Warner Bros. Discovery Buys Turkish SVOD Service BluTV Ahead of Max Global Rollout

Warner Bros. Discovery has acquired the remaining stake of Turkish subscription streaming VOD service BluTV for an undisclosed amount. WBD acquired a 35% stake in the seven-year-old streamer in 2021.

BluTV, under the direction of CEO Deniz Şaşmaz Oflaz, released its first original production, “Innocent,” in 2017, and currently has 26 original productions, in addition to launching free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service in 2022. Earlier this year, the platform began streaming select HBO programming.

BluTV is expected to be rebranded as Max going forward as WBD rolls out its branded SVOD platform internationally.

“Turkey has been an important investment territory for us for over 20 years and the acquisition of BluTV brings Turkey’s first local SVOD player into our portfolio,” Jamie Cooke, GM for CEE, Middle East and Turkey at WBD, said in a statement. “Together we bring Turkish audiences the most compelling viewing experience and expand the reach of Turkish content globally.”

Netflix Applies for License to Continue Operating in Turkey as Erdogan Government Cracks Down on Media

With President Tayyip Erdogan’s hardline Turkish government eyeing greater oversight on the media, Netflix has reportedly applied for a new license to continuing streaming content to about 200,000 subscribers.

RTUK, the country’s media regulatory agency, was recently granted greater authority over the country’s radio, television and online content — a move some critics contend could turn to censorship, according to Reuters.

Netflix’s license application was first disclosed by RTUK President Ebubekir Sahin in a post on Twitter. Sahin said more than 600 media entities operating in the country — including local streaming services Puhu TV and Blu TV — had applied for licenses.

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In addition to the license, media operators must adhere to RTUK content standards, which haven’t been disclosed. Failure to adhere to the guidelines after 30 days could result in license suspension or cancelation.

Erdogan, who is facing corruption charges and greater voter backlash, holds executive powers to issue executive decrees, appoint judges and heads of state institutions — including the media.

Netflix Expecting $15B in Subscription Fees in 2018

Subscription streaming video pioneer Netflix reportedly expects to generate $15 billion in user fees in 2018 – almost twice the $8 billion it will spend on original content.

That from co-founder Reed Hastings, who was in Los Angeles at a corporate tech event, as reported by Nikkei Asian Review.

Of course, with 117 million subscribers globally – and growing daily – revenue growth is the ongoing driver behind the Netflix’s original content ambitions – and admiration on Wall Street.

Befitting Hasting’s singular vision, he brushed off a question about whether Disney’s pending acquisition of 20th Century Fox posed a threat, saying the only threat facing Netflix is complacency.

“The threat is, probably, that we just slack off,” he said.

The dotcom billionaire reiterated Netflix has no desire to pursue live sports – unlike rival Amazon Prime Video – focusing instead original episodic programing and feature films.

Indeed, Netflix announced its first original (and language) programs for SVOD services in Turkey and Poland – the former beginning principal photography March 7.

The 10-episode super hero fantasy follows Hakan, a young shopkeeper whose modern world gets turned upside down when he learns he’s connected to a secret, ancient order, tasked with protecting Istanbul.

Separately, original Polish political drama, “1983,” features Robert Więckiewicz and Maciej Musiał as a disgraced police investigator and an idealistic law student who stumble upon a conspiracy that changed the course of the nation and kept the communist Iron Curtain standing.

The series is directed by 1992 Oscar-nominee Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa).

Hastings said Netflix would continue to create its own business opportunities going forward, rather than mimic trends.

“To follow a competitor? Never, never, never!” he said.