Talking Turkey: Emerging #TVEverywhere Markets

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Straddling Europe and Asia, the Turkish television market is vast and vibrant. Until the 1990s there were only state-run channels available, but deregulation brought a glut of new channels – with a potential viewing population of close to 75 million people.

Today, Turkey’s television landscape is dominated by a handful of big channels (the three main channels enjoy a 34.6% audience share); and reception platforms are split evenly between terrestrial and satellite. As an indicator of how much the Turkish TV market is blooming, nowadays there are more than a dozen state-funded channels, and upwards of 50 privately-run national channels.

Booxmedia recently visited Turkey, and we were fortunate to meet with several local service providers and broadcast companies both in Istanbul and Ankara. Just like everywhere else, consumers in Turkey are shifting their viewing patters to mobile, tablet and other types of IP-connected devices. Broadcast TV continues to be popular, but consumers are interested in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th screens, too. Time-shifted and place-shifted services offer consumption opportunities not available before. Netflix is not yet present in the Turkish market, but they are rumoured to launch there, soon. Local players want to get their own services in shape before the ”big dogs” enter the market.

Due to a somewhat loose regulatory environment in Turkey, there are many types of services currently offered to consumers: some live streaming from the national broadcasters, selected premium content (mostly from larger service providers who have the pockets to pay for the international rights) and simple streaming/ catch-up apps from the pay-TV providers. There are no all-encompassing cloud-TV services yet available – everyone is looking at options currently.

Of course Turkey is not the only emerging market that offers opportunities for expanding OTT and #TVEverywhere services. We’re seeing a lot of exciting developments from Latin America through South Asia and eastern Asia too – as well as closer to home.

Earlier this month, Telefonica announced it would launch 11 new premium channels on its Brazilian subsidiary Vivo – as well as VoD content on the Vivo Play app and on set top boxes. Although Brazil is one of the world’s biggest television markets (Rede Globo is the second largest television network on the planet for example) there has been a marked decline in the number of television viewers in the last decade, posing a challenge for broadcasters to find new ways to engage with audiences. This was underscored by a recent study which found surfing the internet was a more popular pastime for Brazilians than watching television. So the new Vivo Brazil deal opens up vast new audiences to OTT services – leveraging the app market and legacy content on set top boxes, hoping not just to bring viewers back in front of their televisions, but make television content more popular on 2nd and 3rd screen devices as well.

Meanwhile in India, another huge market ready for growth, the focus is firmly on mobile devices. With demand rapidly rising for 3G and 4G connectivity among the country’s 845 million mobile subscribers, there are many new opportunities to provide OTT mobile content – mostly to phones, but also tablets. Currently, IPTV services are somewhat limited to just urban areas of the main cities with broadband service (more than half of all Indian households have a television set – the preferred way of watching the 800+ channels!) So in practice, only a small percentage of the potential viewers/subscribers have the option to access any OTT services at all. That’s one of the reasons why Sweden’s Eriksson has targeted India as one of its top 3 Asia growth markets.

Other more developed television markets in the Asia-Pacific region are also set for an OTT boost during 2015. Netflix will open an office in Japan – its first Asia expansion. Netflix will also debut in Australia and New Zealand next month.

And here on our doorstep in Finland, we have a huge market, where consumers are ready for more #TVEverywhere options, despite current economic troubles. 74% of Russians watch national television regularly, and there are more than 3300 channels in total. But now there are clear numbers showing a rapid rise in pay VoD services in particular in Russia: up from Rb1.13 billion in 2012; to Rb2.23 billion in the first half of 2014. Russian service providers are taking advantage of this boom. Some recent examples: cable operator ER Telecom announced the introduction of a new VoD service with thousands of films, television series and cartoons – available via their set top boxes; TV5Monde teamed up with Rostelcom to bring IPTV content to 4.5 million households; and MTS is launching a new OTT service that will target Skype and WhatsApp users in Russia at first, but could bundle programming for a mobile audience as well.

So as you can see there’s a lot of exciting developments in emerging markets, a lot of potential for companies like Booxmedia to deal with local service providers, and we are super excited about the market potential in Turkey in particular. Stay tuned for more news from there and other markets too!


— Jaakko

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