Executives from Inter Medya, Acun Medya Global, Mavi Baykuş Prodüksiyon and Videomite took part in an ATF panel, moderated by World Screen‘s Mansha Daswani, about the global success of Turkish content.
Organized by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, which has a significant presence at ATF this year with a Turkish pavilion, the panel featured Inter Medya’s Can Okan, Videomite’s Dilek Telkes, Mavi Baykuş’s Emirhan Emre and Acun Medya Global’s George Levendis.
Okan, founder and CEO of Inter Medya, kicked off the conversation discussing his company’s success in exporting Turkish drama series. The company has sold series into some 140 markets. He attributed the success of Turkish dramas to strong storytelling and high production values.
Levendis, who recently joined Acun Medya Global as COO after a long stint at Syco Entertainment, said he’s been impressed by what he’s seen from the Turkish content industry in terms of “ambition, clarity and willingness to expand globally. They don’t see barriers.”
Telkes, founder and CEO of Videomite, shared her company’s experience with selling Turkish content to digital platforms, both at home and abroad. The ex-Google exec noted that when Videomite was formed, “it was so difficult to convince the production houses to include digital in their plans.” Today, Turkish dramas are doing well on YouTube after the TV broadcast. She pointed to the heavy use of mobile devices for watching content in Turkey. “Seventy percent of the video watched online is consumed on mobile.” Producers need to be aware of that trend, she said, “If you don’t catch the audience in the first five minutes, you’ll lose them.”
Emre, business development manager and producer at Mavi Baykuş Prodüksiyon, noted that the animation studio is eager to build up international partnerships in order to grow its business. “We’re trying to understand how we can produce international titles, how we can make co-productions with other studios from anywhere in the world.”
Levendis said that one of the strengths of Turkey is its geographic location, having “one foot in the East and one foot in the West. There’s an ability to understand the global marketplace. This has been a big part of why [Turkish content] appeals so broadly.”
Acun Medya, he added, has developed an ability to create “quality content at a competitive price point. We can make really good prime-time quality content and we can expand it around the world.”
Mavi Baykuş is exploring co-pro and co-financing opportunities in Asia, Emre said. And Videomite’s Telkes also sees tremendous opportunities for Asian partnerships, particularly importing Asian content for Turkish digital platforms.
For Okan, selling a drama into the Indian and Chinese markets is a key ambition. Okan also said that Inter Medya is looking at cooperation opportunities in Latin America, given how much success the company has had selling programming to the region.
Levendis is keen to sell the Acun Medya format Exathlon into Asia. “It’s a show that can be made across the region; it can be made in each market, in three or four countries at once. I’m looking at a broad range of partners that would be open and willing to collaborate with us on this.”