a rich drama industry of its own that now accounts for the bulk of the main terrestrial broadcasters’ primetime output.

Though international unscripted formats such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Pop Idol have found homes in Turkish schedules, it is big-budget, weekly home-grown dramas that are demanding the most investment and winning the biggest ratings.

They are also gaining the attention of schedulers outside the country, thanks to their high production values. Turkish content is already notching up sales in Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Middle East and parts of Asia, and is even starting to find audiences further afield.

“Turkey is not a great market for formats,” admits Izzet Pinto, founder and president of Turkish distribution house Global Agency. “Formats were doing very well, but now most are being commissioned for just one season and the reason is that in primetime people prefer to watch drama series. Therefore, local scripted productions dominate.”

Ziyad Varol, deputy content sales manager at ATV, one of Turkey’s biggest broadcasters, agrees. “In terms of primetime slots, drama is definitely the number one content type. If you look at ATV’s programmes you’ll see that in seven days you will definitely have scripted TV series on five or six days, mainly dramas but also sitcoms,” he says. The channel’s scheduling is done with a close eye on what rival broadcasters are doing on any given day – particularly Turkey’s number one terrestrial network Kanal D, he adds. 

Even Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which Varol claims has been “doing really well” for ATV over the past six months, only finds a home in the ‘primetime-3’ slot of 23.00. Earlier primetime-1 and primetime-2 slots – 20.00-22.00 and 22.00-23.00 respectively – are given over to scripted content. Is there much room for unscripted formats in Turkey?

“Gameshows and other entertainment shows get limited space on Turkish TV, so we can’t say the situation is better at the moment; it has always been like that,” says Idil Belli, general manager of Sera Films. The Turkish distributor sells format rights to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Dragons’ Den in the country, thanks to a local distribution pact with Sony Pictures Television.

While Millionaire has found a home on ATV, Dragons’ Den airs on Bloomberg HT, a niche Turkish news channel created in 2010 thanks to a deal between local station Kanal1 and Bloomberg. Though the network airs another Sera-distributed gameshow, called Think, in an evening slot, Bloomberg HT head of acquisitions Aylin Amber admits these shows cannot challenge Turkey’s mainstream drama output.

“Even though it’s the minority of the audience, there are a lot of people who prefer to watch a gameshow instead of watching a local series, so it’s a perfect alternative. But we definitely can’t compete with them, because from the time we were measured, I know that 80% or 90% of the audience is watching local series,” she says.

Ansi Elgoz, MD of Endemol Turkey, also concedes that “broadcasters have very limited space for non-scripted formats.” Endemol Turkey was set up in 2008 to produce local versions of formats such as Total Wipeout, Fear Factor, The Money Drop and Deal or No Deal, and though Endemol does also deal internationally in drama output, even imported scripted formats have a hard time competing with home-grown shows, Elgoz says.

“At the moment, there are about 65 to 70 drama series this season on air in the Turkish TV landscape – a huge number. Of these, only one is adapted: Desperate Housewives. All the other scripted concepts are locally developed, so if you look at the ratio, adaptations in Turkey are always more difficult,” she says.

Though Turkey is not a closed shop when it comes to overseas drama, the popularity of home-sourced stories is clear. Kerim Emrah Turna, international sales and acquisitions specialist at Kanal D, says his channel’s version of Desperate Housewives is doing well in its Sunday 20.00 slot. However, the channel’s big project for this year is a locally developed drama called Kuzey Guney (North & South), which airs in the equivalent Wednesday night slot.

Elsewhere, Endemol Turkey partnered with Argentinian network Telefe to adapt primetime daily telenovela The Successful Mr & Mrs Pells as a weekly drama for the Kanal D. Yet despite other adaptations of the format in Poland and Chile, the show, called Mükemmel Çift (Perfect Couple) in Turkey, didn’t make it past one season. Similarly, ATV’s remake of Chilean network TVN’s popular telenovela Donde Esta Elisa? ended last year after one 26-episode run.

It is yet to be seen how well Fox TV’s new scripted sitcom Young Enough will do. The Turkish channel, which was rebranded from TGRT after News Corp acquired it in 2006, bought the remake rights to the show from Sera Films, which licensed it from Mediaset. In Italy, the show is known as Casa Vianello.

The reason why locally developed projects seem to fare so much better is partly cultural and partly down to the practicalities of making a series for the distinct Turkish market. Global Agency’s Pinto notes that due to Turkish regulations, nudity and sex are not shown, which made the country’s version of Big Brother markedly different from some of the format’s racier European versions, and would effectively rule out an adaptation of popular Western shows like Sex & the City. 

In addition, Turkish primetime dramas tend to run to 90 or 100 minutes per episode, while US dramas average out at around 45 minutes, making it difficult to adapt a series without substantial re-writes.

“You take the concept but to make it longer you have to write another episode. Or you have to put two episodes together, which doesn’t make sense, because an episode has its own development, climax point and conclusion. So it’s very difficult to expand a 45-minute concept into a 90-minute drama per week. Instead of trying to adapt it, you might as well re-write it,” says Elagoz.

Turna says the reason why Turkey tends towards longer episodes is to do with regulations that limit ad breaks to 12 minutes in every hour. This is in line with European legislation, which Turkey has adopted voluntarily despite not being a part of the EU. “To get a bigger part of the advertisement pie, channels are demanding 90-minute episodes from the producers in order to have a couple more primetime advertisement slots during the programme,” he says.

By the same logic, you might then expect Turkish dramas to be equally hard to sell abroad due to episode length. Yet this does not seem to be the case. Indeed, ad gains along with rivalry in the Turkish market are helping to drive up production values, which in turn is making Turkish drama more appealing to international buyers.

“Since there’s huge competition between the Turkish broadcasters, they invest more and more in the production quality in order to get a bigger slice of the advertisement market in Turkey. So that’s why the production quality is increasing day-to-day in Turkey. We believe that in the very near future, we will cover nearly all the world with these productions,” says Can Okan, president, CEO and co-founder of Istanbul-based distributor ITV Inter Medya. 

Okan claims that in the past couple of years production budgets in Turkey have doubled, with some period dramas costing US$750,000 per episode. Over at Kanal D, Turna agrees: “We are spending incredible amounts of money when we begin the shows. For example, for Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman ki (Time Goes By), just for the first two episodes we spent more than €1m [US$1.3m]. But the market is very competitive.”

Time Goes By is now in its second season and hit a peak 71% share during one airing last year. It’s a key title for Kanal D’s sales division, while Turna says that in many territories, 90-minute Turkish drama episodes are shown in their entirety or stripped as two 45-minute episodes 

“In Eastern Europe – for example, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Slovakia – all of these countries are airing lots of Turkish drama series,” he says, adding that Kanal D drama Gümüs hit an episode peak of 85 million Arab viewers after it was sold to MBC in the Middle East – a record for the region, he says.

Elsewhere, ATV drama Ezel has already been distributed to more than 40 countries and was the most watched programme in Hungary last year, according to Varol. Remake rights to the show have also been sold into a handful of countries, including Belgium, with talks underway with a US broadcaster.

“This proves that Turkish drama is also suitable for other territories,” says Varol. “If you look at the territories where we have mostly sold our titles, they are in the Middle East, the Balkans and, to some extent, Eastern Europe – ex-Soviet countries as well – and we have started to expand our presence to African territories.”

Executives representing ITV Inter Medya, Global Agency and Turkish broadcaster TRT were at Natpe in Miami in January to try to open up sales into Latin America – reversing what was once an established trend in the Turkish market.

“Telenovelas were incredibly popular 10 or 15 years ago. When I was younger our whole family used to watch Latin telenovelas during daytime and also in some primetime slots. At that time we only had one or two Turkish drama series, but for a very long time we haven’t aired any telenovelas on the mainstream Turkish TV channels,” says Turna.

Pinto, who is currently shopping a number of Turkish daytime entertainment formats along with drama series such as Magnificent Century and 1001 Nights, adds that these days the stories being told by Turkish drama series are “absolutely different” from Lat Am novelas.

“There is huge television activity in Turkey,” adds Patrick Jucaud-Zuchowicki, general manager of Basic Lead and the man behind Discop Istanbul, which has its second outing this week. “Over the past three years we’ve seen Turkish drama producers expand their reach beyond the Turkish marketplace. They sell drama series into the Middle East, into Central Asia, the Balkans, even into Latin America, so Turkish content has a strong attraction and that is something that has helped us establish our market.”

The success of Turkish drama is also helping to reshape the domestic market and stimulate competition. After setting up shop in Turkey four years ago, Endemol recently appointed ATV’s former head of drama Hulya Vural to head a new drama division, to create its own locally developed scripted content. 

The major broadcasters are also stepping up their in-house production efforts, increasing competition with established Turkish producers like Ay Yapim. At ATV, Varol explains that though the network makes magazine shows and some studio content in-house, it doesn’t have a drama production unit. However, he says it has plans to set up a production arm, probably in the next three to five years.

“We see the potential,” says Varol, claiming that to keep international rights to shows “you need to be very strong or you need to produce the content by yourself.”

Meanwhile, major Western players are also showing interest in the Turkish market, due to its impressive growth and promising forecasts in the TV advertising space – particularly against the backdrop of a wider European downturn and poor returns from many Eastern European markets.

Though the main five Turkish broadcasters, with the exception of Fox, are still owned by Turkish firms, Kanal D reportedly attracted interest from RTL, Time Warner, News Corp and investment group Texas Pacific Group when the network’s parent, Dogan Holding, sought advice on a possible sale in 2010. 

The same parties were also recently linked to ATV when it put itself up for sale at the beginning of the year, with the main terrestrial broadcasters a seemingly logical target for Western players hoping to break into this market, due to the concentration of ad revenues among these channels

“Turkish cable and satellite channels have a fundamental structural problem. We see an increasing audience share, but they are not able to monetise it because a lot of them they are fragmented and advertisers have relationships with the big broadcasters and get a fair amount of discounts there,” says IHS’s head of advertising research Daniel Knapp.

However, he believes the rewards that the Turkish market can yield for outside investors are clear. “Recent years have shown that the Turkish TV market is an opportunity too good to miss,” he says. “In 2010, the ad market grew by 40%. For 2011, we project it to grow by 22% in net terms, which is phenomenal. We don’t see this growth anywhere else.

“Whereas all the other markets are going to be fairly static, fairly low growth – in the UK going from €4bn in 2011 to €4.4bn in 2015 – Turkey will go from €1bn to €2bn in the same timeframe, so doubling the size of the TV ad market.” he adds, claiming that Turkey, along with Russia, will be the key European markets to watch over the next few years.”

Source : C21 Media

“Uzbeks censor Turkish TV series” – Hürriyet Daily News

Actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ starred in TV series ‘Gümüş’ with the actress Songül Öden. Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Three state-run televisions in Uzbekistan have banned the broadcasting of Turkish TV series on the grounds that they contain “unsuitable content.”

According to news that appeared in the Uzbek media, some sources that are close to state television said the real reason behind banning Turkish TV series was the “rebellious situation” of some characters in those series.

It is also said that some scenes in the series were inappropriate to the mindset of Uzbek people.

Uzbek state televisions also banned Turkish TV series in 2000, but although they later returned to the screen.

The TV series “Gümüş” was broadcast on Yoshlar TV in Uzbekistan five times a week during morning hours and prime time. The star of the series, Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, has become very popular among the youth in the country.

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“TV fair readies to kick off next week” – Hürriyet Daily News

Behzat Ç, Turkish series, will be among the series, which will be presented to the 40 countries at the DISCOP fair. Global Agency company will be presenting the series. Source Hürriyet

“The Turkish television industry will welcome the DISCOP Istanbul Television Publishing and Fair between Feb. 28 and March 1.

The fair, which will take place at Istanbul Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel, covers 32 countries from the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa that are together home to more than 500 million audiences.

The fair will also provide 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 previously sold “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) to 40 countries and is among the five fastest growing distribution companies in the world.

The fair will gather 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.

A new presentation from Turkish TV scene

Following its presentation of “Magnificent Century” to TV companies at last year’s DISCOP, Global Agency plans to present the series “Suskunlar” (Silent) at this year’s DISCOP, Chief Executive Officer İzzet Pinto said.

The company will also present movie projects such as “Love in a different language,” “1001 Nights” to international companies in addition to various competition formats.”

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

“Greek TV must ‘coproduce to survive'” – C21 Media

“Greek producers must look to international coproductions if they are to get through the country’s growing financial crisis, according to a producer at 2k Films.

The government is currently imposing stringent austerity measures while the European Union discusses a second financial bail out for Greece’s struggling economy.

George Kalomenopoulos, a producer at Athens-based 2k Films, explained to C21 the impact of the crisis on the country’s television industry.

“It started about 18 months ago with major budget cutting from the broadcasters and a lot of series were suddenly interrupted,” he said. “The Antenna channels cancelled six or seven productions.

“Now the local industry is suffering from imports – especially soap operas from Turkey, instead of Greek soap operas – because it is cheaper to import than to produce your own. They are doing very well in the ratings.”

Kalomenopoulos said the only way local indies can survive now is to coproduce with foreign partners who can then sell the product to their own local broadcasters as well. 2k has recently worked with Franco-German cultural channel Arte, plus German and French producers.

He added: “We are focusing on coproductions to split the cost. We were always very active in this field but are now even more. The coproducer helps us to sell and negotiate with foreign broadcasters rather than Greek.

“They say this will last until 2020, and they are the optimists. The key is coproduction and to focus on our own strengths.””

Source : C21 Media

“Atv shows viewed all over the globe” – Sabah

With around 2,000 hours of original programming produced each year, ATV has a “pioneer outlook” on the current market and is at the forefront of the “Turkish drama boom”, as its content sales deputy manager, Ziyad Varol, told ttv.

Ziyad Varol: “Our Programs are Sold in Over 60 Countries”

As part of Turkey’s “drama boom”, ATV -owned by Turkuvaz Media Group- follows the current high quality drama production trend; and the company doesn’t stop there. On the contrary, its growing international catalog also includes formats and various TV genres that enter the international arena as a result of the channel’s daily endeavors in the local market.

“The channel is known for its enthralling dramas, hilarious comedies, action-packed series and engaging sitcoms, all of which are produced in the highest quality. With a creative and pioneering approach, ATV successfully produces many unique and original programs, bringing an array of fabulous stories and first rate actors to the TV screen,” Ziyad Varol, ATV’s Content Sales deputy manager, says.

ATV currently produces around 2,000 hours of original programming including TV series, daily shows, lifestyle-entertainment and current affairs programs. However, overlooking the drama genre in Turkey can be quite dangerous.

“Drama stands at the core of the TV industry in Turkey, especially for mainstream channels and independent production houses,” he explains. Also, the executive recognizes the industry’s efforts as a whole and assures “all players deserve to be applauded” for their intense work and for succeeding in enhancing the Turkish audiovisual production quality standards. “We are proud to be part of this achievement,” Varol says.

Obviously, the local drama prominence is also reflected on the international demand for Turkish series. Yet, the executive believes in content diversification, as other kinds of content also produced in the country are having good performances overseas. “Based on the sales figures, the most popular genre appears to be drama. However, action and dramedy are also the types of genres people show interest in during international markets. If you take a look at ATV’s catalog you will also see two formats which have been very successful in Turkey; Match&Marry and Straight Forward.

When Turkey’s drama boom was just emerging, ATV’s titles were only distributed to the Middle East. “However, there are already over 60 countries buying Turkish programs,” he states. The Middle East, Balkans, Ex-Yugoslavian countries, Transcaucasia, Post-Soviet states and Eastern Europe are amongst the main buyers. “Nevertheless, it’s not a dream to expect Turkish titles to find slots in major European countries, India, Japan or even America in the future, either as taped content or formats. In the past, no one could anticipate the role that Turkish products are currently playing in the global TV market.”

BRAND NEW TRIO

In recent months, ATV has launched three new titles which, according to Ziyad Varol, have been successful in the local market and have also captured the attention of international buyers: TV series Life Goes On, The End and The Cliff. “From one of the most famous directors in Turkey, Mahsun Kirmizigul, Life Goes On draws attention to early marriage incidents that are still common in many regions in the world and portrays the dramatic life of a 15-years-old girl who is forced to marry a 70 year old man,” he says. In addition, all 25 episodes of The End have made an impact as “one of the most unique TV projects in the Turkish TV history;” and The Cliff tells “the story of a woman coming to Turkey with her sister with the hope of working as a nanny. She manages to escape from the trap she falls into at the last moment”.

Lastly, Varol shares his outlook on DISCOP Istanbul, a local event for ATV to test the market and the strength of its presence in the region: “It’s a small market, but we are glad to have an event like this taking place in Turkey. It was definitely a right decision to organize said market in Istanbul where the heart of globally popular Turkish drama beats. We find it a tailored market where all potential clients assemble”.

Source : Sabah

“Sultan tops the Internet in Bulgaria” – Hürriyet Daily News

“Popular Turkish TV series are now available on the Internet in the Bulgarian language, with “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century) taking the lead.

Among these TV series, “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” is the first one to garner high ratings on the Internet. The series, which is translated into Bulgarian by volunteer translators a few hours after the episodes premier in Turkey, has many Bulgarian followers. The followers discuss the series in forums and share private information about the artists acting in the series.

Interest in “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” on the Internet has caught the attention of Bulgarian TV channels. It is reported that many channels are competing against each other to buy the series. The winning channel will broadcast the series every weekday in order to catch the timing in Turkey. ” […]

“TV series “Magnificent Century” becomes a phenomenon in Bulgaria” – Cumhuriyet

“Several Turkish tv series which have been on air have also become a phenomenon on the internet in Bulgaria.

A number of Turkish tv series such as “Unforgettable (Unutulmaz)”, “Autumn (Son Bahar)”, “Little Women (Kucuk Kadinlar)”, “Under the Linden Trees (Ihlamurlar Altinda)”, “An Istanbul Tale (Bir Istanbul Masali)” and “Little Secrets (Kucuk Sirlar) and notably “The 1001 Nights (Binbir Gece)” and “The Fall of Leaves (Yaprak Dokumu)” have made their private channels rating champions.

“The Magnificent Century (Muhtesem Yuzyil)” has also been the most viewed tv series on the internet in Bulgaria.

Turkish tv series Magnificent Century is being watched on Bulgarian internet pages with the subtitles translated by volunteer fans a few hours later it was broadcast in Turkey. Later, tv series’ Bulgarian fans share their opinions over events and the private life of the leading cast.

The Magnificent Suleyman, Hurrem Sultan, Ibrahim Pasha, Malkacoglu and Mother of Reigning Sultan are the main topics of the forums. Bulgarian tv channels have already taken action to buy this tv series’ copyrights.

Yet, the Magnificent Century is not the only Turkish tv series that attracts the highest audience viewership in Bulgaria. “I Named You Feriha (Adini Feriha Koydum)”, “Modesty (Iffet)”, “What Is the Fault of Fatmagul? (Fatmagul’un Sucu Ne?)”, “North-South (Kuzey-Guney)” and some other popular series are also still being watched excitedly by Bulgarian fans.”

Source : Cumhuriyet

“Turkey has a star role in more than just TV drama” – The National

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul at a ceremony in the capital during the Turkish leader’s visit last month. Mustafa Oztartan / Turkish Presidency Press Office / AP Photo. Source : The National

by Thomas Seibert

“During a recent visit to the UAE, Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, was confronted with an unexpected request.

“Please tell us how the Turkish soap operas on television will end. Otherwise, we will not be able to pry our women away from their TV sets,” Mr Gul quoted his Emirati hosts as saying last week.

Turkish television series have long been popular in the Middle East. Yet they are one reason why Turkey topped a recent poll of most admired nations in the region.

In the survey, carried out by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (Tesev), 78 per cent of those polled in 16 countries the Middle East had a very or somewhat favourable opinion of Turkey. The UAE was second with 70 per cent.

In the case of Turkey, respondents said it was a regional model because of its democratic system, economic development and Muslim identity. Three-out-of-four of those surveyed also said they had seen a Turkish television soap – a testament the country’s expanding influence, said Gokce Percinoglu.

“TV series form a part of Turkey’s soft power,” said Ms Percinoglu, an analyst at Tesev, an independent think tank.

Not all Turks were impressed with the survey’s findings.

They said that the country’s high favourability ratings across the region – like the much-touted “Turkish model” – were both soft and misleading.

On the one hand, maintaining Turkey’s positive image depended on democratic progress in the country, they said. On the other hand, its reputation is tarnished by limits on media freedom and a hardening of fronts in the long-running Kurdish conflict.

“More democratisation is the biggest chance for Turkey” to keep improving the favourable perception of the country in the region, Mensur Akgun, a co-author of the Tesev study, said. “But a military intervention or authoritarian tendencies of a civilian government would be risks.”

The government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, has been accused of overseeing the arrest of about 100 journalists and an increasing number of university students and of abandoning efforts to solve the Kurdish conflict by democratic means. The government rejects the accusations.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the secularist opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), wrote in Monday’s Washington Post that Turkey under Mr Erdogan could not be a model for the Middle East.

“Turkey today is a country where people live in fear and are divided politically, economically and socially. Our democracy is regressing in terms of the separation of powers, basic human rights and freedoms and social development and justice,” Mr Kilicdaroglu said.

The Tesev poll was conducted by telephone and by in-person interviews between October and December last year among 2,323 people in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and Libya.

According to the survey, 77 per cent of respondents thought Turkey had a positive effect on peace in the Middle East. Another 71 per cent thought Turkey should play a bigger role in the region, 67 per cent said Turkey was a “successful combination of Islam and democracy”, and 61 per cent of people in the Middle East considered Turkey a possible model for the region.

Support for the Turkish model is highest in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, Tesev said, three countries that overthrew their long-time regimes during the Arab Spring and were visited by Mr Erdogan last year. Support for Turkey is lowest in Syria, reflecting deteriorating ties between Ankara and Damascus over the violence of Syrian government forces against protesters.

The main reason people regard Turkey as a model are its democratic system (32 per cent). Its strong economy (25 per cent) and its identity as a Muslim country (23 per cent) were also at the top of the poll.

While political and economic factors play vital roles in Turkey’s image, the poll also found strong cultural influences, especially its soaps. Murat Yetkin, a columnist, wrote in the newspaper Hurriyet Daily News that Turkish soaps were so popular in the Middle East “because they show that to live a modern and open life in a modern society is possible”, adding that “Turkish soap operas give messages of hope that a modern political, social and economic life can be lived by Turks, as well as by Arab viewers”.

The role of cultural factors such as television shows was hard to quantify, “but the influence is there”, Mr Akgun said.

For Zayed University students, that seems indisputable.

When Mr Gul, Turkey’s president, met them during his recent visit to the UAE, they asked about Muhtesem Yuzyil, or Magnificent Century, a Turkish TV series about the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, an Ottoman sultan of the 16th century.

“They are all following that show,” he later told reporters.”

Source : The National

“Arabs wants to see the modern Turkey” – Hürriyet Daily News

“The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) released the results of a survey yesterday in Istanbul, about how Turkey was perceived across the Middle East and North Africa. The survey was carried out between Oct. 19 and Dec. 15, 2011 among 2,323 people in 16 countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Yemen and Libya.[…]

That explains why the Turkish President was subject to questions about Turkish TV serials by the leaders of United Arab Emirates earlier this week during his visit. As he was trying to tell them about the strength of Turkish banks in order to attract more investment, his counterparts wanted to know how the serials would end, because their wives watching the series’ at home were wondering – as if Gül would know about this in advance.

Turkish soap operas are so favorable in the world of the Arab Spring because they show that to live a modern and open life in a modern society is possible. They tell stories about Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya. They tell the stories of ordinary Turkish people who can go to Friday prayers and observe their religion freely – like people in Cairo, Baghdad and Tehran – but they can also get social, with men and women together, dancing, falling in love, flirting and even drinking alcohol from time to time.

That is why Turkish soap operas are considered a social catalyst, whereas Al-Jazeera is considered the political catalyst in the media dimension of the Arab Spring.

Turkish soap operas give messages of hope that a modern political, social and economic life can be lived by Turks, as well as by Arab viewers. It is a message of hope. […]”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Turkish soap operas topic of meeting with Arab officials” – Hürriyet Daily News

Period drama ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ is one of the most popular productions in Turkey. (Source : Hürriyet)

“President Abdullah Gül said Turkish soap operas were the focal point of the meetings with officials of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which broadcasts Turkish soaps on TV.

“They asked me what will happen at the end of the Turkish series,” Gül said, “and said their wives were always sitting in front of the televisions for the shows.”

Gül said it was important that another culture liked Turkish television series. Gül also said this was about having the same taste in cultural issues. Common cultural values and common history increase interest in the Turkish series, he said.

The Turkish president also met with Zayed University students. He said the students told him they all watched the Turkish series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century).

The Turkish TV series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” which has become one of the most popular productions in Turkey, increasing people’s interest in Ottoman history, will begin to be broadcast throughout the world this month.

“Muhteşem Yüzyıl” was introduced to the world last year during the MIPTV Television Fair in Cannes. The series drew great interest from many international channels and will now be distributed in 40 countries, 22 of which are in the Middle East.

Turkey earned more than $60 million last year from exporting TV series. More than 100 Turkish TV series were watched in over 20 countries in 2011.”

Source: Hürriyet Daily News