Netflix's first original Turkish series 'The Protector' boosts tourist interest in Istanbul

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 15.04.2019 00:14

Streaming giant Netflix, which has over 139 million members worldwide and invests more than $8 billion in content every year, has come to fore with its contribution to national tourism industries. Namely, "Narcos" and "La Casa de Papel," series that have become famous worldwide, have attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists to Colombia and Spain, respectively. And now, its first Turkish original series "The Protector" ("Hakan: Muhafız"), which hit the big screen at the end of 2018, has also given a boost to the number of tourists in Istanbul. Many global tour companies have made a move based on the first Turkish Netflix series, which is estimated to be watched by 20 million accros the world.

Netflix Communication Manager for Turkey, the Middle East and Africa, Artanç Savaş, said that these tour companies have resorted to Netflix to use the images and name of "The Protector."

"We do not have an official partnership at the moment, however, we welcome these developments. What will happen next is unknown. We anticipate that the new Turkish Netflix series, which is being shot in Göbeklitepe, regarded as one of the oldest sites of archaeological ruins and one of the oldest temples in the world, will also contribute to the country's tourism in the same way in the upcoming period."

Underlining that "The Protector" is a production that includes both the modern face and historical and cultural richness of Istanbul, Savaş stated that the series in question has boosted tourists' interest in Istanbul. Indicating that they receive e-mails and messages from "The Protector" viewers from all over the world, Savaş also noted that some global tourism companies have even contacted them to arrange tours with the theme of Istanbul. "We do not have an official partnership at the moment, however, we welcome these developments," he added.

Pointing out that they are happy to contribute to the promotion of Turkey and Istanbul, he expressed that the series is now available in 190 countries with subtitles and dubbing options in over 20 languages. While "The Protector" reached over 10 million viewers in the first month of release, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Canada are among the countries watching the series the most.

Consisting of 10 episodes of approximately 45 minute each, "The Protector" focuses on the seemingly ordinary life of an ordinary young man, Hakan (Çağatay Ulusoy). His life, however, is turned upside down when he finds out that he has to protect Istanbul due to a historical task assigned to him and his new epic adventure begins.

Hakan, in Istanbul – where the past and the future, the East and the West meet – is a very ordinary young tradesman in the famous Grand Bazaar. But a very different world awaits him when he realizes that the city he was born and raised in is under threat from mysterious forces.

Highlighting that Turkish series attract great attention all over the world, Savaş said, "While choosing the productions we will invest in, we attach importance that the story we will tell should include local elements and reflect local culture. In this way, we mediate the transformation of local contents into global stories. Our first local series, 'The Protector,' is a story of this kind and has achieved global success. We are expecting 'Atiye,' our second original series, to go beyond the borders likewise. On the other hand, this is just the beginning, since Turkey has a lot of untold stories to tell the world. We believe the world will be in line to watch these stories when narrated correctly, regardless of whatever type or format they are in. Therefore, we aim to increase our investments."

Savaş stressed that not only original content, but also productions that they have obtained licenses for are also being watched. Valuable productions such as "Magnificent Century," "Ezel," "Leyla ile Mecnun" ("Leyla and Mecnun"), "Kurt Seyit ve Şura" ("Kurt Seyid and Shura"), "Diriliş: Ertuğrul" ("Resurrection: Ertuğrul"), "Kelebeğin Rüyası" ("The Butterfly's Dream"), which have been licensed from Turkey can be viewed in various languages in most of the 190 countries where Netflix operates, he said. "In other words, we carry not only our original content, but also the production we license from Turkey to the world."

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