A few questions about TV industry in Turkey

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Helen Jameson who is a  freelance journalist and writer (www.spacescript.co.uk) asked me some questions about the TV industry in Turkey for an article for the Global SatShow event. Herebelow you can see her questions and my answers.

– What are the main trends that are evident in the Turkish broadcast market at the moment? Are people watching on mobile devices?

Let’s summarize the main trends in 4 pillars:

  • OTT consumption is on the rise in Turkey like the rest of the world. In Turkey, number of DSL subscribers is 7,5 million while there are 1,8 million fiber broadband users. (There are around 20 million housholds in Turkey.) On the other hand, mobile broadband penetration ratio is 62 percent. Generally speaking with its young and dynamic population Turkish people are quite engaged on OTT TV services. Also one other major shift in the industry is all the major Pay-TV operators are offering OTT extension to their legacy DTH or cable type of services. It’s fair to say that in Turkey OTT migration is more or less completed on Pay-TV operators side. OTT content watching on YouTube is increasing dramatically. Netflix is also launched last year with localization support but didn’t create much traction mostly due to the limited content depth.
  • On the other hand, the popularity of Turkish Drama series is continuing. Each season, a few tens of new series are introduced to the market while only a number of them continue till the end of the season. The export of Turkish dramas to foreign countries, especially to EMEA region is booming. Turkey is number 2 exporter of local content following the USA.
  • Digiturk, Turkey’s greatest Pay-TV operator with more than 3 million subscribers acquired digital rights of Turkish football league for another 4 years in the expense of 500 Million USD. Historically Digiturk owns the rights since 2000. Also Digiturk has been acquired by Qatar’s Bein Group.
  • Analog switch off is still not finalized and the plan for the Digital Switchover process is still unclear.

– How is linear TV in the living room faring? Is this still important to Turkish viewers?

 Absolutely! VOD consumption on big TV screen is still niche in Turkey. Turkey is clearly a satellite country with more than 70% of households are receiving TV broadcast via satellite. There are more than 10 million FTA satellite receivers installad and people are watching mostly Live TV. 

– What about content? Is content very regional or is it very much a mixture of content demand and which other countries want this content?

Similar to most of the other countries, local content is key in Turkey. Although millions of people are watching on-demand US series like “Game of Thrones” , “Westworld” etc. through illegal download or Netflix type of legal OTT services, the most watched Live TV content is either Turkish dramas or Survivor type of local shows.

– Will the Turkish broadcast industry need to make upgrades to technology and services to meet demand in the country? – Is satellite an important means of delivery of Pay TV services?

  • Yes, there are still SD decoders and the majority of the FTA channels broadcasted are in SD resolution. There are only a few 4K Ultra HD Live channels. In order to meet end user demand for OTT services fair usage policy is expected to be cancelled and broadband connectivity which is around 5 Mbps in average should be improved. On the other hand, 4K Ultra HD sets are deploying in massive numbers since a few years even if there is not much 4K services available.
  • Satellite is definetely an important medium. In Turksat satellite there are more than 500 FTA channels and satellite reception is very common. Digiturk, D-Smart, Tivibu and Filbox are DTH operators those number of customers is covering a big portion of Pay-TV market.

– Overall, how big would you say the Turkish market is?

 Turkish market is one of biggest TV market that has  a significant growth potential. Turkey has a very young and dynamic population and Turkish economy seems stable and robust in most fundemental terms although Turkish Lira is performing poor against US Dollar. Pay-TV market penetration is still around 25 percent that is much less than the European coutries. IPTV service of Turkcell (Turkcell TV+) and DTH service of TT group (Tivibu) is growing fast in the past quarters in terms of net adds. There is a strong competition in the market in terms of producing appealing content and advanced technologies like 4K Ultra HD resolution, cloud-timeshift and integration of OTT services.

– What growth do you expect to see in the market in the coming months and years?

  •  In the pay-TV space, I think Turkcell will be investing both in OTT domain and a big TV screen domain to increase the customer base and to address untapped markets. TT group on the other hand is also playing hard to monetize the digital rights of Champion League games that is still valid till the end of 2018 season. Regarding Digiturk, following the acquisition and the ownership issue is clarified now Digiturk is going through a transformation process including rebranding of the channels as well.The other players are more or less static in the past years so I’m not expecting much move.
  • On the broadcasting side, there  are a few major FTA broadcasters with nice rating figures and they are making good money thanks to the advertisement. The market size will be dependent to the ad revenue and in general other digital mediums are receiving interest that could lead to decrease in TV ad revenue. Hence, they are looking alternative ways like second screens apps in order to achieve targeted, personilized ads.
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