Özge Bulut Maraşli, the executive VP of international and corporate strategy at Doğan TV Holding, is firmly focused on raising the leading Turkish media group’s global profile and gives World Screen some insight into her strategy going forward.
WS: How has the demand for Turkish drama evolved over the last years?
BULUT MARAŞLI: It all started with Gümüş in 2006. At first, there was no demand, and we created the demand. In the last decade, demand had risen for Turkish dramas from all over the world. Now there is not only huge demand for Turkish dramas but also a cultural bond. In the ’90s we were watching telenovelas in Turkey, but now Latin Americans watch Turkish dramas. They give Turkish names to their children from our drama characters. In the MENA region, women take our characters as role models, and they change their lives for good. These things make us happy. Now when we launch a new drama, broadcasters come to us and demand it before we air it on TV. Turkish dramas are in focus for the world.
We will keep working to grow the awareness for the Kanal D brand in international platforms with our high-quality dramas, formats and programs.
WS: What are your best territories for the sale of Turkish dramas?
BULUT MARAŞLI: From Latin America to Europe, from the MENA region to Asia, we sell our content to a wide region in various languages. This year we are focused on the Far East mostly, but we’ll also be dealing with other areas too.
WS: Where would you like to be doing more business?
BULUT MARAŞLI: We want to be in every home’s living room. Every region, every country. That is why it is very important for us to give the audience what they desire.
WS: What kinds of dramas are selling well for you?
BULUT MARAŞLI: Love and family stories are the most [in-demand] stories. Impossible or forbidden love, a missing child or a mother trying to hold her family together are the best stories. Combining these stories with beautiful scenery of Turkish cities, of course, makes it much more desirable.
WS: Tell us about your recent output deal with Mega in Chile.
BULUT MARAŞLI: We have licensed our three hit series, Wounded Love, Time Goes By and Fatmagül, to Chile’s Mega. Prior to this volume deal, Kanal D series Fatmagül, Gümüş and Love, then Waiting for the Sun, Leaf Cast and Bidding Farewell, were also acquired by Mega. Fatmagül will be aired again after its huge success. Kanal D has licensed approximately 1,200 commercial hours to Mega to date.
WS: Do you have similar arrangements with other broadcasters? Are you looking to do more deals like this?
BULUT MARAŞLI: Yes, we are working on new deals in Latin America.
WS: What trends do you see locally in terms of storytelling? More historical shows, more comedy, more thrillers, etc.?
BULUT MARAŞLI: Locally and globally, love stories are always winners. People enjoy watching a story of passion, love and treason. They live the love of their life by watching the drama. In addition to love stories, family stories, historical shows and comedies are also popular. When the glory of past decades and a love or a family story combines, just like in our Wounded Love and Time Goes By, then you have all-time favorites!
WS: What opportunities do you see for selling the scripts to your dramas?
BULUT MARAŞLI: In 2017 we are bringing format sales to the foreground. Some broadcasters want to reshoot the series with their own drama stars in their own cultures, which is a very good opportunity to spread our stories to different regions. It is also a good way to make the story timeless and borderless.
WS: Are you looking at opportunities to co-produce dramas with some of your key clients?
BULUT MARAŞLI: One of the main goals of Kanal D is entering into co-productions with major media companies.
WS: What are your goals for Kanal D’s drama-distribution business in 2017?
BULUT MARAŞLI: The entertainment industry is affected negatively by global issues. At Kanal D, we are working very hard to reach the audience by all mediums such as pay TV, OTT and TV Everywhere distribution channels. Besides these, we are trying to keep our conventional free-TV clients as profitable as we can with the help of the traffic that is generated by our rich and high-quality content.