Saturday, December 17, 2011

TV Culture: Turkey Vs. America

Hadise on the Beyaz Talk Show
We all know that there is a significant culture surrounding the TV with movies, drama, music, reality shows, game shows, talk shows, and more. How has the TV culture rubbed off on Turkey/the world? How is the TV culture different between America and Turkey? What are commercials like in Turkey compared to America? Which are my favorite commercials in Turkey? (*Videos located at the bottom*) How much does a Turk watch a TV compared to an American? While I can't say personally that I watch much TV in American or Turkey, if not at all many times; however, let's see if I can dive into this and write something from my point of view.

According to a recent Business Week article "in 64% of (American) homes, the TV is on during meals." They also mention the relationship between obesity and the hours watching TV; while meals in Turkey are typically spent at the dinner table or restaurant surrounded by family or friends, not the TV.
To be objective with these facts though, I would point out that the average Turkish family has 1 or no car, while typically every American with a license has a car. Turks need and want to walk everywhere and typically spend more of their time outside than in front of the TV. An American does not need to walk, they will drive anywhere even when it's a 5 minute walk, and they will even drive around a parking lot searching for a front space. But this is going off topic.

While Turks do not spend as much time in front of the TV as an American, they still spend a significant amount of time in front of the TV. The main thing you will see on a TV is a football (Soccer), Basketball, or volleyball game. This culture has floated from America. American football and basketball is highly rated, marketed, and watched by Americans, and is being pushed internationally. Turks are quite into NBA, in fact, when I first arrived, I was frequently asked, "What is your favorite basketball team?" While in America you will have a football party at home, Turks will do the same, but typically they will gather in a cafe and chant, holler, and scream for their favorite team. For an American the Superbowl is probably the most important thing in the world, possibly the universe; while for a Turk, anytime Fenerbache and Galatasaray (A HUGE national soccer rival) plays it is as important as the Superbowl is for an American.

There is also a big push for game shows in Turkey the past year, like that of America. Many of the American game shows have been turned into shows here in Turkey. For example:
  • "So you think you can dance" is "Yok Boyle Dans/ Nothing like this dance"
  • Survivor is Survivor
  • America Got Talent is "Yetenik Sizsiniz Turkiye"
  • The Voice is "O Ses Turkiye/ The voice of Turkey"
  • Who wants to be a millionaire is "Kim milyoner olmak ister?"
  • Deal or No deal is "Var misin yok musun?"
  • The weakest Link is "En zayif halka"
  • Wheel of Fortune is "Carkifelek"
  • Are you smarter than a 5th grader? is "5'e gidenden akilli misin?"

This pushing change for these game shows is bringing Turks closer and closer to the TV. While the Turks love their soap operas and drama series, there is something about games and winning. Turks are driven by winning, it runs in their blood. So to watch these sports and game shows, they get excited and almost drawn to watch more and more.

Commercials have a few distinct differences between America and Turkey. If you ask any American, they will instantly tell you they hate commercials, especially during political elections. You will be watching a show for only 5-10 minutes and then there will be 5 minutes of commercials. By the end of your show, you have watched 2 programs, the show and the commercial. In Turkey, the commercials are not nearly as frequent. While the commercials in Turkey can last 5-10 minutes, they occur every 30-40 minutes. Political advertisements are also regulated and not haunting your brain after watching, in Turkey. In Turkey, a company is not legally allowed to compare their products with other companies. In America, for example, a laundry detergent commercial would show 2 or 3 brands and deface the competitor's brands; however, this would never happen in Turkey. Turkish businesses are focused on showing its unique factors. They use a lot of graphic design and computer generated cartoons. While in America, commercials, in my point of view, are trying to strike an emotion and try to relate to its customers on a personal level. On this note, I find Turkish commercials much more innovative and creative. (At the bottom at a few of my favorites).

Hadise, Murat Boz, and Mustafa Sandal on O Ses Turkiye!
Lastly, not to make bad amends with anyone, I would have to add that while Americans will curl up under a blanket eating ice cream, chips, or cookies; a Turk will grab a huge bag of sun flower seeds and munch away at them while enjoying TV and a Turkish coffee. So I will grab my sunflower seeds for now and watch some O Ses Turkiye cheering on my favorite judge, Hadise!

My Favorite Commercials
Finance Bank:

Coca - Cola:

Kitchen Appliances:

*I do not own the rights to these photos*

1 comment:

kuruoglu said...

Good sharing. Thanks.