Kerim, was 2019 successful for Kanal D and what were the main highlights of the year?
In 2019, the penetration in all regions continued to grow. In Central and Eastern Europe, Turkish dramas have been on air for more than 15 years. Buyers have a high level of awareness and excitement for Turkish dramas. Production quality is always something that we are proud of and when it is combined with our unique but relatable storytelling, the buying decision comes very rapidly… We are constantly working on expanding our reach and maintaining our long-standing relationships with leading TV stations, pay TV platforms and telcos. We are working closely in almost all CEE territories and lately we managed to increase our penetration also in Poland and Czech Republic, with our all-time classic titles.
Western Europe has lately discovered Turkish content with Spain and we believe more and more countries will follow this example in the near future. The modern ‘Snow White’ story Price of Passion will be meeting the audiences of the French speaking countries, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Israel, Pakistan, Kazakhstan while Ukraine will make an adaptation.
The all-time favorites of our catalog also continue to perform well. Fatmagul, which has been named “The Best International Series of 2019” by the French Soap Awards, will meet with the audiences of Hungary, the Czech Republic, India and Moldovia for the first time, on VOD platforms in all Africa. Gumus - one of our very first international global success stories, will be on air in Hungary, Moldova and Israel, whereas Secrets will be again shown in the US.
What is your strategy for 2020?
Besides being the largest national TV channel in Turkey for the past 26 years, Kanal D is one of the top content providers in the world. As Kanal D International, we continue to provide Turkish content for 15 years to more than 150 countries. In 2020 our aim is to increase the reach while offering new strong titles to our clients such as Ruthless City, Love Trap and Hekimoglu (Turkish adaptation of House). 2019 was a year of investing and 2020 will be a year of rising.
Your Spanish-language channel Kanal D Drama is available in Latin America and the United States. Will you add more territories soon and are you planning to expand your channel portfolio?
In 2018 Kanal D International decided to widen its presence in the content world with the Kanal D International Networks brand and to reach the end-user as well as the buyers directly. The distribution arm of the company continues under the Kanal D International brand and Kanal D International Networks is the name of the business line that has all our linear Pay TV and Free TV assets.
Kanal D Drama is the first Turkish drama channel ever to launch in 8 countries in LATAM and the first channel to enter the US market via Comcast. With Kanal D Drama, the Turkish drama phenomenon has gained a new momentum. Our main goal is to widen the regions of coverage of this first Turkish drama channel. Therefore, we plan to have Kanal D Drama in Europe, Africa and Asia in a short term. Moreover, you will be hearing about the Kanal D Drama Europe launch in a very short period.
Will you form partnerships with other Turkish players to enrich the offer of Kanal D Drama?
We aim – at a certain stage – to be able to produce for Kanal D Drama by working with our in-house and outsource third-party production companies. However, this needs maturation and global penetration to be able to invest in originals.
What are your most-popular series in Latin America and the U.S.?
Since the premiere of 1001 Nights five years ago on Mega in Chile, today the Turkish drama phenomenon is more present than ever in Latin America and Spain. At the moment, Turkish dramas have 49 timeslots on the main broadcast TV networks in the 18 main markets in the region.
Our library has the best and widest Turkish content distributed worldwide. We have great stories like Fatmagul, Forbidden Love, Wounded Love and many more. Today, Fatmagul has been sold to more than 150 countries and has become a world phenomenon. Forbidden Love has also turned into a globally unforgettable love story.
After their first debut years ago, today even many of the old stories returned to the screens with different time slots in Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Central America and had the same impact in terms of ratings with their second run.
Wounded Love continues to grow, and we are extremely happy with the results in Argentina.
What will be some of the new titles you will be presenting at NATPE Miami?
At NATPE Miami 2020 we will be presenting our new strong titles such as Ruthless City, Love Trap and Hekimoglu. Ruthless City looks into the duality governed by the balance of light and darkness, within each person. It had a great first season in 2019 and continues with its second season with more passion and moral dilemma. The marriage game between poor girl Ayşe and rich boy Kerem started as a love trap, has turned into a rating buster romantic comedy called Love Trap. Hekimoglu, the local version of award-winning US series House M.D. will be our one of our new Premium Drama titles that will be presented to International clients in 2020.
What will be the highlights of your keynote speech at NATPE Miami?
The key headlines will be the distribution in the era of B2C VOD services and how it is being affected and further evolving. In addition to this, I will try to explain how our products differentiate from other products that target mass audiences mainly on the free to air landscape.