Turkish Dramas at Mipcom Explore Edgier Subjects While Production Resumes
Turkish TV dramas have resumed production at a steady pace that has not been affected by coronavirus concerns, and although the hand of censorship is felt, the shows are getting more and more nervous.
While the pandemic brought production to a standstill in March, almost all producers had resumed filming in Turkey by September, although "around 80% of them on their teams have encountered problems with COVID-19," says Ahmet Ziyalar. President and COO of the sales and production company Inter Medya.
Inter Medya is about to shoot "Respect" ("Saygi"), a series for the Turkish streaming platform BluTV, in which the protagonist, played by Nejat Işler ("Winter Sleep"), "is a sociopath who comes from who is obsessed. " Idea of respect ”, so the summary.
According to Ziyalar, Turkish dramas are increasingly being shot for streamers, which means episodes are getting shorter - 50 minutes, while for linear television the local norm is 90 minutes or more - and the storylines are faster and more nervous.
Netflix, which dominates the Turkish OTT landscape, stopped production of its Turkish original “If Only” in July due to government censorship of a gay character in the script. However, that hasn't stopped Netflix from continuing with at least five other Turkish originals at different stages, including "Hot Skull" which, according to promotional material, "is set in a world ravaged by a madness epidemic spread through language and language. “This is another sign that Turkish television is no longer relegated to the classic telenovela realm.
Amazon Prime Video is about to enter the Turkish market and there are plans for a new local streamer to be launched by the Turkish media mogul Acun Ilicali.
However, the growth of streaming platforms does not mean that Turkish dramas produced for linear broadcasters will lose importance for both the domestic masses and for export.
"Audiences don't necessarily get used to shorter episodes," says Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director of Eccho Rights, which has a number of Turkish shows in production.
Eccho sells "The Red Room" (95 minutes each episode), which launched in September on terrestrial TV8 with excellent reviews. The focus is on a psychotherapist's office in Istanbul, where women talk about trauma caused by domestic violence like battery and rape. "Completely different from typical Turkish television," he notes.
Like another local hit, "A Miracle", the Turkish adaptation of "The Good Doctor", the worldwide hit about a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome. "A Miracle," which aired on Fox Turkey, is sold by Madd Entertainment.
Due to the pandemic, global demand for Turkish content is higher than ever and new opportunities are opening up for Turkish dramas in European prime time slots.
Malmborg is proud that this summer Fox Turkey's "Woman", in which a young widow with two children struggles with poverty and other obstacles, was broadcast as the first Turkish drama in prime time in Spain on Antena 3, where she received excellent reviews.
Similarly, Eccho's Turkish drama "Sisterhood" about three women who discover they are siblings will be set on Mediaset's flagship Canale 5 station in Italy in prime time. And the Turkish rom-com "Daydreamer", which is sold by the Global Agency, has already achieved excellent ratings for Mediaset.
The Global Agency recently acquired the worldwide rights to the hot serial killer thread "Aleph", directed by the Turkish author Emin Alper ("Frenzy"). The pay TV channel FX Turkey and the streamer BluTV caused a sensation.
Just as many other countries have stopped production due to the pandemic or suspended other, potentially more expensive acquisitions of content, Turkish dramas are attracting more and more eyeballs around the world as advertising revenues shrink.
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