Market Insight

Turkish OTT subscriptions go bundled amid economic turmoil

September 10, 2018

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  • Despite Turkey’s recent economic decline, it still boasts an over-the-top (OTT) subscription video subscriber base of 3.9 million subscribers (excluding multiscreen services) – the largest in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Netflix and Amazon comprised just 5 percent of the Turkish subscription-video market in 2017, falling behind numerous Turkish players, as local content and pricing have proven vital to service success.
  • When combined with the standalone sector, Turkish virtual pay TV made up almost 95 percent of the non-multiscreen subscription base along with over 80 percent of subscription revenue in 2017.
  • Bundled virtual pay TV subscriptions from Turkcell, Türk Telekom and Vodafone Turkey outweighed the rest of Turkey's non-multiscreen market by almost 4:1 in 2017, owing largely to the low price offered to mobile subscribers. The extremely low cost of some of these services has reduced Turkey’s 2017 annual average revenue per user (ARPU) to just over $20.

Our analysis

As the bridge between the European and Arabic worlds, Turkey’s OTT market exhibits a highly individual set of characteristics. These characteristics, blended with recent economic hardship and a significant depreciation of the Turkish lira, have molded a market that respects the value of high-quality content, but one that is also growing more conservative with its spending.

Many local operators are capitalizing on their position as media and access technology conglomerates, to provide their OTT media services as part of larger bundles and reducing the price of these services to next to nothing. These bundled virtual pay TV services offer first- and third-party channels, both live and on demand, much like Direct TV Now in the United States and NOW TV in the United Kingdom. However, they are offered either at a discounted rate or exclusively to existing customers of the operator. These players including Turkcell, Türk Telekom and Vodafone Turkey captured 77 percent of the Turkish OTT subscription video market for non-multiscreen service subscriptions in 2017.

Having claimed the majority of the market, these local players have left Netflix and Amazon with little room. Despite localizing the service in November 2016, Netflix has been unable to readily draw in Turkish consumers to the platform, owing to its relatively high cost and a relative lack of Turkish original content. Even so, the US dollar’s higher value in Turkey will aid international players in purchasing Turkish content for local and overseas audiences in the future.

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