ATV on the Hunt for New Territories

The need for more TV content has been answered by ATV Distribution with some of the strongest Turkish titles in the market, including long-running series like Hercai, historical dramas like The Ottoman, and the recently launched For My Family.

A challenge is also an opportunity and ATV Distribution seized the moment during 2020 answering the needs of its clients around the world for more quality content, after the pandemic halted productions and forced channels to scramble for shows.

ATV was able to respond -at “full speed”, as Müge Akar, Sales Deputy Manager for Europe, Asia, CIS, of the company, explained- thanks to the depth of their catalogue and the strength of its content.

With titles like Hercai, on its third season; the daily drama Don’t Leave Me, a new genre for the company; and even the historical drama The Ottoman, a title that had to launch during the pandemic, the distributor was ready to close many deals and enter new territories, putting them in an ideal form to face 2021, now even reinforced by new series, like the drama For My Family.

How has the company fared during these challenging months?

During these difficult times we have managed to close many deals and enter new territories as well. This period is going quite well for us, and is the same thing for the whole TV industry. The rates of people watching content, the need for consuming new content, are developing and increasing, so we try to supply the best content available from our catalogue to our clients at full speed.

Have you added new territories you’d like to highlight?

We have managed to enter Indonesia and India, and we have been quite good in Europe as well. We have started to have more deals in Africa also. It’s going pretty good for us.

Do you expect the trends of 2020 to continue during 2021? Do they differ from region to region?

The trends are the same everywhere, more or less. The channels started to look for relatively cheaper content, because they need to fill more slots than before. We are working a lot on our back catalogue. We have started to sell more of these kind of contents, but of course the new fresh content is also trending at the moment. We are also distributing our daytime drama, Dont Leave Me, which has been sold to Bulgaria recently. This series was also a new development for us, because previously we didn’t have a daytime series in our catalogue.

What can you share about the freshest content in your catalogue?

For My Family is the freshest content so far from ATV. It has been a great success for us, we launched it [in February] and it has been climbing up the ratings charts quite rapidly. Compared to the previous slot we had at that time, the ratings improved three times over. It has been very successful for us. We broadcast it on Saturdays’ primetime, which is also very important, because Saturdays are very competitive in the Turkish market: people tend to watch more entertainment shows or formats, but we launched a drama series, a regular Turkish dramas, and it has been doing so well, having reach 20% of the share, that we think the numbers will grow in the upcoming weeks as well.

We have seen in Latin America the importance of having one territory betting on a series so the rest of the neighboring countries follow its example. Does this trend repeats itself in other regions?

Yes, this domino effect is quite similar in Europe, Africa and Asia. I can tell you that with ‘Hercai’ we started in Bulgaria, it became a great success there and then we premiered in Romania, where it climbed to the number one spot since the first episode was on air. And you also know what is happening in Spain, which is great for all Turkish content, and ‘Hercai’ is also doing very good there. There is a pattern in which when a country acquires a drama, the neighbors are also interested. We see that also in the Balkans: when Albania acquires something, Macedonia and Kosovo acquired it too. It’s a trend that repeats itself in Africa and Asia.

How has the African market taken to your dramas?

Africa has been a challenge from the beginning. A very new market with low license fees that also requires some dubbing, a cost that was included in our side of the deal. It was a bit difficult to gather all these small countries in one big group and sell to them. But I think so far we have managed get in to this market and break through. Angola and Mozambique have two of our titles on air, both doing very good. There is a strong interest for The Ottoman, our historic high budget series. There is also a number of OTT and digital platforms that also acquire Turkish content at the moment and are interested in our catalogue. Africa is a growing market for us.

Do you think that digital platforms will solve some of those issues in Africa?

When you think about it, it’s about small countries and small platforms, but in the long run we believe that the African market will be a good market for the Turkish series, because we already see that the demand is very high and growing every day. We want to work more digital for Africa, and we also want to acquire new clients in the linear side as well.

What can you tell us about the phenomenon in Spain?

Spain opened up quite late for what we were expecting. We had to push a little bit there. I believe there will be more countries in Western Europe following Spain example. Italy, Portugal could be the next steps for the Turkish series. Let’s see what the future brings!

How have two of your strongest titles, Hercai and The Ottoman, worked during these last months?

Hercai has been a best-seller for us. We are happy with the results in every single country it has entered. We have sold it to more than 30 countries at the moment. In Turkey we are airing the third season and it has been a very successful show. The Ottoman, we launched it almost during the pandemic, and even so we reached 30 countries as well. It has been quite an international success. The Ottoman is the Wednesday prime time winner so we expect it to be a great hit and important option in terms of Turkish dramas genres, because you don’t have a lot of historical and high budget dramas. It’s already on air in Albania and its doing very well. It’s the number one show in TV Clan. I think this title would be the fastest growing series in 2021 for us, but we also expect a lot from For My Family, the new drama, because the international reaction is already very good and promising.