From its offices in Stockholm, Istanbul, Madrid and Manila, Eccho Rights has positioned itself as a go-to supplier for a culturally diverse array of scripted series. Scandi noir, Turkish love stories, Russian biopics and Asian soaps all feature in the company’s expanding drama catalog. And while viewers worldwide are happily embracing subtitled series, Eccho Rights also has a booming scripted-format business, which, in turn, is feeding its tape-sales slate. For example, its Turkish series The End, which has sold widely, has spawned a Spanish edition, El Accidente, and a Dutch version, Flight HS13, both of which are also notching up sales globally for Eccho Rights. Ahead of NATPE Budapest International, Fredrik af Malmborg, the managing director of Eccho Rights, tells TV Drama about scripted trends in Europe and the company’s increased focus on co-productions.
TV DRAMA: What’s resonating with your clients in Eastern Europe?
AF MALMBORG: We have a number of Turkish shows that sell very well. We’ve started to sell more Scandinavian shows, and we are also selling some Russian and Ukrainian series. The demand is quite high in Eastern Europe. [Interest in] Turkish drama shows no sign of weakening. We have closed a number of countries for Stiletto Vendetta and Elif is going everywhere, Cennet is going everywhere. And then we’re selling more and more to the VOD platforms. Poland is taking off well with Turkish drama. We’ve had series there for quite some time, but there’s still a good demand and the prices are increasing. We sold out in Bulgaria and Romania, and Hungary buys a lot. Croatia has been a bit weak in Turkish drama, but they’re coming back. El Accidente is selling to a few countries. We haven’t sold it in Eastern Europe yet. We have new Scandinavian series like Conspiracy of Silence that are doing very well. And in general, there is strong growth in dramas that are produced locally.
TV DRAMA: Long-running drama series, where there are hundreds of episodes, can be a challenge for OTT platforms. How are you negotiating that with your Turkish shows?
AF MALMBORG: We know that Turkish shows are incredibly big on YouTube. We know the viewing is there. Turkish drama consumers are used to getting it for free. But we have 500 hours of Turkish drama on Netflix, so it is there. Most Turkish dramas are made for linear TV. That’s where they perform the best. But we launched Phi last year, an OTT series, and have sold it into a number of countries. Things are being done in Turkey that are shorter. But I admit it’s a bit of a dilemma [for OTT services]. For SVOD we’re doing more deals on Turkish movies, for example, because movies work very well on SVOD.
TV DRAMA: How are the Turkish series doing in Western Europe?
AF MALMBORG: We’ve had success with Turkish dramas in Sweden. They run every day on SVT. Broken Pieces will be in its third season this fall, at 7:30 in the evening. It’s performing very well. The really big thing is the success of Turkish drama in Spain. Fatmagül premiered earlier this winter [on Nova] and is scoring 900,000 viewers every day, and we’ve sold two more series to them. Ezel will premiere later on this spring and we have one other series coming up in the fall. Fatmagül is going well in France and we have previously seen Turkish series delivering very strong results in Italy.
TV DRAMA: What’s your co-pro strategy in Europe?
AF MALMBORG: We’re getting involved earlier in the production stage, getting the financing together, whether it’s co-production or presales. We’re working with external investment funds, like we did on Conspiracy of Silence. We’re doing more and more of that. We have quite an extensive development slate of projects that we’re preselling right now.
TV DRAMA: What other trends do you see in the European drama market?
AF MALMBORG: In Europe, broadcasters tend to invest a lot when it’s their original IP. But the acquisition fees are still relatively low. It’s a bit strange actually. I think that will mature a bit. You can buy something from a neighboring country that delivers as well as something that you’ve invested 50 times the money in.