Regardless of one’s stance on the local versus foreign content debate, we cannot deny the sheer pull of Turkish dramas. With attractive actors and intriguing storylines, shot against the backdrop of scenic locations, it is no wonder our local audience seems so enamoured by the Turks. And much to the dismay of our celebrities, it appears that the Turkish drama sector has become unstoppable in its quest for global domination. In fact, the industry has exported content worth more than $250 million in the year 2015 alone, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
Considering this, one can conclude that the rest of the world is just as fascinated by the star-crossed love affair between Bihter and Behlul as we Pakistanis were. According to Besir Tatli, head of production company Calinos Holding, there are nearly 70 new serials being released in Turkey every year. “Around half of them are successful in the domestic market and continue to be aired,” Besir told state-run Turkish news service Anadolu Agency. “Around 10 to 15 % end up being exported abroad.” As per his calculations, the industry’s export earnings are slated to exceed $300 million in 2016, with each episode being sold for as much as $500 to $200,000 – a huge jump from their previous prices of around $50. “The dramas need to reflect the particularities of society, as well as universal values in order to keep posting high export figures,” added Besir.
The trend sparked back in 2001, when Turkey first began exporting serials to the neighbouring Turkic republics, followed by the Balkans, the Middle-East and then Latin America. Ever since, the industry has repeatedly penetrated into new markets, all the way to Scandinavia. With its eyes set on population-heavy Asian giants like India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia, the Turkish drama sector is estimated to soon cross 400 million viewers world over. The serials are also broadcast in European countries like Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Lithuania as well as all across the Gulf region.