OGM Universe Brings Two Fresh Hits to NATPE Budapest
As one of Turkey’s newest distribution companies, OGM Universe will make its debut at NATPE Budapest this June. Ekin Koyuncu, Global Distribution & Partnership Director at OGM Pictures, tells TVBIZZ Magazine about the company’s first steps on the international TV market and the growing catalog of Turkish hits which are already catching the eye of buyers around the globe. The new hits, Stickman and Miracle of Love, are the stars of OGM Universe’s debut in Budapest.
Ekin Koyuncu, Global Distribution & Partnership Director at OGM Pictures
Ekin, OGM Pictures was founded in 2019 and quickly became one of Turkey’s most successful production companies. OGM Universe was then set up to sell the latest hits from OGM. Tell us more about the company and its success story?
OGM UNIVERSE is a very new company, as we launched in October 2022. During these eight months we worked on the brand, on the recognition of both OGM Pictures and OGM UNIVERSE, because prior to launching OGM UNIVERSE, there were very hit titles produced by OGM Pictures such as Red Room, The Innocents, Chrysalis, My Home My Destiny, which were known worldwide, and with this recognition it made our job much easier when introducing our new venture. We are working hard on explaining the clients what we produced in the past and what we’re going to produce in the future; with a zero-failure rate and by dominating the highest percentage of the viewership in Turkey, showing the clients what’s coming up, what OGM is all about.

The Turkish content segment is very competitive. What is your distribution strategy and goals?
The distribution strategy is, of course, to reach as many countries as possible. Right now, OGM UNIVERSE’s catalog we have two primetime titles, Stickman and Miracle of Love, and we have a daily drama called Broken Destiny that we co-produced with Stellar Yapım, who are experts at producing daily dramas. So far, we are pleased with our licensings with these three titles, and our strategy is to create diversity in our catalog with new titles, with different genres and try to be appealing for both linear and non-linear platforms. Right now, our most requested title is Stickman and Broken Destiny. Soon, I will be informing about Stickman’s second season, and our daily drama has now ended, but especially in CEE and Latin America, there is great demand for this daily drama because now there are more daily slots available in the world for Turkish drama.

How many projects do you have in the pipeline?
As you know, we have an exclusive production deal with Star TV, one of the leading TV stations in Turkey. The channel is now ranking in the top three. We have three more dramas in our pipeline. The first one will premiere at the beginning of September and then hopefully two more in October and November. But since we are responsible for their seven night primetime, the library will grow fast until the third quarter of 2024. We will be offering around 6 to 7 titles. Soon we will be announcing our new titles.

What will be your highlights for NATPE Budapest?
We are bringing Stickman, Miracle of Love and Broken Destiny to Natpe Budapest. Even thought Miracle of Love will be ending this season, we are getting great interest from the buyers, it’s a very dramatic, very strong kind of fiction, very new in terms of genre for Turkey. It was the first time in Turkey that such a thing was tried on Free TV, about а 130-year-old man who’s not aging and who is not dying out of aging. It was a bit difficult for the audience to accept this reality. But again, with these trials, with the new trials of genre, we will expand our creativity in Turkish production. Therefore, you will see more examples of these kind of projects from OGM Pictures.

Birkan Sokullu and Ebru Şahin in Miracle of Love

What are some of the trends that you have observed on the Turkish market recently?
The psychological drama trend began with OGM pictures, and it broke records. The Innocents, Red Room, might not be as popular in terms of international reach as Golden Boy or Chrysalis, but it’s very import-ant that we feed our creativity and not limit ourselves with the regular melodramas. In additional to our linear productions, on the streaming part we see darker, edgier productions. In addition, fiction with self-improvement, feel-good and real-life stories.

How important is the “international factor” when producing series in Turkey which are then meant to travel to the rest of the world? Do you take into account the preferences of viewers “from abroad”?
It’s very, very important. Nowadays, it gained even more importance than before, because right now, as you know, we are, after the US, Turkey is the second country in drama export globally. Therefore, for the producers, the channels, the distributors, international success and licensing gained a huge importance. It’s in our agenda, that while picking the titles for the new season, we are also considering the the taste of the international audience.

Of course, our DNA, the Turkish production DNA is all about melodrama. It’s all about these strong love triangles, beautiful setups, a great production quality, strong casting and acting which is well liked all over the world.

What type of drama are international buyers looking to acquire at the moment?
The preference for TV genres varies across different territories. For instance, historical and costume dramas tend to perform exceptionally well in some territories, while romantic comedies are popular in some other specific parts of the world. However, if we were to generalize, melodramas emerge as the highlight in most parts of the world. Turkish productions have a distinct DNA that encompasses rich storytelling, excellent production quality, compelling performances, and breathtaking landscapes. When all these factors align, the content becomes familiar and intriguing for over 100 countries.

Turkey has been struggling with extremely high inflation at the recent earthquake disaster. How has this affected the series production market?
It affected everything in Turkey. Right now, the dollar rate to the Turkish lira to almost 24. Of course, this is going to affect the production budgets and the advertisement market, especially on the channel side. There will be some financial problems with payments, with market attendance, with advertising budgets. Everything will be affected. So, with our sales we will try to balance this issue, but it’s going to be a huge problem as it is right now and we will feel it in the very near future.

Miracle of Love

As another business opportunity, are you looking to expand your business through international co-productions, for example?
Yes, of course. Each market, in addition to licensing our ready-made productions, we look for opportunities to expand our relationship in Spain, in Latin America, in Central and Eastern Europe, with strong partners and platforms. We would love to co-produce or produce and also include those international titles in our library. It can be vice versa. We can find stories from abroad and adapt them here, or we can adapt our own stories on the local markets. We are looking for these kinds of opportunities.
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