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Discovery ramps up Turkish efforts

Discovery Networks CEEMEA has launched five of its channels on the two biggest pay-TV operators in Turkey and is preparing to open a new office as it targets growth in the region.

Discovery previously operated seven channels on the country’s third largest platform, DSmart, but has now signed carriage deals with DigiTurk and Teledunya.

DigiTurk will carry Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Science, while Teledunya will take those three plus Discovery World and ID: Investigation Discovery.

Phillip Luff, VP and country manager for emerging business, Discovery Networks CEEMEA, told C21: “This is a significant change to the way we’re operating our business here in Turkey. We’d been operating on one platform and now suddenly we’re on all major platforms across the market.”

Discussions are also taking place about carriage on IPTV network TTNet and Discovery is recruiting staff for an office that it hopes to open soon in the country. Sales House, a local independent media sales company, has been appointed to promote the brand and sell its advertising space.

Luff said locally produced programming was an option, similar to the approach Discovery has adopted in other countries such as Poland and Russia.

“Our programming strategy is to do global productions that work right across the world but include local stories,” said Luff. “In Extreme Engineering, we did an episode where we featured the Deriner Dam in Turkey. One of the things our team will be looking for is stories and features out of Turkey that we can take to a global audience.”

Further channel roll-outs could follow, with Turkey being eyed as the potential next destination for Discovery’s female-skewing lifestyle channel TLC.

“Our aim is to have maximum distribution of all brands and we will continue discussions to see what opportunities there are to add channels or bring more channels into the market,” added Luff.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to launch TLC. It’s a key flagship network that is doing well in Poland and Russia, and is probably our strongest brand in South Africa now. I’m keen to get distribution of TLC in this market. Conversations continue and we’re raising awareness of what sort of channel it is.”

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