TV is main market for cinema in Turkey

ANTALYA: Television is really the main market for foreign films in Turkey and cinema is gradually only beginning to take the second place to the small screen, according to Deniz Ziya Temeltas who is director of the Eurasian Film Market at the ongoing Third International Eurasian Film Festival here.Temeltas told in an interview that Turkey at present had 13 national, 14 regional and two local channels, and therefore it was natural that these channels would form the main buyers at the market, which opened this morning.

He said apart from two digital platforms, there was the thriving Turkish cable sector, apart from the free-to-air channels. Furthermore, Turkey was strategically placed and could receive most of the East European channels. Five or six of the local channels were very popular and showed foreign programmes at non-prime times. Channels like the CNBC and CNN had local programming for Turkey. He said around $4 billion was spent on television advertisement annually in Turkey.

Of the 125 foreign buyers expected to attend the market, he said the maximum were likely to be from the TV sector. He emphasised that the market was complementary to other world markets like MIPCOM and Cannes, and helped to create a link between the United States and Europe on the one hand and Asia on the other. A total of around 500 buyers and sellers from around 48 countries are expected to come to the market.

He said that TV channels from Germany and France were participating as these countries had large Turkish populations.

The market set up at the Hillside Su Hotel in the upmarket area of this town on the Mediterranean Sea has around 70 stalls of which eight are being shared by more than one party.

He clarified in answer to a question that no fee or commission was being charged from any of the participants in the market. The first market last year had resulted in over 50 deals and 40 sales. The second edition of the Eurasia Film Market expects to increase the number of its exhibitors by 25 per cent and buyers by 200 per cent.

He said that the popularity of the market which was now in its infancy was evident from the fact that there were at least 25 co-productions as a result of the efforts of the Festival. A total of 125 buyers had already registered for taking part in the market.

Answering questions about the Turkish film industry, he admitted that piracy was a major problem. He also said that the aim was to create a climate that could lead to a change in laws and reduction of red tape in dealing with violators. The number of films produced in Turkey has jumped from 19 to 74 in one year.

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