Enjoy Istanbul with Marc Guillet

Turkish drama is family oriented

10 Mar
Written by Marc Guillet
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Kanal D International Sales Executive Kerim Emrah Turna about the recipe of producing a television drama series with an ongoing success.

Photo: Slawomira Kozieniec

in: Disbook #4 March 2014

Kanal D is one of the major national TV channels in Turkey and it produces some of the best rated series. They are marketing their series all over the world and their hit shows have been sold to more than 70 different countries.

That’s why Kerim Emrah Turna, International Sales Executive of Kanal D, is a busy man. He is travelling a lot. Disbook was happy to catch up with him and get the latest updates on all the successful series.

Kanal D is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In the local market it is known as a general entertainment channel, famous for its Turkish drama series. “Kanal D changed the structure of the Turkish drama series, made them popular, not only in Turkey but abroad as well”, Turna says. “We are number one with our productions and new drama series. We have a lot of different assets, newspapers, magazines. So with this synergy we have a lot of influence. In Romania we started our own TV channel.”

Turkish drama series are Kanal D’s signature in the Turkish broadcasting space. Turna: “We are also producing a lot of daily shows. We are a pioneer in health care shows with doctors giving advice, already for five seasons. Another very successful one is ‘The Shopping Monsters’ in the afternoons, about women who are addicted to shopping. This show sells very well abroad. Seda Sayan’s show is hugely popular as well; she is the Turkish Oprah Winfrey.”

In the prime time slots Kanal D has different drama series, a different genre every night. The police series ‘Arka Sokaklar’ (The Back Streets) is already in its 7th year and is even increasing its popularity. Why? “This series has all the elements that make a production an ongoing success”, Turna explains. “1. No complicated story lines, 2. Easy to catch up, 3. Strong father characters and closely knit families is what Turkish audiences love in drama series.”

News of Kanal D is most watched news show. Ratings show that people trust the channel: all ages and social groups, and all education levels. The channel has 15 different new drama series in the pipeline, Turna reveals.

He points out that the size of the advertisement market is only 3 billion US dollars. Very small compared to European countries. “We have lower budgets than in European countries. Our solution is that we have longer episodes of 90 to 110 minutes, because we need more slots for ads. The rule is 12 minutes of ads in every 60 minutes, like in Europe. Turkish TV drama is quite new. It really took off in 2005. A strong Turkish title beats any foreign production in sense of ratings. The main characteristic of Turkish drama is that it is family oriented. We make sure that the whole family, from kids to seniors, wants to watch the show together. We are targeting all the different age groups.”

The Balkans, Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Asia and the Middle East are the main markets for Kanal D. Some of their top shows are: 1. ‘Kuzey Güney’; 2. ‘Fatmagül’, based on Vedat Türkali’s novel, Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?, which was made into a film in 1986, about Fatmagül who lives in a coast town with her naive brother Rahmi and his wife Mukaddes; 3. ‘Time Goes By’, set in the 1960s and revolves around Ali Akarsu who works as the captain of a ship. He is married to Cemile and they have 4 children.

International Sales Executive Kerim Emrah Turna is also excited about the newest top shows of Kanal D. He mentions ‘Secrets’, a story of a perfect family that is being devastated due to the kidnapping of their beloved son; and ‘Love’, a love triangle drama, a struggle between rich and poor, the reality of life and death.

And last but not least in the impressive list of recent hit series of Kanal D Turna proudly talks about ‘Waiting For The Sun’, a 2013 romantic drama series about Demet, a self-sacrificing woman who has raised her daughter Zeynep as a single parent.

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