Goryana Vasileva: Turkish Drama is Life Itself

 Goryana Vasileva: Turkish Drama is Life Itself

Goryana Vasileva, Sales Manager of Calinos Entertainment (Western Europe & OTT), answered Episode International’s questions. Calinos Entertainment is the distributor of Farah, the series featured on the cover of Episode International’s Content Americas issue.

Of course, the Farah series was also on the agenda in our interview. We learnt that the series was sold in more than 30 countries in 2023 and new deals are on the way. Vasileva shared with us the results of Calinos’ decades of experience, which are critical for the industry, and also gave information about new production projects.


We would like to start with your trending series Farah. How is Farah’s international sales journey going? In which countries is it currently on the air and what kind of interest is it attracting?

In 2023 Farah was sold to more than 30 countries including Azerbaijan, Albania, Lithuania, Romania and the MENA countries and the deals for many countries in different regions including LATAM; will be finalised in the upcoming days.

turkish drama

Calinos was founded in 1999 and was actually the first company to sell Turkish TV series abroad and for 25 years you have sold content to more than 105 countries. What do you think has changed the most in the sector in these 25 years in which Calinos has also played an important role?

“25 years” means two and a half decades so, I can say that the audience has changed, for sure…

Middle aged ones turned into elders, children turned into young & young adults etc… At the moment we have at least three generations among our audience and this already affected the viewership habits.

25 years ago, people were watching only Free TV broadcast from traditional TV devices and the broadcasts were in SD format. Today, people have multiple device options for watching whatever they want and wherever they want, with at least HD quality options. These innovations positively affected the industry and helped to widen the presence of Turkish drama around the world.


Calinos also represents Turkish TV series that can be called cult series. Woman, Our Story, Feriha, Cherry Season, No 309… Which Turkish TV series represented by Calinos have sold to the most countries or made the most impact?

Calinos Entertainment was the first to sell Turkish content abroad, the drama Wild Heart to Kazakhstan, in 2001. The success of Wild Heart was so big in Kazakhstan that it has already been aired 14 times in the country, which is a world record for a long run series in the same country. And it was always a success.

Word spread quickly and we started selling in other CIS countries, Georgia, the Balkans, CEE, the Middle East. 10 years ago, Latin America joined, today we are in North America, Asia, Western Europe, now growing in Africa. Every year we add new countries, new partners.

For the last decade; I can say The Girl Named Feriha, Our Story, Woman and Forbidden Fruit are the most successful shows in the globe from the phenomenal Calinos Catalogue. Even at the moment these dramas continue to add new success to their rate cards.

As “The First Turkish TV Series Broadcasted in Primetime on a Western European National Channel” Woman has reached more than one million viewers via Spain’s Antena3 and has made a tremendous impact in more than 90 countries it was aired including the U.S.

Woman is on air as Mujer with its second season in the U.S. on Univision and it is entitled as “The Most Watched Daily TV Show” in the Hispanic prime time.

One of the long-lasting dramas in Turkish drama history, Forbidden Fruit continued to widen its fandom around the world in 2023.

In spring it was aired in on Atresmedia’s Antena 3 in Spain and with its afternoon debut, Pecado Original had “The Best Fiction Premiere in A Decade” in its time slot and is listed among part of the successful content that brings the network its 16 months of consecutive leadership. Currently screening on Chilevisión in Chile; it is listed among “The Most Watched TV Shows of The Day” with its 3rd & 4th seasons and got 56% share on WAPATV in Puerto Rico with its 2nd season. It continues with its 3rd season in Puerto Rico; with its 6th season in Chile.


What do you think are the reasons why some Turkish TV series have become more prominent than others, why they are watched and loved in more countries, or why they break sales records?

The classical Turkish drama works as well as it works anywhere around the world because it is based on “LOVE”. Love between men & women, love of a mother, love of a father, inaccessible love, forbidden love, broken love… Love, tears, betrayal, family ties, powerful families… This is a long-lasting list; why does it work? The answer is simple: Because “Turkish drama” is life itself.

You also represent series produced for digital platforms. Most recently, BluTV’s series Deeply started airing in Italy. How are Turkish mini-series produced for digital platforms, such as Deeply, being received around the world? Do they have as many chances as TV series in terms of sales and broadcasting?

We are eye-witnessing an explosive growth in VOD. Many com- panies are launching their own SVOD, AVOD and FAST services around the world and LATAM is still at the very beginning of this trend. Free ad-supported platforms are the fastest-growing part of the streaming business right now.

A recent report from the research firm Omdia found that FAST channel revenue grew almost 20 times between 2019 and 2022 -and is set to triple again before 2027. We are proud to say that we have done deals with major platforms worldwide such as Disney Plus, HBO Max, Amazon, Pluto etc as well as regional players, too, in almost every corner of this world.

As you mentioned, one of our dramas Deeply had its debut on Serial in Italy on December 6th. As long as the broadcasting industry continues to grow, Turkish content will continue to expand even if they are produced for Free TV or digital platforms.

Your catalogue also includes formats and programmes. Do Turkish formats and TV programmes attract interest abroad? Among the formats you represent, which ones have been sold the most and to which countries?

In formats and co-productions, Calinos has doubled its catalogue in two years, reaching 45 scripts out of the original 25 today. Premium Turkish drama That’s My Life produced by Pastel Film and No: 309 the romantic comedy produced by Gold Film, are the leading titles at our format sales.

Adela; Romanian remake of That’s My Life was a great phenomenon in Romania and had four successful seasons on Antena1. Now the channel is broadcasting Camera 609, the remake of No: 309. We also licensed the format rights of That’s My Life to Africa and it’s currently in production.

turkish drama


You represent not only TV series and programmes but also Turkish movies. Do Turkish movies attract interest abroad? Which types of films are most in demand?

The global audience generally prefers long-lasting Turkish Drama. In terms of movies; Rom-Coms are the leading type among Turkish movies around the world.

You represent not only Turkish productions but also TV series produced in different countries. Is it on your agenda to air these series on digital platforms or channels in Türkiye? Do you also make these sales?

For the last two years, we have expanded our business and now distribute international content, too. We have acquired content from Canada, Romania, Poland and Serbia, mostly crime series… The global star of the catalogue is Indefensible; it was given an award by Academy of Canadian Cinema and TV for “The Best Daily Series” at the 38th Prix Gémeaux Awards. It has just been approved to start filming its 3rd season on TVA Canada.

In addition to Indefensible another awarded Pixcom drama Alert Squad and six award winning Serbian series from Telecom Serbia; Tycoon, The Clan, No Tress-passing, The Only Way Out, The Name of People and The Well are also a part of our extensive catalogue. We also have the distribution rights in Türkiye for these titles but at the moment we haven’t signed any deal in Türkiye.

Your company also initiated Calinos Film in 2023. In other words, as far as we understand, Calinos will also produce TV series and films. What are your near-term targets and finalised projects on the production side?

We have been working in two formats from Korea; Penthouse and Lies After Lies to produce in our 25th years in Türkiye and in addition to this, our international production team are also working with different local production houses and networks for some of our formats.

ABOUT 2023 & 2024

We would like you to tell us a little about your 2023 data. How was 2023 for Calinos Entertainment? Which fairs did you participate in throughout the year, which series attracted the most attention, which series were sold to the most countries throughout the year?

Celebrating our 25th year; Calinos Entertainment has sold approximately 130,000 hours of TV programming to more than 105 countries on five continents by distributing more than 200 programs. Our phenomenal dramas Forbidden Fruit and Woman continued to conquer new countries meanwhile a new fandom wave started for Farah which we believe will continue to widen in 2024 and EGO has been acquired by TC Television in Ecuador and landed in LATAM in the last days of the year and negotiations continue for Adela in LATAM, too.

What are Calinos’ expectations for 2024, do you have new series agreements, what will you do in the new year?

As Calinos Entertainment, we have 24 years of expertise in the global platform as the first Turkish company to export Turkish series. In 2024, we will transfer -our quarter century international distribution expertise- to production and we will start to create stories with the IP rights under “Calinos Films” brand. These stories will lead us to our next 25 years.

This content was published in the Content Americas Edition of Episode

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