Netflix could lose majority of customers as Turkish watchdog set to censor internet platforms - poll

Television and film streaming giant Netflix could lose almost 80 percent of its customers in Turkey after a new regulation allowing Turkish state television and radio watchdog to censor online streaming platforms, technology news site Webtekno said.

According to the new regulation that entered into force on Aug. 1, all broadcasters that want to provide radio, television, and other types of broadcasting services on the internet, including on-demand services in Turkey, will have to first obtain a licence from the state agency for monitoring, regulating, and sanctioning radio and television broadcasts (RTÜK). 

The measures will likely affect social media and online broadcasters such as Netflix, Turkey’s BluTV and Puhutv, and YouTube and Facebook.

Over 15,000 people took part in a survey by the Webtekno, asking people if they would stop using online streaming platforms, and 78 percent said they would not continue using the services, according to the website.

"Netflix has around 200,000 subscribers in Turkey. It is difficult to say that the responses to the questionnaire will have a direct impact on the outcome. However, according to our data, most of the users seem to cancel their membership on the platform if they feel RTÜK control," Webtekno said.

Under the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), RTÜK has taken a strict line with television stations, slapping channels with large fines for what it says is “offending societal values”. As a result, many Turkish television producers have opted to share their work online, but that too has now come under the watchdog’s mandate.