Why Have Turkish TV Series Become So Popular After Achieving Great Success Around the World?
Today, many Turkish TV series are watched by millions of people in countries from Japan to Spain, Argentina to Egypt.
Movies and TV series have long been a staple of popular culture around the world. TV series and movies produced in the United States and Europe are followed with interest and watched by millions of people all over the world. Moreover, these TV series and movies contain important traces of the culture and daily life of the countries in which they are made. As such, a movie or TV series also becomes an element of “exporting culture”. For years, US and European cultures have been spreading around the world through movies and TV series. Recently, however, there is a shining star in the global TV series industry: Turkish TV series! In recent years, Turkish TV series have been exported to a wide geography ranging from the Middle East to Europe, from Africa to South America. Moreover, worldwide interest in Turkish TV series is increasing day by day! Many people from different parts of the world have become die-hard fans of Turkish TV series!
So, how did Turkish TV series become watched worldwide? What is the secret of Turkish TV series? What are the effects of the increasing demand for Turkish TV series on Turkey? Here is what you need to know about the secret of success of Turkish TV series…
The foreign adventure of Turkish TV series started with the 1975 production of “Aşk-ı Memnu”
The production starring Müjde Ar and Şükran Güngör was sold to France in 1981! This sale was one of the most important moments of our movie and TV series industry! About 20 years after the sale in 1981, the series “Deli Yürek” was sold to Kazakhstan state television for as little as 30 dollars per episode!
Turkish TV series captured a large market in the Middle East
Turkish TVseries produced in the 2000s reached a huge sales success and millions of viewers in the Middle East. The 2005 TV series “Gümüş” was dubbed into Arabic in 2008 and reached a large number of viewers all over the Arab world. According to a Saudi television channel, the final episode of the series was watched by 85 million Arab viewers. The success of “Gümüş” paved the way for many TurkishTV series to be exported to the Arab region in the following years.
The most popular Turkish series abroad is “Magnificent Century”
The Magnificent Century, the first episode of which aired in 2011, is the most popular TurkishTV series exported abroad! The series has been broadcast in 70 different countries and has been watched by more than 500 million people! In 2014, the series finalized and is still aired in some countries abroad today! This incredible sales success of Magnificent Century was one of the most important milestones in the journey of Turkish TVseries to expand abroad.
Turkey is the world’s second largest exporter of TV series after the US
In 2008, the export revenues of Turkish TVseries were around 100 million dollars. This figure rose to 500 million dollars in 2020. TurkishTV series have now turned into cultural products exported not only to the Middle East and the Arab region, but also from the Balkans to Europe, from Europe to South America. All this has brought the Turkish TVseries industry to a very important point worldwide. Turkey is the world’s most important TV series exporter after the USA!
What is the secret of success of Turkish TV series?
Actually, there is more than one answer to this question. However, there is one common point that fans of TurkishTV series abroad emphasize: family values! Many Turkish TVseries viewers abroad express that they are impressed by the family values in Turkish TV series. The culture, family ties and especially families eating together in Turkish TVseries have an important share in the popularity of TurkishTV series abroad.
Cultural affinity is also very effective in the popularity of Turkish TV series in some foreign countries
For example, a study on Turkish TVseries in Greece revealed that Spanish and Italian TV series are not as popular as Turkish TV series. The reason for this was the similarities between Turkish and Greek culture and family structure. In other words, Greeks who felt closer to Turkish culture naturally preferred Turkish TV series over Italian or Spanish TV series. Another example of cultural affinity and the success of Turkish TVseries abroad is from Germany. An Afghan family living in Germany stated that Turkish TV series have less sexuality than European TVseries, which is why they watch TurkishTV series more.
Traditional Turkish theater and developing technology are also among the success secrets of Turkish TV series!
Some experts believe that the strong traditions of traditional Turkish theater and Yeşilçam, which have a long history, are used in a new language in today’s TVSeries. The strong comedy and melodrama elements in our traditional theater and cinema tradition have a share in the success of today’s TV series. In addition, the richness provided by the multicultural structure in our country enables directors, screenwriters and actors to feed from different sources.
As in the rest of the world, technological advancements are also improving the quality of productions produced by the TurkishTV series industry. Lighter and more modern cameras, improved shooting and editing techniques, advances in the use of sound and music… Many different technological elements such as these allow the technical quality of TurkishTV series to increase.
How do Turkish TV series, which are watched by millions of people abroad, contribute to Turkey?
A series produced in a country cannot be expected not to be influenced by the culture and daily life practices of that country. Therefore, Turkish TVseries that are exported abroad, to a greater or lesser extent, cause foreign viewers to acquire an image of Turkish culture and geography. Some foreign viewers are positively influenced by the cultural structure shown in TurkishTV series and have different opinions about Turkey. For this reason, there are many people who want to visit our country and witness the culture here just because of the TV series. However, there are also foreign viewers who claim that they do not encounter enough cultural elements in TurkishTV series and that they encounter a traditional Western lifestyle. For these viewers, Turkish TVseries do not have a significant effect on changing their existing opinions about Turkey.
This is where the concepts of “nation branding” and “soft power” come to the fore!
Nation branding can be roughly defined as the marketing concepts and processes used to enhance a country’s international reputation. It should not be forgotten that Turkish-TV series exported abroad also play an important role in Turkey’s nation branding processes. Another concept that needs to be emphasized when considering the impact of Turkish TVseries abroad on Turkey is soft power. Soft power can be defined as a set of values that do not include a country’s military and economic hard power. It is defined as things that can positively influence people in other countries, such as art, sports, geography and culture. For example, everything that is often featured in Hollywood movies is one of the soft power elements that contribute to the spread of American culture all over the world! With movies and TV series alone, it is possible to spread economic, social, cultural and ideological values all over the world! Considering the worldwide success of Turkish TVseries, it can be said that these series are among Turkey’s most important soft power tools.