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Period Drama The Turkish Market 30 Years of Italia 1 & Rete 4 Ricky Gervais Andrew Davies FremantleMedia’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz www.tveurope.ws
THE MAGAZINE OF EUROPEAN TELEVISION
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ATV www.atvdistribution.com • Peace Street • Last Summer: The Balkans • The Cliff
“ The Cliff has attracted great attention.”
A jewel in the crown of the Turkuvaz Media Group, ATV is among Turkey’s most prominent and acclaimed TV networks. Through its distribution arm, the global market can have access to ATV’s dramas, action series and comedies, among other offerings. Two of its newest series are Peace Street and Last Summer: The Balkans. Peace Street is a drama series that is adapted from a novel and tells a love story about two incompatible people who are living on the same street. Last Summer: The Balkans is a period drama that starts on the eve of the first Balkan War and ends at the Battle for Gallipoli. “Nowadays, period drama series are very popular,” says Ziyad Varol, the deputy manager for content sales at ATV. The company is also offering new episodes from The Cliff, a drama featuring two Moldavian sisters who go to Istanbul and are trapped and forced into prostitution. One of them manages to escape and is trying to help save her sister.
Filmax International www.filmaxinternational.com • The Red Band Society • The Visitor of Prisons • No Rest for the Wicked
Headquartered in Barcelona, Filmax International has solidified a strong position for itself within the international film industry. However, the company is also in the series business, and is coming to MIPCOM armed with two seasons of The Red Band Society. Iván Díaz, the director of the international division at Filmax International, says that the show, produced by Filmax for TVC, had an excellent first season, which is why expectations are high for the 15 new episodes. “We are also presenting the TV movie The Visitor of Prisons, a great production from Distinto Films for TVC and TVE that follows the narrative of grand productions on historical [female] figures,” Díaz says. The drama is based on real events, telling the story of a revolutionary woman who took a stand against the conditions of women’s prisons. Filmax also has the action thriller No Rest for the Wicked, a Spanish-language film, the remake rights for which have already been sold to the U.S.
The Visitor of Prisons
IN THIS ISSUE Trip Down Memory Lane Period dramas from Europe are in high demand 12 Turkish Delight A spotlight on the vibrant Turkish market
“Our prospects for MIPCOM are great, since we have a very strong TV slate.
Italia 1 and Rete 4 @ 30 Mediaset’s Italia 1 and Rete 4 celebrate their 30th anniversaries 26 Interviews Ricky Gervais Andrew Davies FremantleMedia’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz
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Global Screen www.globalscreen.de • Heroes • The Hunt for the Amber Room
Ricardo Seguin Guise
Executive Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
Managing Editor Joanna Padovano
Associate Editor Simon Weaver
Online Director Meredith Miller Chris Carline
Completing the trilogy of adventure movies from Dreamtool Entertainment alongside The Charlemagne Code and The Spear of Destiny is The Hunt for the Amber Room. Global Screen is offering clients at MIPCOM the first chance to watch a full-length screening of the production. “There is a high demand for action and adventure programming all over the world,” notes Marlene Fritz, the head of TV sales at Global Screen.“We have witnessed this for The Charlemagne Code and The Spear of Destiny, which were both sold into more than 70 territories. The Hunt for the Amber Room has already scored massive presales, and Heroes is following in these footsteps.” Fritz calls Heroes a “high-budget, spectacular disaster movie, featuring a star-studded German cast.” Global Screen is launching presales for the title at the market. “We are able to offer almost the entire program lineup of the German public broadcaster ARD, comprising fictional programs as well as documentaries,” Fritz points out. “Our portfolio features two of the most popular Germanlanguage series on the international stage,” she adds, highlighting Storm of Love and Alarm for Cobra 11.
“ We are convinced that the
quality and diversity of our program portfolio will once again meet the demands of international buyers.
The Hunt for the Amber Room
Production Directors Phyllis Q. Busell
Art Director Cesar Suero
Sales & Marketing Director Vanessa Brand
Sales & Marketing Manager Terry Acunzo
Business Affairs Manager
Ricardo Seguin Guise
Executive VP & Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani
Associate Publisher & VP of Strategic Development TV Europe © 2012 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website:
Mediaset Distribution www.mediasetdistribution.com
“We look to promote
• The Chosen • Date Me! • You’ve Got Mail
The international-distribution arm of Italy’s Mediaset, Mediaset Distribution, comes to MIPCOM with a slate of both finished programs and scripted and unscripted formats. On the scripted-formats side, there is The Chosen— originally titled Il tredicesimo apostolo—a 12x50-minute suspense thriller. As far as unscripted formats go, the company is showcasing Date Me! (Uomini e donne), a daily daytime dating show that has been adapted in Spain, and You’ve Got Mail (C’è posta per te), an emotional weekly prime-time show that has versions in 14 countries. “We’re [focusing] this year on our scripted- and unscripted-formats business, [which] has been, until now, quite a success, having closed options and adaptations in many different countries, including the U.S.A.,” says Manuela Caputi, the international sales manager at Mediaset Distribution. Mediaset offers the mafia series Antimafia Squad and A Matter of Respect as finished shows as well as formats.
and strengthen the market perception of our company [not only as] a supplier of ready-made programs but also as a provider of great entertainment [formats] and successful stories.
—Manuela Caputi Date Me!
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Russia Television and Radio/SOVTELEEXPORT sales.vgtrk.com • Life and Fate • Big Ballet • Secrets of the Institute for Noble Maidens
For more than ten years, SOVETELEEXPORT, the distribution arm of Russia Television and Radio, has been presenting the market with high-budget historical dramas, original series, theatrical movies and unique documentaries from Russia. At MIPCOM, the company is presenting the adaptation of the world-famous novel Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, which was banned during Soviet times. “The epic story of ordinary people surviving during the dark epoch of World War II, combined with the best Russian actors, producers and creative forces, has everything to become our international bestseller,” says Julia Matiash, the director of SOVTELEEXPORT. “Another big production we prepared for the market is a new entertainment dancing format, Big Ballet,” she says. “The best world-famous choreographers, young talented ballet stars as well as unique stage and shooting technologies create an unforgettable, gorgeous and highly involving event out of this show.” A new season of Secrets of the Institute for Noble Maidens is being presented as well.
Life and Fate
“For us, each market is an exciting
opportunity to present the best Russian programs.
Available in more than 144 million homes in Europe alone,TV5MONDE ranks as the second-most distributed channel in the world. Even with this impressive footprint, growth is still the most important aim of the channel. Marie-Christine Saragosse, the director-general, points to Russia as a market where TV5MONDE hopes to expand its distribution.The channel is already available with Russian subtitles, in addition to German, Dutch, Romanian, Polish and French—for those using the channel to learn the French language. This year, TV5MONDE also added English and Spanish subtitles to its offerings. “Agreements for TV Everywhere are being signed with many operators,” says Saragosse of the new developments at the channel. TV5MONDE is also offered for streaming over mobile.There are apps for the iPhone and Android devices that provide content that is complementary to the channel as well. A further testament to its reach on other platforms is that there are more than 8 million visits per month on the tv5monde.com website and the mobile website m.tv5monde.com. Offerings on the channel include entertainment shows, sports, kids’ content, music programming and news.
“Our priority is to
widen the audience for TV5MONDE, thanks to the English and Spanish subtitles that are now available.
TV5MONDE Le Journal
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Period dramas from Europe are receiving critical acclaim and devoted audiences across the globe.
BBC Worldwide’s Call the Midwife.
Memory Lane By Juliana Koranteng
he British series Downton Abbey, set in World War I–era England with its entrenched class structure, walked away with 16 nods at this year’s Emmy Award nominations, making it the most nominated British show in the Emmys’ history when combined with last year’s nominations. The show is just one of several recent series from Europe that not only prove that dramatic TV narratives set in the past are in demand with today’s broadcasters and audiences, but also illustrate how their production techniques are evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Gareth Neame, Downton Abbey’s executive producer and managing director at Carnival Films and NBCUniversal International Television Production, argues that audiences have always been intrigued by the dynamics involving England’s upper classes and the servants literally below them, when the country’s empire ruled half the world. “Stories set in grand English country houses form a genre that audiences worldwide are familiar with and are perennially popular,” Neame says. “This was the British Empire at its height, but it was also the beginning of its end.” Television producers have often exploited period drama’s ability to take us away into imaginary but recognized worlds. Whether based on literary classics like Jane Austen’s works or original concepts like Downton Abbey, they fill prime-time slots, generate high audience ratings internationally and make money when done well. 202
“British and European period drama is crafted to a wonderful standard, and broadcasters around the world know this, based on precedent and knowledge of such creativity,” says Greg Phillips, the president of Content Television and Digital, which is launching The Scapegoat at MIPCOM.The ITV1 drama stars Matthew Rhys and Eileen Atkins and is adapted from the 1957 Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. “Time and again, period dramas have worked well and delivered,” Phillips says, adding that their timeless quality means a long shelf life for both networks and distributors. DRAMATIC RENAISSANCE
“Period dramas are having a renaissance, and Downton Abbey has paved the way,” says Kate Lewis, an executive producer at the U.K.-based ITV Studios, the sister company to the ITV network that originally commissioned the series. ITV is gambling on the genre again with Mr Selfridge, a drama series, which Lewis is executive producing, that tells the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the flamboyant American who built the iconic London department store Selfridges at the start of the 20th century. ITV Studios Global Entertainment has been selling the show worldwide and has already scored presales in a number of markets, including the U.S. with PBS’s Masterpiece. “Downton Abbey’s popularity has opened the way for people to ask what else was going on around that period,” Lewis notes. 10/12
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High society: Nominated for 16 Emmys this year, Carnival Films’ Downton Abbey, heading into season three on ITV, is credited with kick-starting demand for period dramas.
“But they will not want another Downton Abbey. Mr Selfridge is about the future, it is about the history of retail at a time when women were enjoying a new sense of freedom.” CONTEMPORARY TAKE
Experts agree that the current economic slump means audiences could do with some diversion into times gone by. “In times of a downturn, people do look to a nostalgic past and Downton Abbey nails that,” Lewis adds. Period fiction produced today features the twists and turns normally associated with contemporary fiction.The languid tempo of Brideshead Revisited in the 1980s and the original Upstairs, Downstairs in the 1970s would not appeal to our digitally demanding audiences. “Today’s audiences are drawn to the contemporary pace of the storytelling, like a soap opera, fast-paced with interconnected multiple story lines and set in clearly defined environments,” Carnival’s Neame says. “If a modern approach is taken, it makes the ‘leap’ into a specific time period completely accessible for audiences worldwide,” states Rola Bauer, the president of the Munichbased Tandem Communications. Currently on Tandem’s plate is the $44 million mini-series World Without End, the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. World Without End has already been presold to more than 120 countries. Tandem’s other historically themed projects include Pompeii, with Sony Pictures Television; Labyrinth, a German–South African co-production; and Titanic: Blood and Steel, which is being distributed by Tandem for the De Angelis Group, based in Italy. If quality is of the essence, period dramas will never come cheap. Setting narratives in our rapidly evolving world, whether they’re from as far back as Biblical times or as recent as the 1980s, requires the reconstruction of locales, fashion, architecture, interior design and transportation, among other requirements. Copper, a ten-part, one-hour thriller from Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, is set in Five Points, one of the grimiest parts of 1860s New York City. Its budget matches the “high end of budgets for a one-hour U.S. cable-TV drama,” says Christina Wayne, the president of Cineflix Studios, which co-produced Copper with Germany’s Beta Film. Although she admits that the budget might not be as much as HBO’s most expensive shows, the company still needed presales to BBC America and Canada’s 204
Shaw Media, with Beta Film handling international rights, to cover costs. In Spain, each episode of The Red Eagle (Águila Roja), an adventure series produced by Globomedia and distributed by its sister company Imagina International Sales, cost about €800,000. Based on the adventures of a masked 17th-century justice-seeking hero, a cross between Robin Hood and Zorro, The Red Eagle has been a massive hit in Spain since its debut in 2009. On the state-owned RTVE’s La 1 network, The Red Eagle has been known to snap up a 31-percent-plus audience share (more than 6 million viewers). “The only programs that get more viewers have been live Spanish soccer games, especially when Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2012 tournaments,” says Géraldine Gonard, the Madrid-based sales director at Imagina International Sales. RTVE has put transmission of The Red Eagle’s fifth season (and other major dramas) on hold while the country sorts out its economic calamity. Until then, the demand for period dramas has spurred Globomedia to create more, including In the Heart of the Ocean (El Corazón del océano), which is set during Spain’s colonization of Latin America following Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. It is scheduled to debut on Spain’s Antena 3 network. The Red Eagle has been sold to broadcasters and distributors in the Asia Pacific, Eastern and Western Europe, and Latin America. Gonard, however, admits that Globomedia and its sister production companies would consider co-productions for future historical fiction. “They are going to be much more popular in the future, but also much more expensive. So we would need co-production partners and stories that resonate in any country.”
Looking back: For its first scripted project, Cineflix worked with Beta Film on Copper, set in the 1860s. 10/12
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Lush landscapes: Following the success of the TV adaptation of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, Tandem is working on the sequel, World Without End.
duced by Mammoth Screen for the BBC and HBO. It premiered in the U.K. in August.The presales have involved BBC Worldwide, ARTE, Breakout Films and Lookout Point. With a stellar cast, which includes Benedict Cumberbatch (whose breakout role, coincidentally, is the modernization of Victorian England’s most famous sleuth in Sherlock) and Rebecca Hall, Parade’s End was adapted by the Oscar-winning British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard. Parade’s End encapsulates the ingredients that can ensure a period drama’s effectiveness, says Caroline Torrance, BBC Worldwide’s director of drama.“It brings the audience in by giving them a great writer and a wonderful cast. A good period drama needs a good hook to make people want to watch.” Other new titles on BBC Worldwide’s slate are Ripper Street, which takes place during the period shortly after the Jack the Ripper murders; The Paradise, set in a fictional department store; and Spies of Warsaw, adapted from World War II historical spy novels by the U.S. writer Alan Furst.
Tandem has garnered a reputation for getting expensive productions off the ground thanks to its skills in joining forces with like-minded international partners.“Tandem has always based its business model on the complex process of co-productions,” RISK AND REWARD Bauer explains.“The company recognizes the business potential A good period drama demands tenacity, as it is never the easiest of of offering its partners prime-time event programs that they can genres to create, says Michael Oesterlin, the executive VP for market [domestically] but at a fraction of the financial risk.This international sales at Germany’s Tele München Group.“Dependmodel is robust, even in serious economic times.” ing on the project (and the period), the pool of feasible locations The authenticity, accuracy and forensic research required when and crews with the necessary expertise becomes smaller. reproducing the past should be uncompromising because audi- Indeed this, albeit to a lesser extent, extends even to the ences will point out errors. options for casting on-screen talent. On set, one might say “With the Internet, you need to be ten times more careful and, there is less flexibility and that the planning required for period for the show’s integrity, you need to be precise,” states Cineflix’s dramas can limit spontaneity.” Wayne, who enlisted the expertise of a history professor, Daniel Rikolt von Gagern, a producer of TMG’s English-language Czitrom, in reenacting 1864 New York faithfully. “We spent productions Moby Dick and The Sea Wolf, adds, “Research plays weeks on photo references. An article of clothing would not be an important and unavoidable role throughout the production. used if the fabric didn’t exist at the time, sidewalks couldn’t look It can prove a slow and costly process. It is, however, the detail pristine and we would even argue about the curve of a shoe,” unearthed through research that sets great work apart.” Wayne quips. Location shoots bring their own challenges for period fiction. Germany’s Beta Film is distributing Mary, a co-production involving Italy’s Lux Vide, RAI Fiction, Spain’s Telecinco Cinema, and Germany’s Tellux Film and BR.A significant part of the mini-series was shot in Tunisia.“For a story like this, you needed the desert, ancient cities and a lot of sun, so we knew it had to be Tunisia or Morocco,” says Eric Welbers, Beta Film’s managing director. The British public broadcaster BBC is considered by many to be the home of the period drama, with a deep catalogue of family-viewing ratings hits. Call the Midwife has been a British Sunday prime-time success for the BBC, with as many as 11 million viewers. It follows the daily trials, tribulations and triumphs of young midwives working at a convent in poverty-stricken East London during the 1950s. One of its newest period pieces is Parade’s End. Budgeted at a reported £13 million (€16.5 million), it is a five-part production based Novel approach: Building its drama portfolio, Content Television has picked up on the Ford Madox Ford quartet of novels and pro- the rights to ITV’s Scapegoat, based on the 1957 Daphne du Maurier novel. 206
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Global Agency’s Magnificent Century.
Turkish Delight With its strong economy, drama exports that are surging in popularity and a percolating demand for formats, Turkey is attracting a wealth of international attention. By Jay Stuart
urkish television is booming. Inside the country, broadcasters are enjoying significant advertising growth, while outside, the appetite for Turkish-made drama seems to be getting bigger. With a new regulatory regime coming into effect, foreign players might finally be able to become major players in what looks like one of the most attractive markets in the world right now. In March 2011, the Radio and TV Supreme Council (RTÜK) relaxed the law on foreign ownership of media assets. Previously, the direct foreign ownership in TV or radio was capped at a 25-percent holding and did not allow ownership of a stake in a second media company. Now, the limit is 50 percent, with a maximum of two TV or radio channels. And there is no limitation on indirect ownership. Turkey’s own broadcasting market is fragmented, with 247 terrestrials—25 national, 15 regional and 207 local—93 cable networks and about 200 satellite-TV channels. However, the five main channels take about 63 percent of the prime-time audience and command a 53-percent share of the total broadcast audience, according to a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch report. 208
Turkish advertising spending jumped 20 percent last year to $2.4 billion, of which television took a 57-percent share, according to the Turkish Association of Advertising Agencies. Ad spend is forecast to rise 15 percent this year. And programming exports, which have soared over the past few years, are getting even stronger. Leading Istanbulbased distributor Global Agency estimates the volume of Turkish production being sold overseas annually at about 4,000 hours. In January 2013, Dubai TV will start airing North South (Kuzey Güney), a new Turkish drama series from Kanal D, across the Middle East. Turkish drama is the hottest genre in this region. In the past, Dubai TV’s rival MBC had many of the big Turkish series, and competition is now getting fierce. “The Hollywood studios would be shocked to know the license fee we got for North South,” says Ozlem Ozsumbul, Kanal D’s head of acquisitions and sales. In early August, a Russian network started airing a Turkish series for the first time. CTC is showing Kanal D’s Fatmagül (Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?), which has been sold in numerous territories worldwide. 10/12
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The country’s main content sellers are also finding opportunities in new markets by selling the format rights to their popular dramas. Kanal D, for example, is in the final stages of closing a deal to sell the format of one of its shows to the Middle East for an Arabic-language version for the first time. FORMAT FRENZY
“There are many opportunities to co-produce and many offers are coming in,” Ozsumbul says. “We have discussions in progress with the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.We are close to a deal for one of our formats to be made in the U.S. for the international market.” Global Agency, meanwhile, has sold the format rights to the Ay Yapim-produced series Forbidden Love (Ask-i Memnu) to Telemundo for a U.S. Hispanic version. As distributors celebrate the opportunities available for Turkish content today, they are quick to note that this has been a fairly recent development. “When we first started to produce our own series at Kanal D, there was no thought of the foreign market,” says Ozsumbul, who used to attend trade shows like MIPCOM only as a buyer. “Then, in 2007, the Middle Eastern regional channel MBC came to us to buy a few series.The first two were not successful. But the third one, Silver (Gümüs), was a smash. Perhaps the switch from dubbing in Egyptian Arabic to the Syrian dialect helped. Whatever the reason, the show became a social phenomenon, hitting audience levels of 75 million across the Arabic-speaking world, where it was known as Noor.” The Middle East also kick-started Turkish drama sales for Global Agency, according to CEO Izzet Pinto. “Four years ago it started in the Middle East. Then we pioneered the expansion into Europe in Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Our shows are being broadcast in 50 countries at the
moment—and they are not just on the air, they are hits, even number one in some cases.” Turkish series are not only hits throughout the Middle East and the Turkic republics of Central Asia, but also in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria, and even in Slovakia, farther west. “The price of Turkish series [in those markets] is many times higher than for American series, literally 20 or 30 times higher,” Pinto says. “This is because our shows are for prime time, and that is where networks make their money. American series are now daytime programming.” ATV is looking to tap into this new demand for Turkish dramas with its MIPCOM slate, which is heavy on period series, according to Ziyad Varol, the deputy manager for content sales at the Turkish broadcaster. “Nowadays, period drama series are very popular in Turkey. Our expectations are high for the upcoming season.We will have eight new titles and two from the last season. Our cast and library are very strong.” EXPORTING TURKEY
Turkey’s main exports are derived from the country’s top five commercial channels, which garner more than 70 percent of TV ad spend. In the first quarter of this year, Kanal D led the way with $76.5 million, followed by Show TV with $50.3 million and Star TV with $43.6 million. Rounding out the big five are ATV and FOX Türkiye. The publicly traded Dogan Yayin Holding,Turkey’s biggest media group, is the owner of Kanal D through Dogan TV, in which Germany’s Axel Springer holds a 25-percent stake. Until November 2011, the Dogan group also owned Star TV, but it was required to sell it because revenue from the two channels combined exceeded the cap of 30 percent of total TV revenues laid down by law. Star TV was acquired by Dogus Group for $327 million.
Turkish tales: Kanal D is bringing to MIPCOM the ‘60s-era Kötü Yol (Fallen Angel ). 210
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tember and there’s a gap in January or February for Hollywood.” Even a worldwide hit like CSI can find itself relegated to a post-midnight slot. The demand for imported fare is mainly from the channels in the middle of the pack, with smaller budgets. Those channels are still buying films and sometimes series for the summer. “Weaker demand impacts prices, which have been flat for imports,” Saran says. Fortunately, he also sells big sports properties such as Wimbledon, Formula 1 and the English Premier League. “We have not bought American series for several years,” says Kübra Sefkatli, the deputy of program research and social media manager at the broadcaster Show TV. “Foreign content does not work for the Turkish audience. But there are many successful adaptations in Turkey.We adapted Grey’s Anatomy as Doktorlar and The Nanny as Dadı.” AMERICAN INSPIRATION Revisiting history: This September, ATV premiered Son Yaz Balkanlar 1912 (Last Summer: The Balkans), commemorating the anniversary of the start of the Balkan wars.
Determining who’s leading the market in terms of viewership is currently a challenge, as Turkey is in the midst of a hiccup regarding ratings, which have not been available since last December. That’s when AGB Nielsen lost the franchise on supplying data amid controversy over possible manipulation of its panels. TNS will be the new supplier. “The system is supposed to be ready in October, but I would not be surprised if we have to wait until 2013,” says Esra Ergun, the ad marketing director at CNN Türk. “It’s a big problem for mainstream channels, but it also affects the niche channels.” RATINGS WAR
Of the top 50 shows in the ratings in the latest available figures (November 2011), 27 were Turkish drama series— including Time Goes By, Fatmagül, Magnificent Century and I Named Her Feriha—seven were news broadcasts and five were soccer matches. There was only one import, a theatrical movie. Indeed, domestic fare completely dominates schedules. In prime time, all of the main channels prefer Turkish series. The volume of Turkey’s domestic drama output is amazing. Each series consists of 38 to 40 new episodes per season. “We are effectively showing a new movie every day,” Kanal D’s Ozsumbul says. “These are not low-budget studio-based productions. We have big casts, we shoot on location and the production values are extremely high. Everything is produced in HD.” “There is little room for imports,” says Kenan Saran, the managing director of SARAN Media, which has output deals with studios such as Warner Bros. to distribute programming in Turkey. “The main prime-time slots are filled by Turkish series, preventing imported series from finding space in the schedules. American blockbuster movies that might have been grabbed for prime time a decade ago now struggle to get air time on the big networks.The channels tend to use them when the Turkish series end their runs. A domestic show might start in Sep212
According to Kanal D’s Ozsumbul, adaptations of foreign drama series usually do not work. But on Sunday nights Kanal D is showing its own locally produced version of ABC’s Desperate Housewives. And in a twist that typifies the booming distribution business, Kanal D is actually selling that Turkish version, Umutsuz Ev Kadinlari, internationally, clinching a slot with MBC. According to Ozsumbul, only two imported genres work on the main channels in Turkey: blockbuster movies and formats. Local versions of Idols, Survivor and Wheel of Fortune have all been successful. Endemol has a local company dedicated to Turkish production. Ansi Elagöz, the managing director of Endemol Turkey, notes that Turkish broadcasters are very discerning when it comes to buying international concepts. “There is not really a keen appetite unless it is a very strong format, which has performed well internationally, “she says.” The Turkish landscape is governed by scripted product and the broadcasters take very limited chances with formats. Especially since it is very difficult to find a strong format that can compete with drama series in prime time. There is also room for quiz shows in what we call second prime-time slots, after 11 p.m., but when it comes to [the main 8 p.m. prime-time] slot, broadcasters become very selective with what they put on air. Our productions such as Your Face Sounds Familiar and Wipeout manage to hold their own very well in prime time.” Does that mean the price of programs is going up? “Unfortunately, not necessarily,” Elagöz says. “But of course, when it comes to launching a strong format in prime time, which is running up against drama series, the broadcasters are inclined to spend more for better production values, so they become a bit more flexible with budgets. Production costs are holding steady in line with the yearly inflation rate.” There are two pay-TV platforms in Turkey, Digiturk and D-Smart. Digiturk, owned by Çukurova Holding (54 percent) and Providence Equity Partners (46 percent), was launched in 2000. Its rights to the Turkish Super League have 10/12
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been central to its success. Currently it has about 2.6 million subscribers, about half of them buying its soccer package. Launched in 2007, the rival D-Smart is a DTH platform owned by Dogan Yayin Holding. It offers a variety of thematic channels and holds rights to the Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. As of late 2011 it had 1.4 million users, 40 percent of whom subscribe to its pay-TV offer. DTT, meanwhile, is on the way. The regulator RTÜK has said that the switch to digital terrestrial will be completed by 2015. A tender for frequencies is expected to be held in March 2013. NEW ENTRANTS
“I don’t see any more room for mainstream channels, but there is room for thematic channels,” Saran says. “The arrival of digital terrestrial delivery could mean new channels will arrive. But local production will also grow and it will dominate. I’m surprised there is not more of an interest in getting involved in the Turkish market. The cost of entry is still relatively low and the potential upside is large.” Saran also points out that “the digital space is hugely attractive. Turkey has about 30 million Internet users and 8 million broadband homes. Digital advertising is showing very strong growth.We see a lot of potential for VOD and are now operating a 24/7 platform streaming content for smart devices...Piracy is still an issue, of course.” All the main TV channels have established websites to distribute content online. Service providers bundling content and offering movie archives include Tivibu Web, Digiturk WebTV and D-Smart WebTV.There are over a million view-
ers who subscribe to web-TV applications in Turkey, indicating possible future pressure on traditional TV. WHAT’S NEXT?
“The entrance of foreign ownership will be key to the health of the sector,” according to a recent note by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. “The expertise they provide and cash they will deploy, especially for highly leveraged broadcasters,” will boost the media industry as a whole. Potential bidders for Turkish media assets include News Corporation, Time Warner, RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 Media, as well as private-equity firms such as TPG and KKR, “which have shown interest before but backed down due to ownership limitation and disagreement on valuation.” News Corporation is already in the market via FOX Türkiye. Time Warner is already there, too. Its Turner Broadcasting unit recently closed its TNT television operations in Turkey after failing to hit targets. Turner continues to run Cartoon Network and the CNN Türk news channel (owned in partnership with the Dogan group). Bloomberg is in the market with business news channels owned in partnership with Ciner Media. Çalik Holding is reported to be talking about selling ATV. Bidders are said to include Time Warner and the Dubai-based Abraaj Capital. Endemol’s Elagöz sees a stabilization of the competitive broadcasting picture as the next big development in the Turkish television market. “ATV is probably going to be sold to a new owner, so the balance between the top four channels will be established for good,” she says. “Or at least for the next four to five years.”
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Mediaset’s Italia 1 and Rete 4 celebrate their 30th anniversaries. By Anna Carugati
The concept of targeting channels to specific segments of the audience is completely accepted today.There is hardly a country around the world that doesn’t have a channel dedicated to children or women or action lovers or movie buffs. But back in the early ’80s in Europe, this was quite a novel idea. The Italian commercial networks Italia 1 and Rete 4, which both launched in 1982 and are today owned by Mediaset, were arguably the first aimed at specific audience groups.Through the decades they have been models of channels that have remained true to their mission, while adapting to the rapidly evolving television landscape. Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest group, whose broadcast division then became Mediaset, acquired Italia 1 from the Italian publishing concern Rusconi just within a year of its launch. In 1984, Fininvest bought Retequattro, as it was then called, from the publishing company Mondadori. The two publishing groups, eager to get into television, didn’t have the programming expertise or deep enough pockets to afford a broadcasting operation. Berlusconi already had Canale 5 on the air and could find economies of scale with two more networks. More importantly, Berlusconi realized that Fininvest could only compete with state-run RAI—which for decades held a broadcasting mono poly and ran three channels—if he also had three networks and not just one. THE POWER OF DEMOS
Berlusconi, along with his programming team and advertising executives at Publitalia, decided to target Italia 1 and Retequattro to different audience/consumer groups that would complement Canale 5, which was a broad general entertainment network aimed at the entire family. Italia 1 would appeal to youth, young adults and the young at heart, and generally more urban viewers, and Retequattro to females, particularly housewives, and a lower socioeconomic demographic. This split immediately proved successful because the key to Berlusconi’s programming strategy was to serve the unsatisfied needs of viewers, who for decades could only watch RAI’s generally stodgy, complacent program offering; and of advertisers, who had never had access to television because RAI had limited commercial slots. From the outset, Italia 1 has been a channel willing to experiment with new show ideas and formulas. It had slots 216
for children and then lots of comedy, satire, and irreverent, light-entertainment shows that launched the careers of a number of comedians, as well as imported series, movies and sports, science and documentary programs. Retequattro, dubbed “la rete rosa,” the pink network because of its female audience, was the home to Latin American telenovelas and American soap operas and series, movies, game shows and talk shows. NEW HORIZONS
With the dawn of the new millennium, Retequattro underwent a significant shift, as its schedulers tried to broaden its audience and reach out to male viewers. Its name was abbreviated to Rete 4 and the network, “is no longer just female, it appeals to a mature audience and the percentage of male viewers is much higher than it used to be,” says Giovanni Modina, the executive VP of resource planning at Mediaset, who manages the acquisition and scheduling of films, series and sport on Mediaset’s free and pay networks. “Like all Italian broadcasters, we have had to deal with the economic crisis, which has impacted our acquisition strategy,” continues Modina. “We are fortunate to have large deals with Warner Bros. and Universal that provide us with great product. The only ad hoc acquisition we have made recently was for Rete 4 and it was Downton Abbey and it worked very well. We would have never made this kind of investment for Rete 4 ten years ago, when at most we would have bought a soap, which is a much smaller investment.” Today, Rete 4 also airs The Mentalist and Law & Order: SVU, and, as Modina explains, it is a more profitable channel than it was a decade ago. Italia 1 today remains true to its mission. “It definitely is still the young network and the one that is willing to experiment with its original productions, with acquired series, sports, and certainly with factual and documentary programming,” says Modina. Among its imported shows are The Simpsons and the CSI franchise. Thirty years from their launches, as much as the Italian TV landscape has changed, Italia 1 and Rete 4 remain destinations that resonate with their viewers. Despite all the changes in the market, one rule of television that originated in the days when free TV reigned remains true: if a channel knows its audience and programs for it, it will remain relevant. 10/12
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Ricky Gervais has given comedy fans some of the most original shows in the genre. With The Office, Extras and Life’s Too Short, he has explored the dark side of celebrity and fame. With The Ricky Gervais Show, animated renditions of his hilarious podcasts, he launched the career of Karl Pilkington, whose unique and hilarious worldview and quirky antics gained him a loyal fan base. With his most recent project, Derek, a comedy drama for Channel 4 about a tender, vulnerable man who works in an old people’s home, Gervais expands his comedy to look at the lives and trials of ordinary people.
TV EUROPE: What type of comedy works best? GERVAIS: Comedy should appeal to the intellect more than to
the emotions. I see a lot of stand-ups going up there and they’re more rallying than trying to make the audience laugh. Stand-ups come out and say things like, “What are we going to do about all these immigrants?” And they get a round of applause. That has nothing to do with comedy—nothing at all to do with it. As soon as something steps out of the bounds of the intellect, it fails to be funny. It loses its impact because it’s not true.The reason I don’t like racist jokes—it’s not because I’m offended by them, I’m offended by the fact that it doesn’t work comedically because it’s based on a falsehood. I can’t have a comedic premise that isn’t true. If someone comes out and says something like, “Why do Mexicans blah, blah, blah.” My first thought is, No! Whatever you say now, the punch line won’t work! It fails comedically because it falls down intellectually. It’s an intellectual pursuit.We feel good about getting [the joke].We can get it on so many levels. We can get the pun, we can get the guy acting abnormally. It comes down to what we’re really like as people.The more accurate a joke is, the funnier it is. When something knocks it out of the park, you double over. TV EUROPE: Can you joke about anything? GERVAIS: I say there’s nothing you can’t joke about; it depends what the joke is. Comedy comes from a good or bad place. People accuse me of being this shock comedian or trying to offend. I never go out to offend; it’s easy and it’s churlish, but mainly way too easy. Some people are offended by my mere presence, some people are offended by mixed marriage, some people are offended by me being an atheist—what do you want me to do? Pretend I’m not? Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right. And offense is taken, not given. In comedy, there’s no right or wrong answer for what offense is, it’s personal. Simple as that. It’s about feelings, and feelings are
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Dream team: Ricky Gervais and his frequent collaborator Stephen Merchant star in and write Life’s Too Short, the comedy featuring Warwick Davis for BBC Two and HBO.
personal. One person’s ism isn’t another’s.You really just need to explore the subject honestly and sensibly and put a new spin on it. People will be able to laugh because it’s a release. At the end of the day, comedy is just a release. Comedy is no different from having a beer or having a massage. We do it because it feels good.We make jokes because we make someone laugh, and we feel good because we’ve made someone feel good. And we get points for that socially. If something pops into your head you have to get it out there, whether it’s a painting or song. But the point of any art form—even something as lowly as TV comedy, and it is a lowly art form, I know that—is to make a connection. That’s all it is. To make a connection with strangers or someone you know, it doesn’t matter. For me, it’s the size of that connection that matters. Not how many people it connects with, because there’s so [much] homogenized stuff that reaches a lot of people very quickly, but it’s nothing. It’s a light rip-off.You want to kick the door down.You want to think that your work could be as life-changing as some of the work that you’ve seen that have changed your life.
TV EUROPE: What upcoming projects do you have? GERVAIS: At the moment it’s the end of an era and the
beginning of another. I’m making the final installment of An Idiot Abroad. It’s a two-part special where I’m sending Karl on the Marco Polo route from Venice to China with Warwick Davis [the star of Life’s Too Short]. Why not? I’m doing a special of Life’s Too Short; it might not be the end but we’re doing a special next because it’s an idea that it would be better as an hour special than as a series.We’re in the middle of the third season of The Ricky Gervais Show, which might be the last now. That’s 39 episodes and we don’t want to be going through the dregs of stuff. I don’t know if we’ll ever get around to sitting down and doing more, but I love that, it’s one of the favorite projects I’ve ever done. It’s comedy and it’s all so real and true and Karl is so lovable.The empathy is amazing with him. He’s totally honest. He hasn’t got a pretentious bone in his body. He’s the perfect subject, character, comedy one-liner machine in the universe. I’m also just starting a new sitcom called Derek. TV EUROPE: Where did the inspiration for that come from? GERVAIS: Lots of places. But I worked in an office for eight
years and I’ve watched a lot of docu-soaps made with normal people. Most of my family works in care homes. My sister works with people with learning disabilities and disabled children. My sister-in-law works in a home for people with Alzheimer’s. About four of my nieces work in old people’s homes and care homes. So I’ve always been around that. I’m a little bit disappointed with how we treat our old people in Britain. It seems to be inevitable that when they can’t chew the fat anymore we sort of discard them, which is terrible because there seems to be this ridiculous arrogance in youth. If you’re lucky, you’re going to be old one day. I’ve also always been interested with outsiders. On my travels I’ve seen these people that are on the fringes of society. They collect autographs, they live in their own little world and I wonder, Where do they live? Do they live with their mom? They can’t be married. Are they together? Where are these strange people that are very sweet? I wanted to explore that. I wanted to know the outsiders and get them together and make them a home. I’ve made them a sitcom family so it’s them against the world. [There is a reality show] called Secret Millionaire and what I discovered is, you’ve got these celebrities that do these charity events, but they only do it if it’s on TV. Then you’ve got the real people who stand outside the shopping mall every day of their life collecting for cancer because their mum died of cancer. These people who’ve got nothing, and they’re collecting for people who’ve got less.Then I realized what the shortcut is in life. It’s kindness.You don’t have to be clever.You don’t have to work out the meaning of life. Because if you’re just kind—if you just do the thing that you think is kind—it’ll work. So it’s all about that. Anyone knows what’s right, really. They don’t need any direction with it. It’s the only shortcut you can take to be a good person. Just do the kind thing. It’s about that. TV EUROPE: There certainly seems to be a moral bankruptcy of kindness these days. GERVAIS: It’s time [to do a show like Derek] because I’ve studied the ego of the rich and famous and the desperate and I just want to turn to normal people. I want to return to what’s so nice and brilliant about just being a normal person trying to live a good life. 220
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By Mansha Daswani
Those familiar with some of the best-known, critically acclaimed British drama exports of the last three decades will recognize the name Andrew Davies. The screenwriter’s long list of credits includes House of Cards, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Sense and Sensibility, Daniel Deronda, Doctor Zhivago, Bleak House, Northanger Abbey and Little Dorrit. His latest project is Mr Selfridge for ITV. The series, which stars Jeremy Piven, has already been presold by ITV Studios Global Entertainment to broadcasters in Australia, Sweden, Israel and the U.S. Davies speaks to TV Europe about his approach to telling the story of retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge in late-19th- and early-20th-century London.
TV EUROPE: How did Mr Selfridge come about? DAVIES: Kate Lewis, who is the executive producer—we’ve
worked together many times—had this book called Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge, which was an account of how Harry Gordon Selfridge came to London from America and opened a shop. She said, I think this will make a fantastic series. At first I thought, Do I want to do a whole series about shopping? [Laughs] But then I did get drawn in by the story. He’s just a fantastic char-
acter.And it’s a story about business and modernity and change— he did revolutionize retail practices and started lots of things we take for granted today. He was a real historical figure, and we know about his wife and about his children and his mother. But he had a lot of mistresses and we don’t really know much about them, so I had the freedom to create characters. Harry Gordon Selfridge was in a way a self-destructive character. He loved to gamble; that was his way of relaxing. And he took incredible risks with his business and usually got away with them. In terms of his emotional life, he was drawn to the kind of women who would be the most trouble. Of course; that makes for terrific drama.We’ve got a really rich mix, with lots going on in the story in terms of ambition, jealousy, and also secret love affairs. Even though he didn’t have very strict rules for himself, he did have strict rules in the shop—shop romances amongst the staff were definitely [not allowed]. But of course they went on. TV EUROPE: And you have Jeremy Piven playing the lead role. DAVIES: We are so excited.You get the feeling that the audience
will like him. He’s got that kind of outrageous cheek—that he can do bad things but you’ll still like him. And we’ve got lots of interesting women.There’s an aristocratic character, except she’s not a real aristocrat, called Lady Mae [portrayed by Katherine Kelly]. She’s a former [chorus] girl who marries an earl, but they never see each other. When he’s in the country she’s in town, and vice versa. She thinks that’s the way to make a marriage work! We’ve got [Zoë Tapper as] Ellen Love, who is an actress that Harry wants to [set up] as the face of Selfridges, and of course he starts an affair with her and she turns out to be terribly high maintenance and very flaky, with a cocaine habit. And we’ve got a sweet little heroine called Agnes [Aisling Loftus], who comes from a very poor background. She starts work as an assistant and we’re going to watch her progress. She’ll carry a lot of our hopes. TV EUROPE: How much time went into the research to
make the settings and the language historically accurate? DAVIES: It’s getting easier and easier with the Internet. Think
about [the character of ] Ellen Love, who is a musical comedy actress. Google “musical comedies 1909” and you can learn all about who the stars were, what kind of lives they had. The woman who wrote the book, Lindy Woodhead, is a fashion historian and has access to the whole archive of Selfridges, and we’ve got her as an advisor. So if there’s anything we don’t know we can contact her, and indeed, she sees all the drafts of all the scripts. So if we get anything wrong, we certainly hear about it! TV EUROPE: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve
witnessed in your years working in British television? DAVIES: When I started, producers at the BBC could commis-
sion—they didn’t have to go to commissioners. So my early career was very much tied up with two producers, Louis Marks and Rosemary Hill. They would have their four productions a year, and if three of them worked then they were all right for the next [project]. Producers had much more freedom. For a while my career hung on the same fragile thread as Louis Marks, because he would not only commission me again and again, but he’d also recommend me to other producers. One of the big differences [today] is that, at the BBC especially, [there is a greater] number of people that have got to say yes [to a project]. It’s much more straightforward at ITV.There are fewer people involved and decisions are made more quickly. 222
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Cecile Frot-Coutaz By Anna Carugati
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, FremantleMedia’s recently appointed CEO, is best known for heading up the company’s North American operations, where she shepherded the huge hits American Idol, America’s Got Talent and The X Factor. She has been with the company since 1995, starting in Europe, where she helped develop the business strategy of what today is one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of programming.
TV EUROPE: Tell us about your 17 years with the company. FROT-COUTAZ: When I started it was a very different kind of
company.We were Pearson Television, which had literally just been assembled under Greg Dyke’s leadership. The core of the company was Thames Television.We had just bought Grundy; that was our first big acquisition and it set us down a path of building an international-production business. My first big deal in my role, which was to support Greg Dyke in acquisitions and strategy, was the acquisition of All American Television, which at the time was owned by the Scotti brothers.The company produced Baywatch, it had a big syndication operation and it had all the Goodson-Todman Productions’ game-show formats.That was a substantial acquisition and a very big deal for us, in size, in scale and in monetary terms. Getting that acquisition done, and also then integrating the acquisition into the rest of the company, was a fantastic experience. I talk about that deal because having that experience and history means I understand the fabric of the company, and how the business model was put together, and why it works and how it works. Some of the questions we have today, interestingly, were the same ones we had 10, 12 or 15 years ago. We went from a collection of companies around the world to being a truly global company. There is a big difference; having an international footprint is one thing, but having a company that functions as a global company, as we do now, is very different and a huge strength. Looking back, I’m really proud to have been part of that very big construction exercise.
TV EUROPE: And you eventually moved to the U.S. FROT-COUTAZ: I went from that job to a more operational job
in Europe and then eventually went over to the U.S., where I ran our North American operation.That was about building the company into one of the leaders in North America in reality television. When I arrived there, it really wasn’t an empire at all. It was quite transformational, and this is a business that has managed to retain its key brands. We have the very successful daytime shows that are still going strong, which maybe people don’t talk about as much as the big prime-time television shows. But for us those are very big brands and some of them have had a real resurgence lately, like Family Feud with Steve Harvey. The social-gaming activities we’ve been able to launch around Family Feud have shown us the power of these brands and how evergreen and important to the business they are. And of course there are the three big talent shows, American Idol, Got Talent and The X Factor. I also served as executive producer on these three shows and I’m very passionate about them! I spent a lot of my days and years worrying about how to make the next season better than the previous season. It has been a great roller coaster and there is something really special about being part of shows that are big events like that and that really have an impact on the culture. TV EUROPE: As you step into your new role as CEO, what are you excited about? FROT-COUTAZ: The thing that is incredibly exciting about FremantleMedia and that I am very proud of is that we are a truly global player. And there are very few companies like ours. We have worked very hard during the last ten years to make that work. When I say we are global, we are global in terms of our approach to production and we’re also starting to use our global presence to further our development efforts. That is quite hard to do because the world has become a much more global marketplace than it was ten years ago. We’re a great partner, we work very well in partnerships and we are really good executors. This company makes really good shows. We have a very large amount of number one shows around the world. If I look at the future, the challenge for me is around answering the question Where is the business going? Where are the viewers going? People’s tastes are changing. The kinds of shows that are working today are not the same kinds of shows that were working ten years ago. Drama is making a comeback. We’re looking at those trends and I want to broaden the scope of the company into some new genres. I also want to really focus on what digital means for us. There is a transition that is happening right now. [For] a content player that is very exciting because we have options and opportunities. The next decade will be quite transformational for our company and for our competitors as well. And that is the exciting part, figuring out what our path is going to be and how we can be a trailblazer. 10/12
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