The Turkish audiovisual market is one of the largest in Europe with almost 18 million television households. The majority of audiences view private channels. The Doğan Group had the largest daily audience market share in 2012 with its channels Kanal D (11.7%) and Star TV (9.4%), ahead of ATV (Çalık Group, 11%), Fox Türk (News Corp group, 7.8%) and Show TV (Çukurova Group, 5.9%). (Audience data source: Eurodata TV Worldwide / Nielsen Television Audience Measurement / TIAK).
The most important reception platforms are terrestrial and satellite. Three services dominate the multi-channel market: the satellite platforms Digitürk (Çukurova group) and D-Smart (Doğan Group) and the cable TV service Türksat (national operator). Digitürk claimed to have 3 257 million subscribers at the end of 2012, followed by D-Smart with over 1.6 million and Türksat with 1.25 million customers in September 2012. Mobile TV services, operated by Avea, Türkcell, Türk Telekom or Vodoafone Turkey, are competing with one another in Turkey. Regarding IPTV, a first service called Tivibu Ev was launched in September 2010 by TTNET (a subsidiary of Türk Telekom) which had 119 000 subscribers in September 2012.
Following a decision by the RTÜK, the transition period for the digital terrestrial switchover started in 2013, with analogue and digital broadcasts continuing simultaneously. The analogue switch off is set for March 2015 with DVB-T2 being the standard for digital terrestrial broadcasts. Tenders for the capacities of 33 national, 28 regional and 567 local licences are currently under way.
The Doğan audiovisual group (which operates Kanal D, Star TV, CNN Türk and the D-Smart satellite platform), was accused of tax evasion and ordered to pay heavy fines in 2009. The amounts involved were higher than the total value of the group, which is reputedly hostile to the present government. This led to international disquiet with regard to media plurality and freedom of expression in the country. The company challenged the fines in court in August 2010 but lost their case and had to pay the approximate amount of EUR 476 million. In October 2012 the company announced that it had paid off all its restructured tax debts to the Finance Ministry.
The Doğan group is among the potential buyers of the leading satellite pay-TV operator Digitürk. Other bids include those by Türk Telekom or Qatar’s Al Jazeera. Digitürk was seized by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) in May 2012 due to the scale of depts the Çukurova group owes to the agency.
The Turkish Law on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Broadcasts has been repealed by a new law that was adopted by the Turkish Parliament on 15 February 2011 and entered into force on 3 March 2011.
The new law was prepared with the intention of solving current problems the Turkish media sector has been facing. It contains completely new provisions alongside articles that repeat related provisions of the repealed law. The most important changes may be summarised under the following four titles:
1. The Turkish Media Sector has been regulated in accordance with EU standards. For example, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/ EU has been taken into consideration in terms of the responsibilities of crossborder media service providers. The scope of Art. 3, titled “Definitions”, is enlarged to include the new concepts mentioned in the Directive. Namely, new items such as European works, media service provider, editorial responsibility and commercial communication have been added.
2. The articles relating to advertising have been revised and broadened. The time allowed for commercial breaks is limited to 20% per hour while the media service provider decides on the frequency of the breaks. Product placement is permitted in cinema and TV films, TV series, sports and entertainment programmes, provided that it does not infringe the editorial independence and responsibilities of the respective media service providers.
3. The period and date of the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting have been clarified. The procedures relating to the frequency planning are regulated in detail in Art. 26. A provisional article declares that the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting has to be completed in 2015. The term of the broadcasting license is extended from five years to ten.
4. The partnership structure of radio and television enterprises has been revised. One of the most important changes concerns the structure of media companies. However, with the new law, the ratio for the share of foreign capital has been raised to 50%.
This description was last updated in December 2013, along with details on channels and line-ups. Changes to channel offers are updated on a regular basis.