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Extension and Proliferation of Turkish Media: Part II
"We Don't Exist!" & On NTV and its Expansion

Presentation by Nuri COLAKOGLU

For Part I

In Part I; Nuri Colakoglu has presented on the subject, "TV in Turkey" from the "monopoly of the electronic media" to "privatization" process in Turkey. In this second part of his presentation (originally was one) ; in the frame of globalization and privatization process, from "Extension and Proliferation of Turkish Electronic Media" in the country as well as globally and private TV’s recognition in front of the legal system, to an insightful-informative profile on NTV’s global expansion. Mr. Colakoglu was launced NTV in 1997, and had served as a CEO until mid of Summer 2000.

Today in Turkey we have terrestrial networks cable networks and satellite networks. Look at the terrestrial networks. TRT has 5 nation wide channels, we have 16 nationwide private channels, two which are music channels two are news and two are pay TV channels. We have 15 regional private channels, and 220 local channels. On the cable so far the cable distribution has gone fairly slow, right now all the regulations are being change about it and since sort of privatize. The cable main has been given to private companies on public share bases with the Turkish Telecom.

However distribution and operation is still in the hands of Turkish Telekom and they decide who watches what. It will privatize in the near future, due to this activity right now. In Turkey, we have 800.000 subscribers in 20 regions and right now a new tender is out spreading cable distribution to all 80 provinces. On the cable network, you can get around 40 channels (including all the nationwide channels, 15 foreign channels, plus TRT's 5 channels are free in this distribution network).

We have 11 cable (domestic) private channels and also have 15 foreign cable channels such as BBC, CNN, RTL, NICKELODEON, DISCOVERY, which are some of the examples on these distribution networks. Digital platforms are our current acquirement. The first one name is DIGITURK. It is a rented satellite that tests signals. Apparently they will start digital satellite distribution as of September 2000.

RTUK, (Supreme Council for Radio - Television) hindered the development of television in Turkey. First of all the formation is very political. All the nine members are elected from the parliament by the amount the candidates put up by the political parties. So they are there, as representatives of those within political parties, and their bosses. Thus, their decisions are very political, which lead to greater controversies.

Secondly this quality and dependance of each member of the RTUK, is not up to the present broadcasting standards because this is a very fast moving area as far as technology and legal states is concerned. But they are very slow, still no tender has been carried for broadcast of radios and televisions. So all the Turkish Televisions, you are watching are sort of all pilot stations.

We Don't Exist!

We are all moving in a great area as far as paying taxes, fees etc…concerned very legal. As well as concerns for the rights of the broadcasts, we are totally illegal. We don't exist! For example, when the president has an international visit, he will invite representatives of the newspapers but not TV's, because legally we don't exist! The worse part of the whole picture is the existing law that carried it's very severe penalties which can be highly disputed. Thus, you can end up with black screens in Turkey. One day you turn to your favorite station and you see a text saying that broadcast has been banned by RTUK for broadcasting against this or that. No channel has any right to make an explanation why they have limits or questions regarding it. So, this is an on going battle between televisions and RTUK. The other side of abnormality is coming from the law.

The law stipulates a very strict ownership with the acting in order to stop monopolization of the broadcast industry. It says that no one can have more than 20% of the share in a television station. Anyone who has 10% of a share in a TV station is not allowed to do any business with government. So this led to at totally fictional ownership in Turkish broadcast industry. When you look at it you know who owns what. ATV is owned by Aydin Dogan and Milliyet and Hurriyet . TGRT owned by Turkiye newspaper and Ender Oren. NTV is owned by Ayhan Sahenk. Star is owned by the Uzan family. Show TV was owned by Erol Aksoy, and now it belongs to Cukurova groups. We know, what each group owns.

Thus, when you look at the records, you don't see their names on the book or the companies. There are all 10 unknown people appearing as the owners of these companies. For example, NTV was launched by the financial support of Cavit Caglar, so the owner was Cavit Caglar. At one point, when Cavit Caglar went into financial diffuculties. It was sold it Aydin Sahenk. The names Cavit Caglar or Ayhan Sahenk do not appeared in the books. I explained this chaos to president and prime-ministerl. We said that this hypocrisy is already eating up the system and making it loose face. Therefore, there is this problem with ownership.

Secondly, there are extreme restrictions on programming. For example, every channel is required broadcast 10% of Turkish classical music, 10% of education, 10% folk music… Of course, if I stick to these rules of law, in between every news item, we would have to play a song or a turku (folk music), which wouldn't make any sense. During the last 5 years, this law has been affected. There has been very dramatic changes in this environment. For example you can't have access to news, TV broadcast next to your mobile phone or broadcast over the Internet. None of these can be regulated with the existing law. There are a lots of restrictions on advertisement.

We will explain the financial aspect of the operation and the result of this anomalies is as I said all the channels are pilot stations. We try to work out some legal loop holes, that release the reluctance of investment. Therefore, we reduce quality in programming. We end up with one group controlling TV channels, which in the long term can go on to battles among themselves. This could lead to certain practices which are not ethnical or expectable against the people and personal rights could be infringe very easily by this Turkish TV stations.

The battle between channels could turn out as a big loss making operation. All the channels right now in Turkey are losing money. I can very confidently say this. At least some of the channels are about to break even on annual bases but the all actual losses are very big at the end. But the owner came to this stations with the expectations of recognition in the society and as owner of a wide channel, in return when you need to involve any enterprises, then from the other brand Mr. X, can be recognized you better. Over all, this type of ownership turns out to be very powerful tool in certain aspects.

We also know that certain tender from the government are secure by using the TV station. This is also a hope of making quick money. For example; anybody who had put in a couple million dolars in a TV station, and survived so far, then can move to sale his station for at least twice or 3 times than he has spent.

Turkish TV commercial market is dominated by fast consumer groups such as detergant, cleaning materials, margarin which target on the widest segment of the society. Thus as the advertisers who are trying to reach the segment of society ending up with the lowest common denominator which in our case can be very low. So that makes law and quality of programming in Turkey.

About NTV and its expansion

However on the otherhand it started scene some signs of quality programming. For example, when NTV launched everybody thought this was a total crazy idea TV station which will broadcast 24 hours of news. Question that was constantly asked was who is going to watch news all day but as NTV established itself we solved the viewers starting to ask better quality and advertisers start to discriminate against the low quality programming. I know that couple of banks don't want their adds to appear in certain programs which they don't approprate for the target audience. Then we see a new generation of better quality channels coming in KANAL-E , NICKELEDELEO, DISCOVERY are the few to mention and we also see upgrading and tablonization of the TV news is getting less. And there is a real effort despite the ratings were stay cool and to say by the international standarts.

Thus, NTV is first twenty-four hours TV in Turkey since January 5 1997. We have 800 hundred thousand subcribers. NTV is accessible over the air through 238 transmitters all across Turkey and also on the cable network that is being built in all the major cities in Turkey. Therefore, it reaches nearly 70 percent of Turkey's 64 million population. It also has started transmitting terrestrially in Azerbaijan and Cyprus. It can be received across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and by an extensive region in Central Asia and North America trough satellite transmissions. NTV is also on the Internet ( which gives access to viewers around the world. NTV broadcasts news to Turkey, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia and North America. NTV has access to a wide network of bureaus and correspondents in Turkey and in Washington, New York, London, Brussels, Bonn, Athens, Moscow, Paris, and Nicosia. It employs over 500 people half of which are journalists.


NTV's programming; we broadcast bussines news, sport news, lifestyle features, which is a standart of life but in the meantime keeps you inform of what's happening in movies, music all over the book markets, panel discussions, current effected programs, documentaries and weather reports.

Furthermore, we have a pop music channel which is distirubuted in certain parts of country by cable network including two radios in our group. One of them is Turkish pop radio called, "Radyo Pop." At the moment, it is the second most popular radio station in Turkey, and we have acquired a new radio called, "Radyo 2019" which is a western pop music channel.

In the new media, we have very recently launched and teamed up with two major international companies. One of them is the MSNBC, as you know MSNBC is a joint operation of Microsoft and NBC, which is here in the states and we have signed up a frenchaise agreement. Thus, NTV signature with the MSNBC is connected of NTV-MSNBC as of end of this month (The presentation was given on March 29, 2000). This will give us an access to know - how in order to use all the technology of Microsoft. At the same time, the news content of NBC, put together with NTV’s output. So, we hope to create a very popular news sight for those of you, who want to keep up what's happening in Turkey.

In Turkey, we also recently have a large NTV-VAP, (Wireless Aplication Protocol), which divides brand new in the world for distiribition of news through your mobile phones. In addition to these, we are willing to spread media, therefore we have starded publishing a monthly magazine with the name of NTV MUG, which is doing very well. Also one of our most popular sports programs which concantrates on Formula1. This led us to launch in magazine to serve those people who are interested in this very exiciting car race.

NTV is subsidary of DOGUS Group. DOGUS Group is one of the top 4 holding companies in Turkey with employees about 15.000 people. Its total assets as of last year was $14.5 million, the group’s total revenue was $5-7 millon and the net income profit was $700 million.

NTV is actually a group of larger family and which we have four television channels. One of them is all that we are talking about NTV, second is what you get in state, NTVI, NTVI is more the following NTV model, with half past hour news and in English language.
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Extension and Proliferation of Turkish Media: Part I

The event was organized by "The Society of Turkish American Architects, Engineers and Scientists, Inc. (MIM)"

This issue is dedicated to: FM-2030
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of Fall 2000


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