Türkiye Radyo Televizyon Kurumu

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
As RTUK’s (High Council of Radio and Television ) 2009 research on television-watching tendencies compared with its first research in 2006, there is an obvious rise in the television-watching time and duration. The research also cited that the less the level of education and income is, the more the time spent on television-watching is. Considering the idle time spent by, and the low level of education, of this majority of people, as the idea of establishing a television channel has emerged: a channel for education addressing all parts of the community with the tag of “education from 7 to 77, life-long learning” implying that there is neither an end nor any limitation of age for education.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Along with the rise of the private television channels in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of entertainment programs and soap bubble TV series. Since the public channels have lost some of their audiences because of the entertaining coverage of the private channels, public channels began to feature entertainment programs, too. Hence, the understanding of responsible broadcasting has begun to rapidly disappear, ignoring the public functions of broadcast industry due to the rating concerns. Upon the proposal made by the Anadolu University in 2010, and upon the swift consent of TRT, to establish a partnered education channel that will broadcast the open-university courses, the process started out. The University, in turn, accepted TRT’s idea, offering that it must be a channel addressing all age groups of the community and all aspects of life rather than merely broadcasting the Faculty programmes. This project of an education channel, which is implemented with the aim of promoting equal opportunity for the whole society in accessing to the educational content, addresses all sections of the community, with its tag of “education from 7 to 77”. The initiative’s objective is to make people aware of the fact that there are so many beauties and many fields of struggle in life, and to tell them that they must firmly cling to life and work hard, and that they can make productions, discovering their own potentials, in many different subjects. TRT Okul Channel broadcasts the courses of the Open-University for those who have no chance, for this or that reason, to follow formal education. These courses are being chosen from among the curriculum of all universities. The courses, broadcasted in the channel, like Economy, Accounting and Law are helpful not only for Open-University students but for all other students also. In addition to the course programmes, TRT Okul Channel televises educational programmes for parents, traffic, health, psychology and personal development and programmes of science and technology, and of culture and arts. It features, also, some short spots informing people about all aspects of life. All these cultural and educational programmes are backed with authentic and creative graphical works, and the channel is made more attractive by some humour programmes at intervals. The channel has adopted an interactive and participatory broadcasting approach in an era in which the social media is at its peak, and the audience want to be in a decision-making and directing position instead of a merely listening one.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
TRT Okul Channel is designed as an entertaining education channel. With its creative formats combining information with humour, it changed the peoples’ perception of boring school and surprised the audience. It has developed and televised nearly 200 authentic short educational formats. Although it is widely known that TV programmes with an educational content are not so attractive to the audience all over the world, TRT Okul Channel has overcome this difficulty by abiding the notion of “edutainment”. It serves for the expectations of the audience who have been bored of the existing channels and are in search of a difference. For the first time, all over the world, a public broadcasting corporation and a university have come together and televised educational programmes for 24 hours. Nevertheless, TRT Okul Channel is the first and only education channel in Turkey. In the channel, a different technique of broadcast schedule is implemented. The broadcast schedule is planned according to the lego logic. The fixed timeslot specified in the zones set in the broadcast stream provides a facility to easily lift a programme and feed another one. TRT Okul Channel went beyond the ordinary and scheduled a dynamic broadcast stream with short programmes of 1-5-10-20 minutes. In order to secure the dynamism of the Channel, educational programmes are kept short, while the debates, quiz shows, contest based programs and studio programs are permitted to be 40 minutes long or more. Moreover, a public broadcasting television has been criticized, for the first time in the world, by a character created by its own self. The teacher on duty, named, “Teacher Radi” of TRT Okul has been freely criticising the programmes, the staff and even the administration of the Channel with his humorous style peculiar to himself, thus being the voice of the audience.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
January 2010 Joint teams were formed in various dates and they found out the facilities of the 2 institutions thorough reciprocal visits and site audits. They identified the needs and the shortages. Reports were prepared about the things that must be done. According to those reports, a protocol was prepared. 15 April 2010 The contract signed determining the principles about the broadcasting of the programmes prepared by TRT and the educational programmes prepared by Anadolu University in an educational channel to be established by TRT, in order to support both the formal and mass educations. Following the contract, some meetings were held, both in Eskisehir and Ankara, between the producers and the academics. The ideas, which emerged during the meetings, were reported and put into a project. 9-10 October 2010 In order to set up the project on a scientific basis, a fact-finding conference titled “How an educational channel should be?” was held with the participation of international television professionals and academics. The outcomes were held as data in the formation of the Channel’s profile. 11th October – December 2010 Academicians to lecture in the channel were trained by TRT speakers about standing before the screen, body language and passing the messages correctly to the audience. An analysis on TRT target audience was performed using the system data, which runs the current audience measurements. Broadcasting zones depending on the socio-economic statuses (age-education-gender-location etc.,) were formed. For example, some educational-cultural programs on simply understandable maternal and children health and for the elderly were developed for the daytime TV watching audience. In prime-time zone, family programs were included. Youth-attracting programs were scheduled for the prime-following zone. A design was studied for the channel. The aim, motto, target group, strategy, program types and broadcast streaming of the channel were designated. TRT-employed producers and directors as well as independent producers were given orders for projects that were developed. All the program offers made in line with the orders and submitted to channel were evaluated by some Committees comprising members from different departments within TRT. These committees decided upon the production of those programs favoured in terms of technical, contextual and aesthetical means; and the production process commenced upon the completion of legal procedures. Brainstorming sessions were held among TRT’s creative personnel in order to perform a comprehensive media planning to make the channel more accessible by a larger target audience. These sessions resulted in a decision with an integrated promotion campaign to be held. A rhythmic trailer to draw the attention of young generation was designed. Promotion activities including banner designs, trailer, newspaper advertisements etc., all of which were included within different media, were designated in an aesthetical integrity. December 2010 Photo shoots for academicians and famous figures to host other programs / individuals to show before the screen were held to be used in the banners. Different banners were created from these photos by bringing different groups together thanks to graphic studies. Outdoor advertisements on billboards, racket advertising boards etc. with banner designs with three-to-five different characters on were positioned in populated streets of major cities and at the university campus. The same banners were also used in printed advertisements. 31 January 2011 Prior to the launch of TRT Okul (TRT School), one month-long test broadcasts were aired to observe the possible breakdowns and the channel began its broadcasts on January 31st, 2011. The channel started its broadcast life with a spectacular opening ceremony, which at the same time was a show program for television, in a 2000 people capacity hall (Milli Egitim Bakanlıgı Su’ra Salonu) in Ankara. Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, ministers, famous journalists, artists, actors/actresses, academicians, students and other invitees were in attendance during the ceremony. The number of the participators was quite beyond the capacity of the hall. The ceremony was presented by Turkey’s most famous talk-show program producer, Beyaz (Beyazit Ozturk). During the night, mini concerts were performed by Anadolu University Symphony Orchestra, a selection of programs to be aired in the channel was shown and interviews and speeches were made. The media widely covered the humorous dialogue between showman Beyazit Ozturk and the Prime Minister and the pre-prepared and surprisingly screened jokes of channel’s mascot “Teacher Radi”, which made references to the Prime Minister mostly. The highlights of the documentary “Ben Ogrenciyken” (When I was a Student) prepared to be aired by the channel in a later period, which is about the student life of Turkish Prime Minister, were shown. As a result of all these efforts, the popularity of the channel within the public was ensured from the very first day the channel started its broadcasts.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Anadolu University and TRT were the stakeholders involved in the implementation.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
An amount has been endowed from the University in return for the airing of open-education classes in the channel under a three-year contract with Anadolu University. Technical and human resources were provided by Anadolu University and TRT.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
TRT Okul managed to become an entertaining education channel and ruined the “boring” perception of schools. It has been a self-criticizing, self-smiling and humour-creating channel from its own deficiencies. It has been an alternative to TV channels offering similar contents (entertainment, magazine, TV series etc.) Thanks to the educational content it offers to audience, TRT Okul incites for research, discovery and learning. It has proved that television may be used as a tool for education and that science and educational content may be watchable if offered by different aspects. Despite its educational content, TRT Okul has succeeded in reaching wide target audiences. For example, TRT Okul ranked 14th in social economic group “AB” between 21.00-22.00 hours among all channels on Saturday, 16th November. TIME BASED REPORT 16.11.2013 21:00 - 22:00 Social Economic Group “AB” Rank Chnanel AMR% SHR 1 STAR TV 8,48 23,85 2 ATV 4,29 12,05 3 OTHERS 3,65 10,27 4 FOX 3,64 10,24 5 SHOW TV 2,87 8,06 6 SAMANYOLU TV 2,79 7,84 7 TRT 1 2,50 7,01 8 KANAL D 1,85 5,21 9 TV 8 1,42 3,98 10 KANALTÜRK 0,60 1,69 11 HABERTÜRK 0,58 1,62 12 TRT MÜZİK 0,50 1,41 13 CNN TÜRK 0,30 0,84 14 TRT OKUL 0,30 0,84 15 KANAL 7 0,29 0,83 16 NTV 0,27 0,76 17 TV2 0,26 0,74 18 TRT HABER 0,25 0,71 19 TRT 6 0,15 0,42 20 TRT 3 GRUBU 0,13 0,36 21 SAMANYOLU HABER 0,12 0,35 22 FLASH TV 0,11 0,30 23 TRT SPOR 0,10 0,29 24 TRT TÜRK 0,03 0,08 25 24 TV 0,03 0,08 26 TRT ANADOLU 0,02 0,06 27 TRT BELGESEL 0,02 0,05 28 TRT ARAPÇA 0,01 0,02 29 TRT AVAZ 0,01 0,03 When the below-stated reports on TRT Okul’s rank among other TRT channels in prime-time are evaluated, it may be observed that although it has an educational content the channel leaves behind many thematic channels offering contents on sports, news, religion, music etc.. TIME BASED REPORT 27.10.2013 21:00 - 22:00 Social Economic Group “C2” Rank Channel AMR% SHR 1 TRT 1 2,54 5,83 2 TRT OKUL 0,97 2,22 3 TRT 3 GRUBU 0,74 1,70 4 TRT HABER 0,42 0,97 5 TRT SPOR 0,31 0,72 6 TRT 6 0,20 0,45 7 TRT MÜZİK 0,12 0,28 8 TRT BELGESEL 0,04 0,08 9 TRT ANADOLU 0,03 0,06 10 TRT ARAPÇA 0,01 0,02 11 TRT TÜRK 0,01 0,02 12 TRT AVAZ 0,01 0,03 TIME BASED REPORT 05.11.2013 22:00 - 23:00 Total Viewers Rank Channel AMR% SHR 1 TRT 1 2,91 6,97 2 TRT OKUL 0,18 0,42 3 TRT MÜZİK 0,18 0,43 4 TRT HABER 0,14 0,34 5 TRT 6 0,14 0,33 6 TRT 3 GRUBU 0,10 0,23 7 TRT BELGESEL 0,10 0,23 8 TRT SPOR 0,06 0,14 9 TRT ANADOLU 0,05 0,12 10 TRT TÜRK 0,01 0,02 11 TRT OKUL 0,01 0,02 12 TRT ARAPÇA 0,00 0,01 13 TRT AVAZ 0,00 0,01 TIME BASED REPORT 18.11.2013 21:00 - 22:00 Social Economic Group “DE” Rank Channel AMR% SHR 1 TRT 1 2,63 5,51 2 TRT HABER 0,40 0,84 3 TRT OKUL 0,22 0,46 4 TRT SPOR 0,15 0,32 5 TRT 3 GRUBU 0,11 0,23 6 TRT MÜZİK 0,08 0,16 7 TRT 6 0,06 0,12 8 TRT TÜRK 0,04 0,09 9 TRT AVAZ 0,03 0,05 10 TRT ANADOLU 0,03 0,06 11 TRT BELGESEL 0,02 0,04 12 TRT ARAPÇA 0,00 0,00 13 TRT OKUL 0,00 0,00

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The developments and activities have been evaluated with 2 approaches: The one “giving the message” and the one “receiving it”. We first looked at the feedbacks, meaning we evaluated the reactions coming from the spectators in order to evaluate the goal of the project: its access to the targeted audience. Data have been formed from audience measurements, social media (facebook, twitter), active line, spectator’s phone calls, e-mails, news on the press concerning the TV channel or its programs. With these data, a workshop has been organized with academics and administrators. New ideas and views conceived from workshop and spectators’ feedbacks have led to new regulations.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
As a TV channel offering educational programs the competition with other TV channels offering entertainment content was the most difficult obstacle. We managed to sort out this issue with “edutainment (education+entertainment)” program formats and by maintaining the programs’ durations short. The other difficulty was due to the fact that two kind of staff coming from two different institutional cultures have worked together in order to produce a common work. While the 2 different establishments had two different way of working and this could have contaminated the working process, causing a disadvantage, reciprocal visits and meetings have been organized with members of the two establishments contributing to the project. Thus a rapprochement has been assured and the two teams have been oriented to the same goal.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
With its educational contents, TRT Okul provides an alternative broadcasting to people of different ages, professions, educational and cultural levels. TRT Okul Channel’s goal is to elevate the targeted audience’s quality of life to the universal level, to give a message to people, who stay in front of “the screen” without producing, by telling them “you have the ability and the opportunity to produce” and thus emancipating the entrepreneurial spirit inside of them and motivating them. “Information can be forgotten but reaching information, determining a goal for yourself in your life and the talent of producing continues during your whole life”. With this approach, we try to trigger people’s curiosity and lead them to research and learning. The courses of open-university are broadcasted all around the country for the students who couldn’t continue the formal education system. Furthermore, while choosing the courses for this program, we try to consider not only students of open-university but all of the students and thus choose titles benefiting to the whole like Economy, Accounting and Law. Besides formal education, we produce different types of programs such as documentary, science, technology, literature, archaeology, travel, debates, news, economy, health, law, citizenship, entrepreneurship, comedy, quiz show, lifestyle programs, and programs for elder people and disabled people.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
"You can never be overdressed or overeducated." said by Oscar Wilde Education has neither age nor end. TRT Okul tries to adapt its educational content, through different presentations, to the developing technology and audience’s preferences. It can then pursue its existence until the TV loses its prominence as mass communication tool. The 3rd research conducted by the High Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) in 2012 and published in March 2013 on TV watching tendencies shows that despite internet and social networks having a huge place in our daily lives, TV pursue to be the most effective communication way for all ages and sexes, without making a socio-cultural or economic discrimination, and followed by all sections of the community. The project may serve as an example of cooperation of different establishments inside a country. In the international level, it can be considered as a similar model of education channel between public service media and universities.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Instead of saying “If the spectator wants to watch a serial, an entertainment or a magazine program, there is nothing to do about it!”, we should produce educational programs adopted to the latest technologies and trends, using humour and entertaining components when it is necessary to get the attention of the majority of the community. Information should be accessible. What we must give to the spectators should be what they don’t already know. We are now in the information age. Information has never been so crucial. The world becomes an information society more than ever. We may also define information society as “a society producing all kinds of knowledge, connecting to information networks, having access to literal information, spreading easily the gathered information and using information in all sectors”. This society is a society structure in which information can be transmitted to the intended people at all times and under all conditions. And television is one of the tools communicating information to the society. TRT Okul is not the teacher of the society, it serves only as a mediator in order to transfer the knowledge produced in this country and this world to the society.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Türkiye Radyo Televizyon Kurumu
Institution Type:   Public Organization  
Contact Person:   Banu Atay
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +90 312 463 50 63 /+90 312 463 50 42
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Oran Sitesi Turan Gunes Bulvari TRT Okul Kanal Koordinatorlugu
Postal Code:   06450
City:   Ankara

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