Netflix cuts into Turkey with original

Reference: Digital TV Europe:

Streaming giant Netflix is getting into the original programming game in Turkey.

The Los Gatos-based SVOD service has been ramping up its activity in local markets across Europe, and has now ordered a ten-part, “hero-driven action story” based on Ottoman and Turkish legend and history.

Netflix’s drama comes from Istanbul-based O3 Medya, with company co-owner Onur Guvenata the executive producer.

It centres on a young man who discovers he has special powers before linking up with a group of misfit friends to fight dark forces that are threatening Istanbul.

Netflix VP of international original series Erik Barmack described the series as “young, fresh and exciting”, adding: “We believe that Netflix will be the perfect platform for this great Turkish production and we can’t wit to share more details later this year.”

With science fiction-themed drama rarely produced in Turkey, Guvenata said the series would create “a new genre” that would stand as “a milestone for our market”.

“It will not only resonate with the Turkish audience, but will also travel globally,” he added.

Turkey has become one of the world’s most vibrant TV markets, with its local telenovela and drama productions driving the territory to become a top three international distributor.

Companies such as Fox Networks Group, Endemol Shine and Eccho Rights, which this week sold Show TV dramaInsider to MBC in the Middle East and a number of other territories, are all active in the region.

Netflix’s new drama will sit alongside acquired Turkish series such as Magnificent Century, Ezel and Lovebird, and movies including Güneşi Gördüm (I Saw the Sun) and Kelebeğin Rüyası (The Butterfly’s Dream).

These were acquired last year as Netflix unveiled a “truly Turkish service”, and a wide-ranging deal with Vodafone’s local telecoms business.

Netflix has also localised its service in Poland, Thailand and Romania.

Tivibu continues its growth trend.

Turk Telekom Group announced 2016 year end financial results. You can see them at this link. Regarding the interest of this blog, let’s have a look to the Tivibu figures.

According to the regulatory body’s official figures, as of Q3 of 2016, Tivibu has a total of 589K subscribers. (428K IPTV customers and 161K DTH customers. )

TT announced a total of 677 subscribers at the end of Q4 2016. We don’t have yet the split of this number but most probably the majority of the net additions comes from satellite domain.

Tivibu customer base was kind of stucked before the launch of satelllite service at the Q3 of 2015. Since then Tivibu gained a momentum and has reached more than 2 million subs including the OTT customers. DTH service allowed TT to provide the DTH service to any household with a satellite dish. Satellite is the most common delivery method of Digital TV services in Turkey.

Turkcell Superonline celebretes 1 million Broadband & TV+ customers

Turkcell Superonline fiber internet service and Turkcell TV+ service have both surpassed 1 million subscriber threshold. The homepass for fiber broadband service is 2,6 million households now in 15 cities out of 81 cities in Turkey.

In order to celebrate this milestone, during December 2016 Turkcell will be upgrading the broadband speed of all the customers to 100 Mbps bandwidth. Similarly, Turkcell TV+ users will be authorized to watch all the channels independently form their content package within December. You can watch the press release video here. (in Turkish)

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-21-26-08

Turkcell’s multiscreen TV platformu  Turkcell TV+ has reached 1 million customers as the end of October. Thanks to the 4.5 technology the average watching time on mobile clients has reached to 28 minutes per day.  The total download of the mobile Android and iOS clients already reached to 2.5 million. Premier League and NBA official broadcaster Turkcell TV+ is also delivering 2 4K Ultra HD Live TV channes together with the brand new 4K STBs.

100 thousand customers with a single invoice

Turkcell is offering a special bundle package that includes a complete set of solutions. It has 50 Mbps limitless internet (with a 125 GB fair usage quota) 4 GB mobile broadband, 500 minutes voice, 1000 SMS, and Turkcell TV+ offer, This complete package only costs 99 TRY. This package already had 100K subscribers in quite short time.

"Digital Platforms" course midterm exam in Kadir Has University, Istanbul

I’ve been teaching a course in Kadir Has University Istanbul/Turkey at Communications Faculty, New Media department. This semester is the 3rd time I’ve been teaching the course called as “Digital Platforms“.  Every semester, there is one midterm and one final exam. If you like you can see the exams of earlier years herebelow.

This week, we had the midterm exam for this semester 2016 Fall. I’ve copied the questions and potential answers as below.

KADIR HAS UNIVERSITY

NM 423: DIGITAL PLATFORMS

FALL 2016 MIDTERM EXAM

  1. Pay-TV platforms:

a.) List down all the pay-TV platforms available in Turkey together with number of up-to-date subscribers? Also you should mention about the media they are using (satellite, IP etc.) (10 points)

  • Digiturk (Satellite) : ~3 million subs
  • Teledunya (Cable) : ~1151K subs
  • D-Smart (Satellite) : ~925K subs
  • Tivibu (IP+Satellite) : 545K subs
  • Turkcell TV+ (IP): 303K subs
  • Filbox (Satellite) : 35K subs

b) Considering the new Football League Broadcasting rights tender that will take next week which one is more likely to win and why? Please explain with solid arguments. (10 points)

As I’m currently a Turkcell employee, I’d prefer not to comment on this hot topic in order to avoid any misinterpretation 🙂

  1. OTT-1 : If I were somebody totally unfamiliar with the term OTT (Over-the-top) TV, how would you explain to me what it is and how it has changed the TV industry as a whole? (20 points)

OTT TV could be defined as the delivery of video content over the open internet without the involvement of any telco in the control. OTT TV has changed the TV industry in significant ways.

It allowed content providers/aggregators to deliver their content/services directly to end users. As opposed to the legacy cable or satellite businesses where the Pay-TV operators needs to make a significant amount of investment, OTT TV providers don’t need to have their own infrastructure. They don’t need to worry about scalibility. They are simply benefiting from the existing pipes of legacy telcos which enabled them to achieve very fast Time to Market periods. As a result, end users had a variety of alternatives on top of old DTH services which lead the new concept of ‘cord-cutters’. Incumbent DTH and cable operators first saw OTT TV providers as a threat. They then started increasing to lose customers. On the last few years they started to see them as potential partners to enrich their content offering.

  1. OTT-2: Globally who is the greatest digital video platform? What makes it the greatest one? What are the competitive advantages compared to the other alternatives? Please explain with solid arguments. (20 points)

Obviously YouTube is the greatest digital video platform in the world. Every minute 60 hours of video is  uploaded to YouTube. Even this simple data tells us about the variety and richness of YouTube’s content portfolio. YouTube who is a Google company comes as an native application on Android phones.  Hence, it has a dramatic competitive advantage in terms of engagement compared to the other alternatives such as Vimeo, Dailymotion etc. Also YouTube is accessible from a lot of consumer electronic devices which serves as another booster to customer interest. YouTube has lots video channels that users could subscribe to and in return generate revenue for the content owners based on the number of views. This allowed content providers to create their own ecosystem that is constantly growing. YouTube which its ever evolving User interface provides a nice, simple and convenient user experience which is consistent through all different devices. Today YouTube allows content providers to upload 4K, 360 VR and even HDR contents and simply the most advanced digital platform.

  1. Netflix: There are lots of OTT services available in Turkey i.e. Tivibu, DigiturkPlay, BluTV etc.  Among these Netflix has a unique position? What makes Netflix so special? What are the competitive advantages compared to the other alternatives? Please explain with solid arguments. (20 points)

There are a certain number of reason why Netflix is special. First of all, it’s the only global SVOD service . Thanks to having tens of millions of active users Netflix could collect user data from all over the world and benefit those for constantly improving the user experience it’s delivering. It’s far beyond the competition in terms of recommendation engine and personalization.  Additionally, it’s hosting Netflix Originals content. In other words, it’s beyond a content aggregator, it’s producing content. (House of Cards, Narcos etc.) Netflix has a superior technology that is allowing to deliver enhanced video quality coupled with its own CDN infrastructure. Netflix is available on a lots of consumer devices which increases the engagement of its subscribers significantly. It’s one of the global lovemarks whose bandwidth usage in USA is more than 37% at peak times. It’s content library in Turkey is hosting more than thousands of TV shows and movies. Having said all those advantages, it’s a known disadvantage. It doesn’t offer neither Live TV nor premium sports content unlike Digiturk etc.

  1. Smart TV: There are a number of popular Smart TV brands on the market i.e. Samsung, Sony, LG, Arcelik, Vestel etc. Some of the Pay-TV operators (Digiturk , Tivibu etc.) are also offering Smart TV applications as an alternative to STB solution. Nevertheless, what we are witnessing is there is no real success story on the market. What are the main reasons for this? Why Smart TV app of Pay-TV operators did not attract huge interest, why they are still deploying STBs? Please explain with solid arguments. (20 points)

The main reason is the lack of internet connectivity of the Smart TVs. Typical Turkish audiences is seeing TV sets as big monitors rather than expecting the similar level of smartness like mobile phones. If Smart TV is not connected or the internet connection is not reliable it’s not feasible to deliver a service-grade TV service to paying customers.  Secondly, there is a huge amount of fragmentation on Smart TV space. There are lots of different TV brands most of them having their own technology stack and dependencies. Also the average life cycle of Smart TVs are around 7 years which makes it quite inefficient to maintain old legacy TV platforms. In general, Pay-TV operators are willing to design and deploy their own unique user experience (with well defined, tested UI and remote control). However,  Smart TV apps mostly depend on the performance and limitation of TV sets which is very complex to keep under control. The overall experience is defined mostly by the Smart TV manufacturer. Lastly. if any customer happens to experience a major issue regarding the service quality or for various marketing reasons, operators would like to manage the customer device (ideally remotely). This is relatively easier to handle with STBs instead of TVs designed and produced a 3rd party.

BREAKING: New tender for Turkish Football rights is on 25th of November

Link in Turkish

Yesterday, the president of Turkish Football Federation(TFF) announced that the new tender for the content rights of Turkish Football League will be issued on 25 November 2016.  

1429874-30594335-2560-1440

The RFQ specifications will be announced around the end of this month. As of today, 5 local and 1 European company has completed their application to participate to the tender. The local ones are probablyTurkcell, Digiturk, D-Smart, Turk Telekom and Vodafone. The validity for the new tender will be probably 4+1 years starting from 2017-2018 football season.

The federation is expecting the tender to be finalized around 600 million USD per year. The legacy content owner Digiturk has acquired the rights at the expense of 321 million USD per year (424 million USD including taxes, federation fee and organization fee) in 2010. Demiroren stated that they decided to decrease TFF’s fee from 12 percent to 4 percent. It’s unclear that the declared expected quotation of 600 million USD is including all the costs.

It’s been emphasized that TFF is cooperating with consultants who actively worked on Premier Leauge’s tender. Obviously, TFF will target to maximize the revenue. Hence, it will be no surprise if they design the tender similiar to Premier League case.

Turkcell TV+ acquired content rights of English Premier League for 3 years

At the beginning of September when the Premier League starts Turkish audiences had an puzzling situation since it was not clear enough which Pay-TV operator had the content rights. Digiturk which was the legacy owner of the rights did not have it for this season at that time. It was a local company called Saran Media who had the rights for Turkey region. At first, Digiturk and Saran Media could not come to an agreement. Later on D-Smart announced that they had the rights of EPL. Shortly after both Turkcell TV+ and Digiturk acquired the media rights for 3 years.

Herebelow I’d like to share the insightful analysis of my friend Constantinos from IHS Markit.

Turkcell moves further into pay TV with Premier League rights deal

September 09, 2016  |

Constantinos PapavassilopoulosConstantinos PapavassilopoulosSenior Analyst, Televison Media

Turkcell, the Turkish mobile telecoms operator, has acquired the exclusive media rights for the English Premier League in Turkey for the period 2016 to 2019. Turkcell – the largest mobile operator in Turkey – became the sole broadcaster for the rights following a sublicensing agreement with Saran Media Agency which acquired the rights in January.

Turkcell and Saran Media Agency did not release financial information on the agreement. Turkcell will offer matches via its Turkcell TV Plus IPTV and OTT (fixed and mobile) platforms. Having seen strong growth in its TV services, Turkcell is now expected to bid for the rights to the Süper Lig, Turkey’s domestic football league.

Our analysis

The acquisition of the Premier League rights steps up Turkcell’s involvement in the TV business in Turkey. It marks the first time that the Turkish telco has entered the sports rights market, let alone the premium sports rights market. Up to now, Turkcell TV Plus offered no premium entertainment or sports content. Turkcell TV Plus offers a total of six packages, including a Cinema TV pack and MUBI Film pack), but the telco does not control any first window rights for movies or foreign TV series.

According to IHS Markit Technology data, Turkcell had 34 million mobile customers at the end of 2015, representing a market share of 46.47%. In October 2014 it launched its TV offer, branded as Turkcell TV Plus. This move has paid off as it has managed to almost quadruple subscriber numbers from 60,000 in 2014 to 224,000 in 2015. At the end of 2015, around 150,000 of these were primary IPTV subscribers while another 74,000 IPTV customers also subscribe to another pay TV operator (mainly Digitürk). Its OTT service, called also Turkcell TV Plus, has been even more successful so far, having managed to attract 411,000 subscribers by Q1 2016. A precondition for access to the OTT service is to be a Turkcell Superonline subscriber (either ADSL or Fiber) or a Turkcell 4G subscriber. The OTT service is accessible in Turkey via Apple & Android smart-phones & tablets, PCs, Laptops and a range of connected TVs (Samsung, Grundig, LG, Beko, Vestel).

Turkcell’s strategy is to enrich its TV proposition further, and IHS Markit expects the telco to bid aggressively in the forthcoming tender for the media rights of the Süper Lig (Turkey’s football league). The current rights holder is Digitürk but its contract period expires at the end of the 2016-17 football season and a new tender is expected to be launched in the coming months. For Turkcell, football would be an ideal way of leveraging its €1.62 billion investment in acquiring 172 MHz of spectrum. Turkcell has already started rolling out a 4.5G LTE network across Turkey, providing mobile broadband with speeds of up to 375 Mbit/s, and has experimented with broadcasting sports content via its mobile network, delivering HD video streams of a basketball match over its LTE network in May this year.

Turkcell is following the steps of the other big telco in the country, Turk Telekom, which has exploited sports content as a strategic asset in order to boost its bundled service. Turk Telekom has managed to reverse a downward trend in its IPTV subscribers’ figures, from 308,000 in Q1 2014 to 282,000 in Q1 2015, by acquiring the rights for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League for the period 2015 to 2018. Turk Telekom’s IPTV subscribers at Q1 2016 stood at 351,000, a 25% rise year-on-year.

Reports in the Turkish media indicate that Turk Telekom is also expected to bid for acquiring the rights for Turkish football. However, both telcos will face tough competition from Digitürk, which has been acquired by the Qatari-based BeIn Media Group. The current value of the Süper Lig rights stands at €406 million per year.

e-interview with my friend from IHS Markit

My friend Constantinos from IHS Markit made an e-interview with me. I’m now sharing the script of this interview with my readers herebelow:

What is the current state of the OTT Market in Turkey? Is it a very niche market, with no real impact on the subscribers of the Pay TV players (like Digiturk, D-Smart, Turk Telekom, Turksat)? It has a very small percentage of subscribers, let ‘say less than 1% of the Pay TV Market?

If the OTT landscape in Turkey is examined deeply it’s seen that it is mainly dominated by OTT extensions of the legacy Pay-TV operators. In other words, the majority of the OTT consumption is done by the services provided by Pay TV players, hence almost no impact on the major players. Digiturk, Turksat, TT and Turkcell are all offering their OTT services as a bonus to the main TV offering. D-Smart’s BluTV is kind of different in the sense that with the new organisation and ambition Dogan Group is trying to position BluTV as a isolated product apart from D-Smart but they are still struggling. On top of this, there are still a number of independent OTT players like Netflix, Filmbox etc but due to the lack of marketing power and brand awareness they are not that competent and hardly gain new customers. Overall, taking into account the total number of OTT users in Turkey they could arrive up to 2,6 million mainly powered by TT and Turkcell TV+ customers while the global pay-TV market in Turkey is close to 6 million.

Here are the up-to-date figures:

Tivibu GO: 1,927 million as of Q1, 2016. Reference is the link below

http://www.ttinvestorrelations.com/financial-operational-information/fact-sheet.aspx

Turkcell TV+: 679K as of April, 2016. Reference page 16 at the presentation below.

http://s1.turkcell.com.tr/hakkimizda/en/yatirimciiliskileri/InvestorPresentationLibrary/Turkcell-Investor-Presentation-June-2016.pdf

If you add just the OTT subs of Tivibu GO and Turkcell TV+, it makes almost 2,6 million. The next question is how active are these people, what is average amount of time they spend on OTT services etc. 

· Both Turk Telekom (Tivibu Web) and D-Smart (BluTV) have launched standalone OTT services (I mean OTT services offered outside of their Pay TV subscribers’ base, offered to anyone interested without having to be a subscriber). Do you see Digiturk launching something similar in the near term, before the end of 2016?

Actually Digiturk already has such a OTT only service called Digiturk Play to which anybody without any Set-top-box could login to. 

There are mainly 3 packages:

– free package

– cinema package: 4,99 TL (9,99 TL if you’d like to watch also on Smart TV)

– premium package: 12,99 TLm (19,99 TL if you’d like to watch also on Smart TV)

· Is Netflix a threat or an opportunity to grow the Turkish online video market? It can be an opportunity by educating the Turkish people to conduct transactions online, to pay online for watching TV content on any device and in general to spread the use of devices used to watch TV content (tablets, smart-phones, game consoles, connected TVs). What do you think?

Frankly, Netflix was a quite sexy brand in Turkey before the kickoff of global expansion in January 2016. A lot of people in the industry was referring to Netflix as a extremely successful case study. Nevertheless, in the past 6 months since the launch of the service in Turkey, Netflix simply disappointed Turkish consumers. It’s basically because of the limited content portfolio as opposed to the content depth in US , lack of localisation (dubbing,subtitle) and quite high pricing level for Turkish consumers. It’s also worth to mention that piracy is significantly common in Turkey. But still Netflix is definitely an opportunity in Turkey since from content strategy point of view, from technology point of view, from content marketing point of view as well as user experience point of view there are a lot of things to learn from Netflix for the Pay-TV players in Turkey. Definitely, it will fuel the overall market development in many aspects over the coming months and years. Today, we are all witnessing that the number of localised Netflix content is constantly increasing. As the number of people using Netflix increases, this will also support the maturity of the end-to-end OTT value chain in general.

· Which is the OTT strategy for big broadcasting groups like Dogan, Dogus, Kalyon Group and Ciner? How is Dogus plan to further benefit from tvyo?

I do not have in depth information about this. But what I see in general is big broadcasters are mostly trying to leverage YouTube to make their VOD catch-up content widely available and monetising by ad revenue. Tvyo is kind of silent since some time with no major improvement on the service.

· What about the regulation of OTT services? Is in place relevant regulation in Turkey? If not, do you think that regulating these services will be beneficial for their growth or not? I am asking because in Turkey there have been attempts to regulate Facebook and Twitter recently.

Yes, I hear that RTUK is actively working on regulation of OTT market but i see it quite challenging to regulate the OTT space. The ultimate target is probably license OTT providers in some ways but considering low revenue low margin characteristic’s of OTT market, it think it will not help to market growth.

· Finally, how do you see the OTT Market developing in Turkey in the next 2,5 years, till the end of 2018? Do you see it growing fast, much faster than some developed European markets? Or with a much smaller pace, like the Middle East? And which factors will drive the growth and acceptance by the public of OTT services.

I think it will grow fast over the coming years. The rationale behind this is the upcoming tender about football broadcasting rights around the end of the year. Based on the statements of Turkcell one can expect Turkcell will become quite aggressive in the tender and leverage on its superior 4.5 Spectrum capacity in order to deliver football content to mass market. Also, the increasing broadband speed and coverage coupled with the expected increase on the fair usage cap will fuel the growth of OTT market.

 

 

 

My two cents about Turkish TV Market

You may already know my dear friend Özgur Coşar. He is the owner of the website http://tvtechtr.blogspot.com.tr where he writes on a variety of topics on Turkish TV&Radio market. I strongly recommend you to have an eye on his website. Past week he’d asked me to make an e-interview and came up with a number of questions. Following that I wrote down my personal view in return and Ozgur then published it in his blog.  Herebelow you can find the copy of the interview:

It is my pleasure to introduce you Mr. Uygar BOYNUDELİK. He is a friend of mine who is working in the media business in Turkey.
 

1. Dear Mr. Boynudelik, let me start with a classical question. Can you please introduce yourself for my readers. 

Dear Özgür, let me first start by thanking you for regularly writing blog posts and being so sincere and transparent and open-hearted as opposed to the general positioning in the industry. Frankly, I’m a fan of yours, truly 🙂 Anyway, I can simply call myself an engineer who is quite interested in TV technologies. I’m really enjoying reading, writing, researching about it. This is what I do for a living (I’m in charge of STB product management in Turkcell) and also my beloved hobby. I keep writing on www.uygarboynudelik.com in Turkish and on www.turkishtvmarket.info in English since many years. I encourage your readers to have a look my web sites, at the end we’re living in a small industry 🙂

2. When we look at the pay TV business in Europe we see that majority of the population is subscribed to one of the offers. However, in Turkey, payTV has just 35 % market share. According to you what is the main difference between the markets?


Let’s me first start with a quick summary of the Pay-TV market in Turkey. Based on the latest report by BTK (regulatory body in Turkey) the Pay-TV subscribers are categorized as follows:
DTH:
  • Digiturk: 2,79 mio
  • D-Smart:  931K
  • Filbox: 29K
  • Tivibu uydu: 116K
Cable:
  • Turksat Cable: 1,16 mio
IPTV:
  • TTNet: 350K
  • Turkcell TV+: 268K
In total, the number of Pay-TV subs are 5,6 million. Actually there are households with more than 1 subscription. Anyway for the sake of simplicity let’s consider there are around 20 million households, then market penetration is calculated as 28 percent. This is simply the ratio of households with Pay-TV subscription. There are certainly homes with OTT services only such as Netflix, Apple TV etc. Nevertheless, from my perspective the Pay-TV rollout should be calculated with this methodology. After this relatively long introduction, coming back to your question my short answer will be the main difference about the market maturity is simply the average income level of the population. If you compare income per capita in Western Europe to Turkey you’ll notice that income per capita is roughly four times bigger in Europe. I see the gap between average income level as the main reason. Secondly, the high level of piracy is another reason, it’s quite difficult to sell content in Turkey while there are tons of free-of-charge, good quality content on the internet. Thirdly, the negative experience people had with various operators are another barrier for the Pay-TV market to grow. People had suffered a lot due to long-lasting and tiring cancellation processes, miscalculated or miscommunicated surprising bills, not best-in-class customer care cycles etc. All these stuff somehow caused people to try to stay away from 24-hours commitment type of Pay-TV offers.

3. Cable, satellite & terrestrial are used nearly 30 % each for TV reception in Europe. As you well know, in Turkey, TV reception is mainly depended on satellite. What are the results of this situation?

That is a very good point Özgur. I think Turkey is kind of unique with this split. If you don’t mind I’d like to share first my two cents about the root-cause of this uniqueness, later on I’ll come back to the consequences. Historically terrestrial broadcasting has been a real mass in Turkey. The government failed to regulate the licenses and broadcasters with the political power or financial strength managed to build their own towers and broadcast their live TV channels. Considering cable space, this medium has been and still is under control of Turksat -a state-owned company- for many years and they’ve lacked to make the right level of investment to expand their footprint. Even today, cable service is only available on limited areas. On the other hand, satellite installation has been increasing constant since 15-20 years in Turkey. As the satellite dish installation coupled with ‘in China made’ cheap satellite receivers become more and more widely penetrated broadcasters started to invest to have free-to-air channels on Turksat satellite even with poor video quality. The main business model for the broadcasters was to have a free-to-air channel on air, to have the possibility to reach millions of people and try to get any possible level of rating and get the interest from advertisers. Alternatively there are a variety of tele-sales channels that are selling remarkably interesting stuff (things to increase sexual power, things supposedly heal your diseases etc.) and dating platforms. Also from time to time, we hear about lawsuits of the people who one way or another fooled by some of these channels. Today, there are almost 500 FTA channels in Turksat. I think this is not typical. Some of these channels are local, some of them are poor video quality. Coming back to the consequences, this disproportionate balance between the alternative mediums (terrestrial, satellite, cable, IP) resulted in almost to chance for Digital Terrestrial adaptation in the market which is already too much delayed. The content quality of the Live TV channels is significantly biased towards rating. The producers are focused on not producing content with high quality but content that could be appealing for the majority of the people thus bringing better ad revenue. The majority of the programs during daytime is either about matching man and woman willing to marry or Big brother type of programs with a lot of aggression. I think digital terrestrial television is dead at birth.

Many thanks for your answers & time.