The global expansion of online subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon Prime generated grounds for a new media culture in Turkey. Following suit, two of the biggest conglomerates of Turkey, Doğuş Holding and Doğan Holding, constructed their own global streaming services, respectively, PuhuTV and BluTV. A brief analysis of the Turkish streaming platforms highlights that original shows by these digital services (i) developed a new media culture as a result of a lack of government regulation, and (ii) created a potential to change a highly criticized production culture in the Turkish television industry.
Original shows in PuhuTV and BluTV are examples of short-term freedom in Turkish media; they are less regulated and uncensored compared to the stringent regulations on traditional Turkish broadcasting imposed by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK). This digital freedom introduced Netflix-like approaches in episode-making to attract global subscribers while guaranteeing sponsorship from big corporations and using product replacement extensively to offer content, respectively for free and for a monthly-fee. However, RTÜK will be soon regulating these online streaming platforms including Netflix Turkey. This means the burden of censorship will soon weight on the freedom of Turkish media culture in digital platforms.
The online streaming platforms also established at least two new viewing practices. First, they shortened the duration of episodes compared to shows broadcast on Turkish television channels. These shorter running times promote worker-friendly practices and address some of the concerns raised during media industry protests. Second, they reinforced the binge-watching culture to audiences. This accommodates their desire for extended entertainment.
Similar to all other streaming services, Turkish platforms also have to resolve issues of internet access, slow internet speed and internet piracy. Turkish streaming gives exposure to a way of life and imagination in Turkey that propels the country into the digital inequality of the new globally connected world of internet-based entertainment.