The Quest for a Turkish-LatAm Coproduction

Kerim Emrah Turna, executive director of Kanal D International, spoke to ttvnews about the Turkish giant’s new initiatives, including the adaptation of a Latin American telenovela and the search for coproduction opportunities with the region.

Kanal D International’s flexibility is one of its main assets as a distributor. As explained by its executive director, Kerim Emrah Turna, “being a 360 media company allows Kanal D to adapt its business models and show flexibility” in every sense of the word.

As a distributor, Kanal D International has become one of the main drivers of the growing penetration of Turkish drama around the world. In addition to new titles like Ruthless City or Azize, the company has found international success with the launch of Kanal D Drama back in 2018, its joint-project with Thema America, which recently landed in the US.

Responsible for this success is the distribution division, which also oversees the development of new business models, both in terms of local adaptations of Latin American telenovelas -the first is about to be announced-, as well as the search for co-production opportunities in Latin America.

What feedback have you gotten for the titles presented this year such as Ruthless City and Love Trap?

We have been receiving a good demand for Ruthless City, a series we launched this year at LA Screenings. We are already with the second season and the title is having excellent responses from international markets.

Love Trap is a great romantic comedy that we released during our summer season. He had the best rating results for titles released during the summer in Turkey and it was the only premiere to survive the season. We decided to continue it in the fall as well and it is overcoming the ratings of the titles that had broken audience records in previous years. We are not surprised because the title was very strong from the beginning; the audiences love him and he is number one on broadcast days.

Which are the most recent titles that have been added to the catalog?

The new titles that we are premiering soon on our channel are Azize, produced by Surec Film, and the other is a remake of House MD, which will be called locally Hekimoğlu. This title is produced by Karga Seven Productions. We are very excited for both projects. We have just released the first Azize trailer and it has been very well received by fans of the two protagonists: Bugra Gulsoy and Hande Ezcel. We have high expectations for both titles.

Soon we will be announcing a third new title that is originally from Latin America and we are very excited about it too.

Will you be adapting a Latin American telenovela?

Yes, we will do exactly that. It is one of the best known and most successfu telenovelas in Latin America, but we will announce the rest of the details soon. What I can say is that we will handle the distribution rights of the new Turkish version.

What is your present evaluation and your outlook of the future of Kanal D’s business in Latin America?

Latin America has become one of our key markets. We created big partnerships in the region and I understand that audiences accept Turkish content as if it were local programming. This gives us great possibilities since Kanal D International is the company that distributes the most hours in the region.

What we are doing in Latin America is distributing our freshest content, but we also have a high demand for titles from our library, even for second or third broadcasts, which generate excellent results for our partners. The second factor is Kanal D Drama. The channel was launched less than a year ago and has been in great demand since there is a great demand for the content it broadcasts. We are entering the US market with Comcast. It will be the greatest achievement of a Turkish company in history. We are very excited about this and we also want to increase our penetration in Latin America, where today we are in seven countries. Kanal D Drama will also be available in Europe shortly. There are many negotiations in progress.

And what place does co-production with Latin America occupy in the plans?

We are looking at co-production and co-financing opportunities with all our Latin American partners. I think there will be progress in that direction in a short time. Co-production is not simple because it is a project between two cultures and it is not easy to finance. However, at Kanal D we have one of the most powerful media organizations in Turkey and, if we talk about partnering with one of the most powerful media organizations in Latin America, we should be able to do so. The audience is asking for it so it’s our obligation to do it.

Is there any project underway?

We announced our memorandum of understanding (MDE) with Mega in Chile two years ago. There have been many advances from that side and both sides have shown interest in making them a reality. We are a 360° media company, which gives us the ability to adapt our business models and show flexibility in every way. I cannot say that we will stick only to this business model, under which we will film in Turkey or in Latin America. We can do it anywhere, with anyone and under any business model. We are a distributor, a production company and a group of TV channels.