Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soft Power, or the geopolitical impact of Turkish Soap Operas and Dramas

I was fortunate enough to shoot a story for Monocle last October, here at home in Istanbul - it came out last December as the leading story in the magazine, main theme being "Soft Power". The topic was Turkish Soap Operas and its geopolitical impact world wide. I was thrilled as I had just pitched that story to another magazine a month earlier or so.

Turkish drama television series and soap operas are seen by 25 to 30 million people weekly (!) in Turkey and have become pop-culture phenomenon abroad, especially in the Arab world, Eastern Europe, Middle East but also all across Africa. In Saudi Arabia, Gumus's final episode (a popular Turkish melodrama) attracted a record 85 million Arab viewers when it aired in August 2011...

On the first day of the assignment, I met up with the producers and distributors of some famous Turkish Soap Operas - office shots... Not my favorite, but it was quite striking to see the world map on the wall with all the places where Turkish TV series had been sold...

On the second day, I was on set nearby my house, on the shooting of Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki ("As Time goes by"), the current hit of Turkish drama television series. The series got many awards and broke several viewer records with a continuous weekly market share of 50- 60 % - that's Huge.

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