24/03/2021   Alice Thorpe, Maria Dunleavey
New Turkish SVoD Exxen overtakes Netflix and BluTV as largest commissioner of local VoD originals

Acun Ilıcalı’s Acun Medya, which owns local television channels in Turkey under the TV8 brand, launched Exxen in January 2021. The platform, which launched with a slate of all-original content, now has the largest upcoming slate of local VoD originals in Turkey, ahead of both global SVoD Netflix and established local rival BluTV.

Ampere’s Q3 2020 Consumer survey showed that over 80% of Turkish respondents subscribed to at least one SVoD service (up 5.4 percentage points from the last consumer wave, the second highest increase of any Ampere Consumer market behind Saudi Arabia). The same self-reported Q3 2020 survey showed that the amount of time spent watching SVoD overtook linear TV viewing amongst respondents in Turkey for the first time. 

International SVoD players have seen the biggest uptick in subscriptions in Turkey in recent years, but the percentage of local content available on their platforms remains low. At the time of Exxen’s launch, local content accounted for just 4% of distinct titles available on Netflix’s Turkish service, while Amazon has yet to make any significant moves to localise its Turkish Prime Video offering. Local platform BluTV—in which Discovery became a 35% investor in January 2021—also remains heavily reliant on international acquisitions. 

With Netflix announcing the opening of an Istanbul office and plans to double down on local production in Turkey, new players such as Exxen and Gözde Akpınar’s short-form content platform GAİN—which also launched in January 2021—are looking to get ahead of the global players’ local expansion. Despite both services launching during the pandemic, Exxen has announced over 60 original shows to date, while GAİN launched with a slate of 30 short-form originals. A steady supply of new content will be crucial to both services if they are to establish themselves in the country’s rapidly growing SVoD market.

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