Turkey's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), a government-controlled body, has sold Show TV, a leading free-to-air-station, to the Ciner Holding Group. The sale, valued at $402m, followed the seizure of the broadcaster from owners Cukurova Group by the TMSF on 17 May. The TMSF a few days later seized further media assets from Cukurova, including its shares in the satellite pay TV platform Digiturk, the largest pay TV operator in the country, TV channels SkyTurk 360, Lig TV, radio stations and magazines, to sure a $450m debt from Cukurova.
The buyer, Ciner Holding Group, is a relatively new player in the Turkish media scene. Ciner currently controls Haberturk, a 24-hour news channel which started broadcasting in October 2008 and a newspaper of the same name.
Cukurova Media Group's inability to serve its debt obligations might seem puzzling given its range of media investments. One reason may be the cost of its contrcat for rights to the Super Lig, the Turkish football championship. In January 2010, Digiturk spalshed out the sum of $1.284bn to renew of the broadcasting rights to the league for the period 2011-2015 and see of a challenge from its rival Dogan Media Group.
Cukurova officials were confident that this bold move would pay off and in fact they were, partly, right. According to IHS TV Intelligence data the operator's revenues for the five-year period 2013-2017 are forecast to grow from 1.469bn Turkish liras in 2013 to 1.898bn Turkish liras in 2017, a growth of 29.2 per cent. ARPU for the same period is forecast to grow from 35.69 Turkish liras in 2013 to 40.11 Turkish liras in 2017, a rise of 12.36 per cent. Digiturk is spending more than 40 per cent of its revenues for the rights.
It appears likely that Cukurova will hold onto the Digiturk pay satellite platform, its flagship company in the media sector. The company is betting heavily on the high growth potential of the Turkish pay TV market. According to IHS, pay TV households in the country will rise from 5.5m in 2012 to 6.9m in 2017, experiencing a 25 per cent growth. Pay TV revenues for the same five-year time-frame will rise from €778m in 2012 to €1401 in 2017, an impressive increase of 80 per cent. IHS SD is forecasting that Digiturk subscribers will increase from 3.2m in 2012 to around 4m in 2016.
The free-to-air television market in Turkey is effectively dominated by four media conglomerates: Dogan Media Group, Dogus Group, Calik Holding Group and Ciner Holding Group. Channels controlled by these companies, together with Fox TV (owned by News Corp), attract more than 80 per cent of TV ratings' numbers daily in the country. Last April in Ankara, the regulator RTUK, awarded 33 national digital terrestrial (DTT) licences. See our 22 April 2013 update, Turkish regulator awards 33 DTT licences.