Disney+ removed 77% of Turkish productions from its platform in Turkey in July 2023, bringing the number of local titles available on the service down from 107 in June to only 25 in July, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.
This removal of titles is in contrast to 2022, when Turkey was a key focus of Disney+’s commissioning strategy outside of the United States. In 2022, Turkish productions made up 15% of the platform’s international commissions announced throughout the year, falling behind only South Korea and the UK (which had 19% and 16% shares, respectively).
The move comes as other international subscription video-on-demand services, including Lionsgate+ and Viaplay, pivot their strategy away from prioritizing subscriber growth and towards revenue growth and profitability. While Disney+ is not currently exiting markets like Lionsgate+ and Viaplay, its revised strategy will focus in on core markets that have a high potential to generate profits, as mentioned in Disney’s most recent Q2 2023 earnings call.
Investments into local content will be made in these core markets and reduced in others, leading to cost savings not just from fewer productions but from the elimination of licensing fees and streaming residuals for content that is not driving profits, as well as the opportunity for Disney+ to license its original Turkish content to local players. According to Ampere Analysis, this decision indicates that Turkey is not one of Disney+’s core markets, with the high inflation in the country making it less lucrative for a company operating on an international scale.
While Turkish productions made up 29% of the top 100 popular titles on Disney+ in Turkey in June 2023, it is likely that US content drives subscribers to the platform. Ampere’s Consumer survey suggests that while Disney+ users in Turkey are as likely to watch locally produced content as the average Internet user in the country, they are more likely to watch US-produced content. In fact, 75% of Disney+ users claimed to watch USA TV series “sometimes” or “very often” compared to only 61% of all Internet users in Turkey.
“US content, which currently makes up over 80% of Disney+’s catalogue, will likely still attract subscribers to the service after the removal of a large portion of Turkish titles,” concluded Lauren Liversedge, Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.