THE MONTH OF ECCHO RIGHTS: Interview with Berkin Nalbantli
BY Yako Molhov
The Month of Eccho Rights is coming to an end on the platforms of TVBIZZ Group and we close off in style with an interview with Berkin Nalbantli, Sales Executive and Format Sales, CEE and Africa, who talks about the latest trends in the region and the importance of CEE for the Turkish drama business in general.
Berklin Nalbantli
Berkin, you are looking after sales in CEE. What in your opinion differentiates the region from other markets? What are some of its specifics?
CEE is one of the most loyal fans of Turkish drama, usually buyers are so updated about the projects and actors that’s why it’s a great pleasure to do business with them. It’s nice to see them being a fan so it makes it more than just a product. Buyers really know what they like and want so it’s a nice challenge to keep up

Why do you think Turkish drama is so popular in the region - from Greece right up to the Baltics?
There has been lots of exchange between Turkey and especially Eastern Europe and Balkans over the centuries. Having same taste in drama is one of the reflections of this exchange/relationship and I think it helps us to concentrate our similarities more than our differences.

Has the crisis affected sales in the region? What are your most-popular titles in CEE?
Of course, it had effects in the beginning but there hasn’t been any change in demand. People need stories that’ll make them feel better or enjoy more than ever. The Promise is on air almost in every country in CEE with strong results. My Home My Destiny is also in high demand thanks to its powerful story and cast. It’s also nice to see audiences and buyers react positively to romantic comedies and progressive shows like Red Room more and more.

What are the major markets for Eccho Rights in the region and have you looked into entering new territories?
Interest in Turkish drama is same for each territory, but we can say Balkans are quite fast to poach new titles without losing time.

Eccho Rights has a rich catalog of Turkish series. How has the Turkish production sector adapted to the coronavirus pandemic? Did the crisis lead to a lower volume of production and smaller budgets?
Productions hardly stopped in Turkey because both producers and production teams worked devotedly. I think it wouldn’t be wrong to say Turkey was one of the few countries who managed to overcome the situation quickly. Although advertising budgets got effected by the pandemic in the very beginning, but the current situation is a lot more positive compared the last year.

You started a new partnership with a relatively new player – OGM Pictures. Tell us more about it and are you planning other strategic deals with new companies on the market?
OGM is an important partner to us, same as all the producers we work with, and they initiated a new era in Turkish drama during the past 12-18 months. Their series, My Home My Destiny, The Red Room and The Innocents (sold by Mistco internationally) have all been earning over 10% rating during 2020-21, and the stories they bring embrace all kinds of demographics. With Chrysalis (launched April 8) it is an incredible slate for one production company to be putting out each week. Since we are after the best stories for international audiences our Director of Turkish Drama Handan Özkubat is in more or less contact with all the producers in Turkey, and we really care about and respect our communication with them. With the increasing popularity of script adaptations in Turkey, especially of Korean drama series, with our extensive catalogue we are very well positioned to help out throughout the development phase all the way through to production.

You are also selling scripted formats like the Finnish Nurses which has now been adapted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Ezel which is a hit in Romania. Is there interest for other formats from your catalog?
Our format business is equally important and active as our readymade sales. That sets us apart from the many other distributors in a positive way. In partnership with CJ ENM our Korean formats line up really shines out and has started to travel around the territories more. But there are other titles in our catalogue that continue to attract a lot of attention for adaptation, like Honour from Sweden, Sugar Daddy from Ukraine, and the Russian series Silver Spoon - it is a slightly older title, but it is so strong as a format and we are currently negotiating a new adaptation in the CEE region that we hope to announce soon!
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