The outlook for digital terrestrial television in Turkey

This post is a copy of my analyst friend Constantinos Papavassilopoulos from IHS Markit. The original copy of this article has been first publish on IHS website.

The outlook for digital terrestrial television in Turkey

Turkey broadcasts its TV signals via the four major platforms (cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial). The majority of these broadcasts are digital with the exception of broadcasts made via the terrestrial platform and a dwindling number of analogue cable broadcasts.  Turkey is well on track to fully digitize its cable infrastructure. Analogue cable broadcasts represent a quarter of total cable by the end of 2016 and the country is expected to complete the switchover to digital by the end of 2018, according to IHS Markit.

Turkey remains the only European country who has not officially launched a DTT service following Moldova’s launch of its first DTT service in November 2016. Turkey’s DTT delay puts the whole digital transition process in jeopardy, as the country is at risk of missing the final internationally-agreed deadline for switching-off its analogue TV signals, which is 17 June 2020. Missing the deadline may have serious implications for the whole TV industry in Turkey.

Our Analysis

Turkey has made preparations for the introduction of DTT: In 2011 the Turkish parliament passed a new legal framework (Law No 6112/2011), which sets the main legal requirements for DTT service providers. The Law stipulates DTT licence holders must complete the transition to digital two-years after launch. Media regulator RTUK issued the Digital Switchover Plan which outlined a timetable for switching-off analogue signals on a region-by-region basis. The Law foresaw the creation of a single DTT network operator, responsible for rolling-out the DTT network nationwide and managed as a joint company between the public service broadcaster TRT and the major national commercial broadcasters.

The Digital Switchover Plan foresaw the allocation of eight multiplexes to the DTT platform. Six were earmarked for existing national commercial broadcasters, one for public-service broadcaster TRT and one multiplex to carry the channels of regional and local broadcasters.

DTT channel licences were to be allocated via an auction held by RTUK. On April 2013, RTUK awarded 33 DTT national licences, 11 of them in HD and 22 in SD. The auction generated 872 million Turkish Lira ($436 million). However, a year after the auction, the Supreme Court of Turkey suspended the results of the auction and cancelled all DTT licences, citing irregularities with the licensing process.

The cancellation of the DTT licences created huge uncertainty and subsequently the national commercial TV broadcasters expressed reluctance to commit any funds for the DTT network. The reluctance, in a large part, came after the national commercial TV broadcasters signed carriage deals for the delivery of their channels via competing platforms (cable, IPTV and satellite). The commercial broadcasters claim they now have no real incentive to invest in the DTT platform. Furthermore, broadcasters argue Turkey is predominantly fit for satellite and DTT will not be a viable alternative. Satellite (free and pay) penetration of primary TV households reached 79% by the end of 2016, and IHS Markit forecast will remain the  dominant platform in Turkey in 2021 (77.2% penetration of primary TV HHs according to IHS Markit).

The IPTV platform is growing in Turkey, attracting half a million new subscribers between 2013 and 2016, which increased its subscriber base from 286,000 to 732,000 respectively. IHS Markit forecasts the IPTV platform will more than double its subscriber base by 2021, increasing to 1.63 million, largely due to the intense competition between Turk Telekom and Turkcell driving new products and promotions in a bid for new customers.

Can Turkey really afford not to develop a DTT platform? The majority of European countries have launched a viable DTT platform. Having said this, countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, have opted for a very limited development of their DTT platform. DTT represents less than 2% of primary TV HHs in many MENA countries.  Turkey shares several characteristics with the MENA countries, particularly the dominance of the satellite platform for TV broadcasts.

However,Turkey must auction the UHF frequencies currently occupied by analogue terrestrial broadcasting. The auction will provide the Turkish government with much need revenue.  Turkey auctioned the 800 MHz spectrum (the so-called Digital Dividend 1.0 that is the frequencies 790-862 MHz) in August 2015, generating $3.7 billion from the three successful bidders, namely telcos Turk Telekom, Turkcell and Vodafone. Internationally, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommends the 700 MHz spectrum (the Digital Dividend 2.0 or frequencies 694-790 MHz) should be allocated to mobile broadband operators before 2022. For Turkey to successfully auction this spectrum it has to clear it from any analogue or digital terrestrial broadcasting. Therefore, some form of digital transition is needed.

IHS Markit continues to closely follow development of the DTT platform in Turkey via contact with broadcasters and the media regulator RTUK. Apart from some pilot projects in Ankara and Istanbul, the latest developments indicate the process has stalled and the future of the DTT platform in Turkey remains unclear.

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.

The process regarding the Regional and Local Terrestrial Digital TV Tender has been suspended

Herebelow you will see the announcement from RTUK(Regulatory body for TV and Radio broadcast) website. Here is the translation.

The process regarding the Regional and Local Terrestrial Digital TV Tender has been suspended.

The cancellation decisions made by the associated courts regarding the suit of broadcasters has been approved. Hence the ‚National Terrestrial Digital Television Broadcasting Lisence Tender‘ that has been executed by RTUK has been suspended.

This means that the earlier target date of March 2015 for ASO is clearly not achievable. Besides, no one can forsee the potential date for Digital Terrestrial Television at all.

I suppose Digital Switchover will not be accomplished before 2020 in Turkey considering how slow the process is.

Bölgesel ve Yerel Karasal Sayısal TV İhalelerine ilişkin işlemler durdurulmuştur

Üst Kurulca 2013 yılında gerçekleştirilen, “Ulusal Karasal Sayısal Televizyon Yayın Lisansı Sıralama İhaleleri” hakkında, yayıncı kuruluşlarca açılan davalar sonucunda ilgili mahkemelerce verilen iptal kararları, Danıştay 13. Dairesinin 10/09/2014 tarih, 2013/1055 E., 2013/1014E ve2014/159 E. Sayılı kararları ile onanmış olup, Bölgesel (T2) ve Yerel (T3) Karasal Sayısal Televizyon Yayın Lisansı Sıralama İhalelerine ilişkin işlemler durdurulmuştur.

İlgililerin dikkatine sunulur.


Tarih: 06 Ocak 2015

Sayı: 17420072.621.02/05-63 twitter account

I’ve just launched a twitter account for (@turkishtvmarket)

This account is getting fed automatically when a new post has been published on

I strongly recommend you to follow this acccount in order to stay updated with latest developments on exciting Turkish TV Market.


Turkish TV Market Training Course (In a Nutshell)

Turkish TV Market Training Course (In a Nutshell)

Course Method : 

The course consists of a 2 days of face to face (also potentially online) teaching designed as 4 different modules. Each module focuses on a different aspect of Turkish TV Market.

Course Description:

This  training course is mainly focused on Turkish TV Market.  The audiences will have an overall understanding of digital TV technologies, the changing behaviour of Turkish TV audiences, brand-new services delivered via internet and how the impact of broadband will transform Turkish media industry as a whole.  The participants are expected to understand and practice basics of digital television platforms in Turkey, to get familiar about new generation TV services, applications & technologies from broadcaster and consumer perspective.

Who should attend:

This course is appropriate for television professionals (including equipment manufacturers, content providers, technologists, and service providers), product developers, second screen application developers, user experience professionals, internet video technologists, video product managers and analysts who have an interest in Turkish TV market.

Course Outline:

  • Day 1 :
    • Module 1: TV Fundamentals 
      • Value Chain > Content Acquisition/Ingestion. Transcoding, Delivery via Satellite/Cable/IP,  Customer promises devices ( satellite dish routers, STBs, TV sets)
      • Video formats > Analog, SD, HD, 3D, 4K, 8K
      • Video compression > MPEG-2, H.264, H.265 etc.
      • Set-top-box > Satellite/Cable/Terrestrial/IPTV. Block Diagram, Components, Services
    • Module 2:  Brief overview of Turkish TV Market
      • Digital TV Platforms
      • TV Reception breakdown
      • Competition, Market Shares, Service Offers
      • Technology & Products
      • DTT Switchover (Analog Switch off)
      • Rumours
  • Day 2 :
    • Module 3: OTT Market in Turkey 
      • Major OTT Players
      • Internet Service Providers
      • Broadband Average Speed
      • Do’s & Don’ts
    • Module 4:  Content Business in Turkey
      • Content offerings of digital platforms
      • Content rights (i.e. Sports)
      • Market specific conditions
      • Latest developments from content provider’s perspective

Please drop me an email to further discuss details of the course and reserve your seat. ( )

Please note that this is just a draft agenda. I’m totally flexible. It can be adjusted based on your needs.


2014 on

It’s been almost 1 year since has been launched. More than 100 people from all over the world subscribed to my newsletter.  It’s really great to have such an interest on this particular area. Herebelow you will find the most popular posts in 2014.


Stay tuned in 2015 for getting a global picture of Turkish TV Market 🙂

TTNet announced new movie channels line named as Sinetivi

TTNet’s TV service Tivibu has just launch brand-new movie channels line named as Sinetivi. The new channels are:

  • Sinetivi, Sinetivi 2,
  • Sinetivi Adrenalin, Sinetivi Adrenalin 2,
  • Sinetivi Karnaval, Sinetivi Karnaval 2


Hence, Tivibu with 24 movie channels has become the TV service with most movie channels. TTNet announced that there will be a total of 2500 movies available to their customers in 2015 of which 1000 will be available in Sinetivi channels.

TTNet’s Marketing VP N.Mert Basar and Content Director Volkan Üst organised a meeting past week where they shared details about new announcement.

So far, TTNet had acquired around 5000 movies from local producers like BKM, TAFF, Camasirhane, Fida, Avsar, TCM , Boyut Film as well as worldwide studios like 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, MGM, NBC Universal.

Sinetivi channels will be on-air 7/24 with both original and Turkish audio language coupled with Turkish subtitle option.



Turkish Pay-TV Market 2014 Report is ready!

Turkey 2014 Pay-TV Market Report is ready now.


This is by far the most comprehensive and in-depth report on Turkish Pay-TV market.

If you would like to get an electronic copy of this unique report please drop an email to for further discussion!

You can see `table of contents` and `executive summary` sections of the report here.