ATV stays true to traditional Turkish dramas

ATV Distribution will arrive at Miptv 2022 with powerful traditional dramas such as Destan, a great success of the season, and the recent Your Honor and Hidden Wings.

Even with the advent of streaming platforms, ATV has kept its focus on what has made Turkish dramas one of the most sough-after TV content of the last decade: strong dramatic stories.

Titles like Lifeline or Hercai have been powerhouses for the company, both locally and internationally, where its distribution arm have found success all over the world, including digitally, with recent deals with the Arab world platform Noor Play.

“Other channels in Turkey are trying some lighter dramas, but in ATV we have always focused on strong dramas, because they are working very well locally and internationally,” explains Emre Görentaş, Sales Deputy Manager for North & South America, MENA at ATV Distribution. “Having a lighter drama might be an advantage for the local market, but internationally, what really works, are the strong dramas”.

With that in mind, ATV Distribution arrives to MIPTV 2022 with powerful stories like Destan, Lone Wolf and For My Family, alongside fresh titles, like Your Honor and Hidden Wings.

Destan was one of the biggest title for ATV during this season. How did the title fared locally and internationally?

Destan started its journey at the beginning of the season and we have produced 20 original episodes so far. We are very happy with its performance; is the number one show on Tuesday’s primetime. There is also huge international attention for the series. We have been able to close some deals, including for Latam, but, because of the confidential agreements, I’m unable to announce the name of the channels and countries at the moment. I can share that Destan will be premiering very soon in Latam.

How many countries have acquired the title?

Because the story is very international and the production value is very high the title has already been sold to more than 30 countries. Is has also been broadcasted in the platform Noor Play, with each episode premiering at the same time that the local broadcast.

How valuable is to have Ebru Şahin as the leading actress for the series?

Having a well-known cast is very important for the series. Before producing the series we are aware of that fact, and we try to choose a well-known cast international, because international sales are very important for us and for the producers, so is valuable to have that level of attention. For Destan we have Ebru Şahin. She became very popular after Hercai, a series that was broadcasted all over the world. The story is also very good and the production value is very good, and having her on top of all that is a big advantage.

What can you share about the second season of For My Family?

For My Family is on its second season in Turkey. Season One was a great success and right after we confirmed the second one, that is being aired on Saturday’s primetime, where is doing very well. It’s also doing great digitally, where is the number one series. The series YouTube page has 3 million subscribers and each episode gathers over 10 million views. ‘For My Family’ is a heart-breaking story about four siblings that lose their parents on the same day. It’s on air on Chile, on primetime, and is performing very well.

What new shows are you taking to Cannes?

We have two upcoming shows that will be premiering in Turkey in the upcoming weeks. One is Your Honor, an adaptation of an Israeli series that have also become well-known for the US version. The story is about a respected judge whose son kills another teenager by accident. The judge tries to convince his son to turn himself in, but changes his mind once he finds out that the victim is the son of a mafia boss. He becomes worried and starts covering up the crime.

The other show is Hidden Wings, the story about a principal teacher who is starting her job in a small town and her presence there will change everything. We are very excited about these titles and want to see their results.

We are talking about strong dramas. Do you see any lighter content getting the spotlight moving forward?

To be honest, other channels in Turkey are trying some lighter dramas, but in ATV we have always focused on strong dramas, because they are working very well locally and internationally. Having a lighter drama might be an advantage for the local market, but internationally what really works are the strong dramas.

What happens with streaming platforms? How big have they become for your business? What kind of content do they seek?

If we compare it with last year, I can say we are doing 20% more business with platforms. But they still aren’t our main buyers. We might see that changing during the upcoming years, but right now our main focus, as clients, are linear TVs. Platforms are not looking for the same kind of genres that we see on linear TV. Turkey series on ATV are more like traditional strong dramas, more suitable for traditional TVs, but digital platforms are looking for less episodes, so summer or lighter content is ideal. We are producing our series for the main season with around 150 episodes, and shorter series for the summer. The second ones are the ones we work with the platforms.

After the impact of the pandemic, what do you expect for 2022 and 2023?

First, after a long time, we are really happy to attend a physical market. The worldwide economy was affected negatively, in every single country advertising budget dropped and that had an impact in our business. This year should be the last year of the pandemic, but we can’t be sure. If that is the case I believe that by next year economies should grow.

How did you adapt to the needs of buyers affected by smaller ad revenue?

We are not just a distributor, we are also a TV channel, so we understand our clients because we are sitting on both side of the tables. Our understanding of the troubles our clients faced came easy. We trust them and we know they are saying the truth when they talk about advertising budget being smaller; we had the same situation in Turkey. During these pandemic we were able to be more flexible with the license fees and support them more thanks to our libraries titles. That part of the business was affected positively, I can say. For new titles, it was a rougher situation, because once production stopped in Turkey, we weren’t able to air nor deliver new content to our clients. For new titles, the pandemic was very negative.