Sony Pictures Television Networks has taken a majority stake in Turkish free-to-air network Planet TV. The deal is joint venture with Turkish advertising group Satis Ofisi. It would rep the second big Turkish media deal in a few days, following on from Korea’s CJ- CGV acquired leading Turkish theatre chain Mars Cinema in a deal reported to be worth $687 million. Turkey has a particularly dynamic media environment, with growing box office and, on TV, a vibrant sector with almost 18 million households in the gateway between Europe and Asia.
Sony’s deal marks its first entry into the dynamic Turkish TV market. Planet TV has four channels: Pembe, which airs Turkish soaps and dramas; Turk, which airs local movies; cooking channel Mutfak and Cocuk, a kids channel. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.
“Turkey is an incredibly vibrant market, and we’ve been looking for the right opportunity to establish a footprint there for some time,” said Lyle Stewart, senior vice president, SPT Networks, CEEMA, in a statement.
Under the deal Satis Ofisi will sell ads for the Planet TV portfolio. In other markets, such as the Arab world, where broadcasters have teamed with advertisers, the structure has tended to see the advertisers pay the broadcaster a minimum guarantee for the airtime and then go and sell that in as optimal a manner as possible. It’s not clear if that is how the Sony-Ofisi relationship will work moving forward. Financial details of the deal were also not disclosed.
Sony isn’t the first Western company to enter Turkey. Last year, Discovery Communications signed a pact to buy news and entertainment channel CNBC-e from the Dogus Media Group, with Dogus handing ad sales for the company. Rupert Murdoch has long had Fox Turkey and Fox International Channels Turkey while beIN Media closed a deal last year for Turkey’s biggest pay TV network Digiturk, for a figure believed to be in excess of $1 billion.