The Turkish cinema industry has come a long way from the crazed years of the 60s and 70s when it mass-produced low-quality, copy-and-paste movies solely for the Turkish audience. Turkish TV lacked productivity as TRT, the official government channel, held complete sway over the production of TV series and movies in the absence of private competition. 1980s saw the complete drying up of the well for both industries.
Times have clearly changed. After the first private Turkish TV station was established in the early 1990s, both industries received a boost due to incoming investment and lessening government regulations. The advertisement pie has enlarged and the sectors flourished ever since. Admittedly, the relationship between these industries had been uneasy at times as the Turkish audience swung wildly from one to other. Increasing popularity of the internet and the rise of new and portable computer and laptop technologies further complicated this relationship. Nevertheless, a balance has been established, though and the key players of both industries have fixed their eyes on the surrounding international markets.
The international journey of Turkish TV started when Asmali Konak (Vine-covered Mansion), a very popular Turkish TV series broadcasted by ATV channel between 2002 and 2004, was noticed and bought by a Lebanon based Arabic TV channel. Iranian, Syrian and Egyptian TV channels followed suit and Asmali Konak stayed on TV screens five years after its last episode aired in 2004 in Turkey. Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves) armed with provocative and controversial characters and an aggressive anti-Israel political message quickly became an international phenomenon. When Pana Film, producer of the TV series, funded a very successful cinema adaptation in 2005, the USA’s Joint Chief of Staff and German Foreign Affairs minister felt obliged to direct public criticism at the movie and its message. The success of the aforementioned series opened the floodgates. The list of Turkish TV series currently on air outside Turkey is long and continually expanding. Furthermore, Balkan and Azerbaijani TV channels are joining in on the action and intellectual circles are buzzing with claims that Turkey is spreading her cultural influence throughout what was once the Ottoman Empire.
Similarly, the Turkish cinema industry has been booming outside the Turkish borders. Influential Turkish directors such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Cagan Irmak and Fatih Akin are producing critically acclaimed movies recognized by the likes of the Cannes Film Festival juries. Going beyond the art house genre, Turkish mainstream movies are making names for themselves in neighboring countries as well as in Europe.
Confident and ambitious Turkish media executives are rumored to be exploring whether it would be a smart move to enter Pakistan and India. They are looking for potential partners for selling their movies and TV series. I am not entirely confident that this is a promising project. Bollywood is a hundred pound gorilla in the room and would not be easily shaken on its own ground. I would recommend funding joint movies and series and thus creating a cultural synergy that would not alienate audiences. I will be closely following the latest developments to see whether Turkish execs will put their money where their mouth is.
Even though Nintendo’s Wii U has not been officially launched yet, it has already attracted a great deal of criticism. After its presentation during the E3 games show in July 2011, many spectators were rather unimpressed by what Nintendo detected as the new trends in the realm of consoles. Wii U was presented with a tablet-style controller – something that made investors particularly sceptical as they feared that this new feature might make the console especially expensive. Very quickly after the presentation, Nintendo’s share price plummeted. According to Reuters, the company’s president Satoru Iwata was more than surprised by the harsh reaction of investors and stock markets and expected the critics to change their mind once they had actually used and experienced the new console.
Even though Nintendo has managed to get out of this negative limelight quite successfully, competitors are still trying to put pressure on the developers of Wii U. In a recent interview, the corporate vice-president of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer attacked the new console for not being very innovative – despite the fact that Nintendo tried to impress observers with the use of controller that has a touchscreen. According to Spencer, the makers of the new console “are building a platform that is effectively a 360 when you think of graphical capability.” The vice-president refers to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 which was launched almost seven years ago and therefore blames Nintendo for not being up to date.
One might dismiss this as nothing more than unfriendly comments made by a competitor. However, recent media reports about Nintendo’s online games have stirred more controversy. So far, potential customers were told that the company was going to provide online free play for Nintendo shooting games or strategy games Now, it appears that Nintendo will introduce premium services that it will charge customers for. Here, the problem is not that users will have to pay for premium services. The problem is rather that Iwata only mentioned free games before. It remains unknown as to whether Iwata mistakenly announced this or if he changed his mind on this issue. Moreover, the repeated postponement of the release date shows that the developers themselves have not been happy with their product after it was presented during last year’s E3 games show. The launch date was moved from March 2012 to the end of that year when it is supposed to target Christmas shoppers.
So far, the postponements have been received with understanding. However, Nintendo could face a serious problem affecting its reputation if it had to miss out on this very important shopping season – Nintendo finally needs some good news.
There have been numerous discussions about whether game adaptations of movies work or not. Traditionally, the game releases are part of a wider merchandising strategy that is supposed to attract loyal fans of movies such as Star Wars. But are these games also capable of convincing more experienced gamers – or even gamers that have not been ecstatic, and are therefore biased, because of movies that were previously released as games?
At the moment the fans of the very successful Gears of War series have to be very patient – as media websites reported a bit more than a week ago, the newest game is very likely to come out in February 2012. Even though the series has been well received so far, especially “Gears of War 3” attracted some very harsh criticism. According to many reviews, the normal difficulty level of the third part was too easy for advanced players.
CERN and the God Particle: Anticipation rises as scientists call for a press event on Wednesday, July 4
Let’s start with a brief backgrounder for those who are not familiar CERN. CERN abbreviation stands for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, an international science agency established by a number of European member states in Switzerland, in 1954. Since its foundation, CERN’s operations and membership have grown rapidly and it now employs approximately 2400 full time employees. It is currently operating the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Apart from the most connected and curious, there were not many who knew of CERN’s existence before it successfully built and run the Large Hadron Collider (LHD), the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator in 2008. Built and maintained by advanced computer technology at an unprecedented scale, it holds an important place in the history of science.