Broadcasters Corner: Erkan Bostanci, Turkuvaz Media Group
With a population of around 74 million people, Turkey is one of the biggest countries in Europe. It is also a market where satellite is strong, both from a pay-TV and a FTA perspective. The Turkuvaz Media Group, one of Turkey’s largest media groups, owns a number of channels including ATV, one of the country’s most popular channels. Erkan Bostanci, head of satellite transmission, Turkuvaz Media Group, talks about the satellite broadcasting environment in this vibrant market and whether satellite can maintain its strong position.
VIA SATELLITE: What are the Group’s demands for satellite capacity? How does the Group work with the satellite industry?
BOSTANCI: We use around 57 MHz satellite capacity for SD and HD broadcasts. We use satellite capacity on the Turksat Satellite, which is located at 42 degrees east.
VIA SATELLITE: What trends do you see in the Turkish broadcast market? How do you view the demand for satellite TV?
BOSTANCI: Turkey has a population of over 70 million, yet it is predominantly a FTA satellite market: most households receive FTA transmissions via satellite. In terms of pay-TV, Digiturk has around 3.5 million subscribers and D-Smart has around two million, so DTH penetration is relatively low. While there are also cable and IPTV offers, the main trend in the market is people not paying for content. Turkey has remained a strong FTA market, and satellite plays a key role here. There is also a new IPTV platform in Turkey, Tivibu. They have two million viewers for the platform, but there is more web TV than IPTV in the country.
The DTH platforms have enough customers to sustain a good market. Over 80 percent of the market in Turkey watches content via satellite; either FTA or pay. There are a number of FTA channels in Turkey, but most of them are FTA over satellite. Pay-TV has found an audience, but it cannot compare to other markets in Europe such as the United Kingdom.
VIA SATELLITE: What are the main challenges facing the company over the next 12 months?
BOSTANCI: We have enough satellite capacity for transmission of our SD and HD channels. Our equipment, infrastructure and also satellite bandwidth are enough to meet our demands for the immediate future.
VIA SATELLITE: How are the costs of the production changing as you look to put content in multiple formats? What challenges is this presenting the Group?
BOSTANCI: We produce and broadcast almost all of our content now in HD. Our broadcast system and infrastructure is compatible with HD (1920/1080i). All content is processed in HD in our system. The installation of this system was completed 18 months ago. Also, SD satellite transmissions are now upconverted into HD, and then included in our system. We have not had any technical issues with these processes and the system has worked well.
VIA SATELLITE: What impact is Over The Top (OTT) broadcasting and streaming technologies having for traditional broadcasting?
BOSTANCI: Even after the start of 3-D broadcasts via satellite, until recently, there were still analog satellite broadcasts on Astra satellites. German channels were responsible for these. The key is that technology development can sometimes go faster than peoples’ demand for it. One day, satellite transmissions could completely be replaced with OTT streaming technologies on fiber, but I do not think this will happen in the near future. Satellite appeals to a wider audience thanks to its deeper penetration across the country.
VIA SATELLITE: Where are you in terms of your HD strategy? Is everything now being produced in HD? Could you tell us how you handled the transition from SD to HD?
BOSTANCI: We use the latest technology for HD broadcasts. All studio footage, news and programs are produced in HD. Content from external sources, such as TV shows and movies, is requested and used in HD. Only archive images and external news content comes in SD. We are also planning to launch a new children’s channel in HD this year. We offer two HD channels to households in Turkey.