By ENGIN INAN
MERZİGO in an online hub which manages the digitalization processes of the productions. It is one of the fastest-growing young companies in the sector. Leading the efforts for digitalization of Turkish TV Series for propagation via different channels, the company continues to add new contents from all around the world into its catalogue. We interviewed Mr. Yiğit Doğan Çelik, Chairman of Merzigo, one of the youngest actors of the sector and asked about the future of the company and the sector.
Merzigo is one of the youngest and fastest rising players in the sector. Did you expect to grow so fast when you started? How did this success come about?
When we embarked on this journey, we inspired to be the industry pioneers. It’s a challenging endeavor without an ambitious goal and dedication.
Thanks to the full attention and dedication of every member of the team, it has become a growing and evolving business model. When we started it was difficult to get the attention of the biggest players, but step by step, we’ve proved ourselves and managed to accumulate momentum. Today, we proudly stand as the #1 player in Türkiye’s AVOD landscape and have earned our place among the leaders in the global AVOD industry.
‘PROVEN REVENUE MODELS’
You mentioned that the biggest challenge in the sector is convincing producers and channels. How did you convince them? Why should producers and channels work with Merzigo?
These industry players were already familiar with the AVOD, given the widespread popularity of Turkish drama series. To enter the AVOD sector, these parties established their own dedicated teams. Collaborating closely with their in-house teams, we shared our valuable industry expertise, enabling us to optimize their revenue. Our proven revenue models have been crucial in winning over these partners and growing our network.
DIVERSITY OF MERZIGO’S CONTENTS
Not only content produced in Türkiye, I think you receive content from all over the world. What can you say about the diversity of your content?
We didn’t start this company just to stay local, we always had the aimed becoming a global actor. We pay special attention to have a diverse collection of content from different genres and regions. Although some genres are less popular or too specific to certain areas this does not hinder our business plan since we can work with different models. We’ve developed flexible approaches that can be adjusted depending on the content or territory. While we have plenty of room for creativity, we still have to follow the guidelines provided by our platform partners.
Does Merzigo aim to produce content or create its own platform?
This year, we have indeed initiated our own productions: Love Island and Kısmetse Olur: Aşkın Gücü (Turkish format of El Poder Del Amor). While we intend to create more content in the future, we don’t want to place our primary focus on it. We’re actively seeking opportunities to improve and engage our audiences further. While our core strength lies in monetization and management, we’re open to production opportunities as well.
Both technology and viewing habits are changing rapidly. Merzigo has significant experience and know-how in this field. How do you think technology and audience preferences will evolve in the coming period?
Our primary focus is to remain at the forefront of technological advancements and seamlessly integrate them within our operations. We recognize that user behavior is shifting away from expansive subscription models, and as a result, we foresee the growing significance of AVOD and FAST in the years ahead. We are utterly excited about the possibilities offered by current technologies. For example, we have plans to leverage these technologies in this content driven landscape. One of our strategic endeavors is investing in AI for subtitling and dubbing services, marking our commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation in the content space.
What can you say about the most watched and demanded content today?
We have primarily local and Europe/America/ Asia-focused collaborations. Among these, the most preferred content is usually series, especially long-running drama series, and action films.
However, it’s important to note that preferences can vary significantly from one territory to another. For instance, in Latin America, Turkish series still hold a predominant position in viewership. We adapt our content strategies to suit the specific tastes of each region while staying globally relevant.
Today’s technology also brings an important problem: piracy. How does Merzigo deal with piracy when managing such a large amount of content from different regions? In which countries or regions do you face this problem most frequently?
Piracy is undoubtedly a global challenge. We have implemented a robust CMS software, through which we provide a constant protection against piracy and track the content around the clock and continuously monitor across various regions. Together with our own in-house technology in conjunction with third-party services we proactively deal with piracy issues.
We encounter this problem mostly in countries where anti-piracy regulations are in sufficient if not completely absent.
What are Merzigo’s goals and plans for the coming period?
Although we’ve touched upon our goals and plans earlier, let me summarize our key objectives. First and foremost, we’re dedicated to expanding globally by building strong partnerships both locally and internationally. As a tech-driven company, we’re passionate about advancing our technology tools to stay at the forefront and possibly turn them into successful businesses.
We’re also expanding our content production, all driven by our aim to fortify our pioneer status in the digital content industry. We’re excited about the journey ahead and determined to create a significant impact.