Mansha Daswani explores the latest developments in the market for drama across Central and Eastern Europe.
Over-the-top platforms have already transformed the drama business in North America and Western Europe, so it’s no wonder that they’re beginning to have an impact in Central and Eastern Europe as well.
“There has been a surge in new OTT players in these markets, especially in Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but also in the Balkans, with, I believe, more to come in 2018,” observes Nick Pawsey, the VP of sales and distribution for CEE, CIS and Russia at FremantleMedia International (FMI). “For us, this means increasingly complex windowing of our content but also more competition and opportunity, which is always good for us and the market. The volume of both new and library content needed to keep subscriber churn rates down and the offering fresh has been a real opportunity for us. Services like ShowJet and Yandex in Russia all the way across to Pickbox in the Balkans are becomingly increasingly important as we look to partner with and support local players outside of the global Netflix and Amazon deals.”
Fredrik af Malmborg, the managing director of Eccho Rights, says that his company, too, is “selling more and more to the VOD platforms.” That trend, combined with a willingness on the part of broadcasters to look beyond the traditional U.S. studio sources for scripted content, is creating a wealth of opportunities for drama distributors across the region. Perhaps none more so than for the Turkish content powerhouses.
“Since the beginning of their popularity in the international market, there has been strong demand for Turkish series in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the Balkans, where many of our series and feature films have been exported,” says Can Okan, the founder and CEO of Inter Medya. The company has notched up CEE deals for shows such as Endless Love and Mrs. Fazilet and Her Daughters, Okan reports.
“Turkish dramas have been on air for more than ten years in the region,” says Deniz Cantutan, sales manager for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa at Kanal D International. “Buyers have a high level of awareness about the storylines, casts and performance of all the Turkish programs.” She says that the company’s business has been strong across Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania, and notes that buyers are quick to snap up a show if it’s proven to be successful in its home market or other territories.
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