Islamic streaming service, Alchemiya, aims to make viewers feel that life is good.
“What we are focused on is actually celebration, all the best things. What are the best things coming from all of our cultures,” said Navid Akhtar, founder and CEO of Alchemiya.
“So this is the criteria is really. First of all, when people are watching, they should feel good. You feel positive, they should feel that life is good. And this is the right way to live,” said Akhtar. “And secondly, also there must be value. It’s not just simply you have two hours in the evening. It’s not doing anything. We’re trying to educate you,” he added.
Akhtar told Anadolu Agency about the story of the emergence and goals of the streaming service which includes Turkish movies such as Mimar Sinan and Aydede.
Stating that he made various programs while working at the BBC, but Akhtar said none of those programs reflected the lives, history, art, food and humanitarian aspects of Muslims, which he finds to be a problem.
Thus he left the BBC.
“Then I started to think what can I do?,” he said. “So it took us time to understand and for me to try to kind of see this vision. And then, just as we would as I was doing this. It was also new things are coming, new ideas are coming –Amazon Prime, Netflix — because actually everybody is shifting into internet delivery. And so it’s become much more easier for us to do something. And so really, that’s, that’s where the idea came from. “
‘We said to people don’t watch too much’
He noted that Alchemiya currently has about 650- 700 pieces, and another 2,000 it can get, as the service is slowly increasing content.
“The real idea was that actually when you come to us, we try to avoid any kind of idea — we are Pakistani or Bangladeshi or Turkish or Arab or Somali. We just are actually trying to show all cultures. And also we are not doing a sort of discussion on Sunni, Shia. It’s just this is just the kind of Islam,” he said.
He underlined that the majority of current subscribers are from the UK and the US and, English language content is a priority for the service.
Although Alchemy offers rich content to customers, he said it does not believe in Netflix’s style which has 22,000 films, thinking this is not good for any human to have so much.
“So we think maybe 1,000- 2,000 but no more. This is enough. We said to people don’t watch too much,” he said.
“This is not life. This is not real things. Real things are people, family, community. You should go out and do good service for people.”
Thus, Alchemiya tried to find high quality that connects with hearts and with heads, he added.
The platform currently has 10% non-Muslim viewers
He said the service wants to train people — Muslim filmmakers, producers, screenwriters — all of this and get them to the level of BBC standards.
He also said Alchemiya has 10% non-Muslim viewers at the moment, and that can be higher.
We would love to add Turkish television series to the platform, he said.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan
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