Please wait...
Please wait...


Smart thinking from the people running the content business.

1+1 CEO Yaroslav Pakholchuk on the impact of war

1+1 Media CEO Yaroslav Pakholchuk discusses how the Ukrainian broadcasting company has been impacted by war, how it has responded and what he thinks of the international response so far.

Yaroslav Pakholchuk

How has the Ukrainian TV industry been impacted by the invasion?
There is no sphere or branch of business that has not been affected by the war started by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Company executives were forced to reconfigure most of their business processes within a very short time and learn to work under war conditions.
1+1 Media is no exception. Moreover, television is an area of critical importance to the state. Our task as broadcasters during this period is to provide our audience with truthful and reliable information and to be with our viewers, readers and listeners 24/7.
Being aware of the challenges and the demands of the Ukrainian audience, during the very first days of the war we joined forces with the other leading Ukrainian media groups – 1+1 Media, StarLight Media, Inter Media Group and Media Group Ukraine, as well as Rada and the Suspilne TV channels – and together we have been broadcasting uninterruptedly a consolidated United News marathon on TV, radio, the internet and social media, and online TV platforms. The marathon is also being distributed in various languages and is available to watch free of charge around the world.

Are you still producing programming? If so, what content?
Our focus is on broadcasting news, therefore the flagship 1+1 TV channel and a team of journalists from numerous projects are working on United News.
However, we understand that people are getting tired of the uninterrupted news. That’s why we are helping to fight stress together. Our PlusPlus channel is the most popular channel for children in the country and it broadcasts cartoons continuously. On March 14, PlusPlus TV became one of the initiators of the educational project Learning Without Borders, allowing schoolchildren to watch video lessons on the national TV channels and platforms during the week. On our TET TV channel, we have recently resumed BreakfastOnline, one of the most popular shows in Ukraine, in which hosts talk to various experts, doctors, celebrities and politicians in the studio.
1+1 Media has also joined FreeDom, an information service from the leading Ukrainian media groups aimed at the Russian-speaking audience during the war, including the occupying forces.

A Ukrainian soldier pictured near the city of Kharkiv

What initiatives has 1+1 Media undertaken in response to the invasion?
Today, the Ukrainian media community is fighting on the information front. During the first days of the war, 1+1 Media appealed to international TV operators to stop broadcasting Russian news channels on European satellites, cable networks and OTT platforms. This initiative was almost immediately supported by more than 40 local operators from different countries. We have also sent an open letter to the European Commission with a request to impose sanctions on all Russian TV channels being broadcast in Europe, and we are currently waiting for a positive response.
The amount of news produced by our news resources, which include the websites, UNIAN and Glavred, has grown enormously. Moreover, we translate key news materials into different languages so that viewers and readers from all over the world have access to reliable information. We have made all war-related photos from UNIAN, the country’s largest information agency, free to download.
At the same time, we record all the crimes committed in Ukraine by the Russian Federation on a special section of the website titled Materials for The Hague.
The struggle is also being carried out in the digital space. We have launched Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok accounts in English and Russian. We have organised a series of flash mobs and other initiatives, we are joining various volunteer movements and we are creating educational cartoons about the situation in our country.
One of the most important announcements to be made is that we are working on a large-scale international charity TV marathon in support of Ukraine. For the umpteenth time, we will ask the entire world to help close our sky and raise funds for the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians.

How is morale among your staff and executives?
We are a strong team that can unite fast; we are flexible and dynamic. During this time, we have opened two new studios and two new offices. We have also relocated people, providing them with equipment, accommodation and labour conditions where possible. Maximum unity is being demonstrated. Our team is one of a few that have stayed to work in Kyiv, like our president and the government. We believe this gives us more strength and confidence.
Our common goal is victory and we are doing everything in our power for this. That is why the invincible team spirit is especially felt now when people are 1000% committed. When they are sacrificing sleep, their comfort and security for this purpose; when all those who were not involved in the news production process learn very quickly and help others, it toughens and unites us.

A firefighter stands amid the rubble the morning after a bombing in Dnipro

How long do you think 1+1 Media will be able to stay in business if the war continues?
We cannot comment on this issue competently. I don’t think anyone can. It’s been weeks since the peace talks began. Our task is to promote this process as much as possible, unite the nation and give strength to the negotiating position. It will take time to recover as soon as there is victory. From the first day of the war, we looked at the prospect of working under new conditions – at least until the end of April. What we are sure of is that, de facto, we have already won! We truly believe in our victory and are optimistic about this. We will do our best to save the team and to continue uninterrupted broadcasting. Ukraine needs this.

What do you think of the international TV industry’s response to the invasion so far?
No matter how much has been done, it is not enough for the time being. As long as air bombs and missiles fly over Ukraine, as long as peaceful cities are under siege, as long as thousands of innocent people are dying because of the enemy’s cruelty, it is not enough.
Mass media around the world must not only cover events actively but also, following our example, wage an information war. Fight against Russian propaganda, react quickly and do more.
It should be emphasised that this is not just a war between Russia and Ukraine, this is a world war against invaders. Therefore, we call on the media community to unite in this counteraction to ask the world to support Ukraine, to encourage companies to stop doing business in Russia and to block the distribution of Russian channels, including satellite ones. Thus, it is also the support of our charity initiatives such as the United News TV marathon and our charity fund.

Check out the programming on offer from 1+1 Media and other Ukrainian companies on C21’s Digital Screenings or at MipTV at R7.L19.