HANDAN ÖZKUBAT, DIRECTOR OF TURKISH DRAMA, ECCHO RIGHTS
Eccho Rights is a development agent and distributor of drama series. It licences 17,000 hours of drama series to platforms, broadcasters and clients worldwide through its offices in Stockholm, Istanbul, London, Madrid and Seoul.
Handan Özkubat, Eccho Rights’ Director of Turkish Drama, representing the upcoming series “I Am Mother” and “Kara”, answered our questions.
As Eccho Rights, you represent and sell various content produced in different countries around the world. However, we would like to start with some questions focused on Turkish content. Last week, you announced that you represent the O3 Medya’s highly anticipated series, “I Am Mother”, in Türkiye. Özge Özpirinçci’s previous series, “Woman”, was very successful internationally and well watched abroad. What are your predictions for “I Am Mother”? Are there countries that already have shown interest or made purchases?
Written by talented scriptwriters Melis Civelek & Zeynep Gür, directed by Nezaket Coşkun and featuring inputs from the highly accomplished director Zeynep Günay as the creative consultant; the series has a strong story that revolves around the deep connections between mothers and children. It’s the kind of real and emotion-packed storytelling that both Turkish and international audiences love.
Featuring great actors like Özge Özpirinçci, Demet Akbağ, Necip Memilli and Metin Akdülger; the series is expected to be a big success. Their exceptional acting skills contribute to the authenticity and impact of the narrative. It comes as no surprise that the series is anticipated to be a major hit, resonating strongly with viewers who appreciate emotionally charged storytelling.
The significant interest from LatAm and MENA regions is noteworthy. Currently, we are already in discussions for several major deals. The global appeal of the storyline, combined with the outstanding performances of the cast, and the consistent high production quality, led by the acclaimed producer Saner Ayar from O3 Medya, positions the series as a compelling and sought-after product in the international market.
You also represent the eagerly awaited series “Kara”, produced by Most Production. “Kara”, starring Öykü Karayel and İlker Kaleli, is both a love story which seems to have action-detective elements. What are your expectations and predictions for “Kara” ?
I wouldn’t categorize it as having detective elements; it revolves around “Kara” seeking the truth about his father. Throughout his journey, we witness him transforming into a modern-day Robin Hood, fighting for his love. The story is cleverly framed, delivering the dynamic, striking, and surprising elements that we all crave. It’s a series that fulfills the longing we have for such narratives.
Murat Can Oğuz, the producer and also one of the creative team members along with Ayberk Çınar and Aslı Gönülay, have worked tirelessly to bring this story to life. With an exceptionally talented cast led by İlker Kaleli and Öykü Karayel, and guided by a visionary director, Ender Mıhlar, they have strived to create a narrative that is not only enthralling but also profoundly engaging. I believe it will be highly successful internationally as well.
The number of Turkish TV series that can be defined within the thriller-crime genre is increasing. You also represent many series of this genre produced in different countries. As a professional familiar with the industry, how do you evaluate the audience’s interest in this genre? Do you think Turkish content should take more steps in this genre?
Internationally, there is still a preference for such productions from the United States or the United Kingdom, as they are deemed more credible. Personally, I believe that this genre is well-suited for streaming platforms and can find the right audience there. It’s still not generally a preferred genre for Turkish series viewers and the companies acquiring content around the world. Therefore, taking steps to develop content in this genre for platforms would be sufficient.
Arguably one of the most talked-about Turkish content globally in the past year is “Golden Boy”. How many countries has “Golden Boy” been sold to so far, and in which countries has it attracted more attention?
“Golden Boy” has garnered significant global attention, becoming one of the most talked-about Turkish content in the past year, exactly as you said. We’ve surpassed 150 countries, and to be honest, we lost count in the last few months! 🙂 The latest broadcast in Mega Chile under the title Seyran y Ferit has been exceptionally successful. In fact, it has claimed the title of the most-watched Turkish drama during prime time in 2023, consistently securing the highest ratings in its schedule, making it the day’s undisputed winner.
In your opinion, why has “Golden Boy” been so beloved worldwide?
“Golden Boy”s widespread popularity can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, it boasts a well-crafted script that captures the audience’s attention and keeps them engaged. The adept handling of archetypes and their placement in the storyline contributes to its universal appeal.
The casting choices were spot-on, with each actor delivering compelling performances that resonate with viewers. Furthermore, the presence of a great producer, who ensures high production standards and a captivating narrative, adds to the show’s overall quality.
Additionally, being a passionate distributor like Eccho Rights, dedicated to promoting and distributing the series effectively, plays a crucial role in its global success.
In essence, the combination of a strong script, thoughtful handling of archetypes, excellent casting, a top-notch producer, and a passionate distributor collectively contributes to the widespread success and positive reception of “Golden Boy” worldwide.
Our producers often adapt series from successful content-producing countries such as Israel, Korea, and the USA, and many times, Turkish adaptations surpass the original in terms of international sales. What do you think are the reasons for this success?
The success of Turkish adaptations of series from content-rich countries like Israel, Korea, and the United States often surpassing the original in international sales can be attributed to several key factors.
One fundamental principle that makes Turkish series universally appealing is the international nature of the male and female archetypes portrayed. Someone arriving in Istanbul can feel as though they are not just in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East but can experience a sense of being in those places.
Turkish series have a unique ability to create this immersive feeling. They possess a universal quality that resonates with a broad audience while avoiding a singular national identity, setting them apart from productions in other countries. This distinctive characteristic is a cornerstone that sets our productions apart from those of other nations.
Let’s ask for a general assessment about 2023. As Eccho Rights, what were your most popular content and significant steps in 2023? How was this year for you?
Our outlook on 2023 has been incredibly positive at Eccho Rights, marking another successful year for us. In terms of popular content, notable mentions include “Golden Boy”, “Legacy”, “Chrysalis”, and “Redemption”, which have been the most sought-after and widely sold series for us in the past year. These titles have captivated international audiences, contributing significantly to our success in 2023.
We’ve taken significant steps in expanding the reach and impact of our content, forging new partnerships, and strengthening our position in the global market. Overall, it’s been a year of growth, achievement, and continued success for Eccho Rights.
What are your goals for 2024?
Our primary goal for 2024 is to maintain the satisfaction of our clients by consistently delivering the right content that connects with their audiences. By ensuring our clients are content, we aim to contribute to the happiness of their viewers as well. Our focus will remain on what we excel at – distribution.
We plan to continue providing top-notch distribution services, expanding our reach, and fostering successful partnerships to further solidify our position in the industry. Ultimately, in 2024, we aspire to build on our strengths and continue being a reliable and innovative partner in content distribution.