Ukraine's TV Networks Are Unable to Pay for Russia-Produced Content

Stuart Farmer
An outdoor movie theater in Kiev during the street protests in the city.

Their ad revenues are substantially diminished due to the economic and political turmoil in the country.

MOSCOW — Ukraine’s cash-strapped television networks are behind in paying for Russian TV series and shows that they are broadcasting.

The issue was discussed at a meeting featuring Russia’s deputy communications minister Alexei Volin and representatives of the country’s major television networks on Wednesday, according to the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti. The report quoted anonymous participants as saying that the Ukrainian networks are requesting a payment delay of up to three years and a 25 percent discount to the originally agreed prices.

“We are worried about the situation and we are making all efforts to normalize it,” Yuliana Slashcheva, general director of CTC Media, Russia’s largest private broadcaster, told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I am sure that a solution suitable for both sides will be found as our Ukrainian colleagues are interested in it even more than we are,” she went on to say. “Ukrainian networks’ demand for Russian content has historically been very significant, and its proportion in broadcasting schedules is very high.”

With its well-developed television industry, Ukraine is the second-biggest market for Russian television content. According to the Moscow-based research group KVG Research, in 2013, Ukrainian television networks bought rights to $300 million worth of Russian television series and shows.

Following the collapse of President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime two months ago and his fleeing the country, Ukraine has been in a state of economic turmoil, exacerbated by Russia’s annexation of the peninsular Black Sea region Crimea and escalating tensions between the two countries.

As a result, the country’s TV stations saw their ad incomes reduced in half, leaving them in a dire financial situation.