Ukrainian media market. What’s going on?


Ukrainian media have endured, survived, and adapted to the realities of a country at war, and they are doing a lot to achieve victory. The market and the community have suffered significant losses, with important companies closing or ceasing operations within the media ecosystem. Many professionals have either left the country or changed their occupations, and content production projects have been put on hold. At the same time, resistance to enemy attacks and the challenges of wartime have infused new meanings into the lives and work of the media.

The war has affected the operations of all Ukrainian media and media professionals, leaving many without jobs or forcing them to change professions. Russian aggression has directly targeted Ukrainian media. Russians have fired at television towers and attempted to silence Ukrainian TV channels. They have jammed signals on satellites and immediately shut down Ukrainian TV and radio stations in occupied territories. They have seized and looted editorial offices, exerted pressure on service providers, and replaced local media with their own propaganda outlets. Media workers from the regions have been forced to leave their homes; some have returned, while others remain in different regions or abroad.


In the early weeks of the major war, the advertising market nearly collapsed. By the end of 2022, there were enormous losses, with TV advertising revenue declining by 81%, print media advertising by 79%, radio advertising by 61%, and cinema advertising plummeting by 92%. Media outlets that previously relied on advertising or selling their content found themselves in dire straits. Some managed to survive thanks to subsidies from owners or grant assistance from foreign donors, but many had to shut down. In just the first months of the full-scale war, Ukraine completely or partially lost dozens of TV channels and radio stations.

Under such circumstances, the most logical steps at the beginning of the full-scale war were to cut costs drastically. Some media outlets reduced their staff by nearly a quarter and cut salaries for those who remained by up to 70%.

On February 24, 2022, at the start of the war, a joint telethon called “Unified News” was launched. It was a unique phenomenon that brought together leaders of the television market to produce a collaborative news product. The telethon served as a lifeline for the television industry during the chaotic early weeks of the war, but it later became a problem. Companies had to finance the production themselves and lost the opportunity to sell advertising on their flagship channels. Some of these issues were partially resolved later on when the Ukrainian Parliament allocated funds in the 2023 budget for the production of the telethon, and duplicate channels were created for the flagship media groups.

At the beginning of 2022, the Russian language was widely used in Ukrainian television and radio broadcasts, and many print and online publications predominantly used Russian. After February 24, Russian-language content was practically eliminated from the media space. Russian songs disappeared from the radio, and the largest Ukrainian platform, Megogo, abandoned all Russian films. Viewers demanded the avoidance of Russian film dubbing. It is now rare to find Russian films and series on TV channels; everything they want to show is dubbed and translated into Ukrainian.

The only type of Russian-language content that remains possible in the Ukrainian media space is programs and films created for “counter-propaganda” purposes.

Ukrainian media have shown determination and resourcefulness in adapting to the conditions of war, and by the fall of 2022, the market began to gradually revive. Television advertising sales in major sales houses accounted for about a third of the sales in the fourth quarter of 2021. The strikes on energy infrastructure in October and November significantly complicated the situation, but market participants remained prepared to fight. The television panel was restarted, several new television projects were launched, and new digital media outlets increased their audience several times over.

To be continued …