Please wait...
Please wait...

Small World waives first-year fees for Ukrainian formats in show of solidarity

StarLight Media’s Kids vs Celebs is shopped by Small World

NATPE BUDAPEST: Formats distributor Small World IFT is showing its support for the Ukrainian TV industry by agreeing to waive option and format fees for its slate of properties from the war-torn country.

The initiative covers the first year of production of any of the Ukrainian formats in the company’s catalogue.

Small World, run by president and co-founder Tim Crescenti, has supported and conducted business in Ukraine for many years.

The move is intended to draw attention to Ukrainian formats and boost the likelihood of them being greenlit, all of which would directly support the creators financially.

The Small World team will be at the Natpe Budapest conference in Hungary this week, talking to buyers and commissioners about the initiative and its Ukrainian formats.

Nataliya Gerovska

The move has gone down well with the Ukrainians behind the formats on Small World’s slate.

“We’re grateful to Small World IFT for their support and initiative, as it gives us as a company and our employees an opportunity to keep the lights on,” said Nataliya Gerovska, director of the content monetisation department, acquisitions, sales, coproduction and financing at Kyiv-based broadcast group StarLight Media.

“As of February 24, we lost all our advertising revenues, the main source of our income, and each such financial initiative permits us to keep our professional team within the company as long as possible,” she added.

Ukrainian producer Viktor Bulyga, whose format Switcheroo is handled by Small World, added: “This is a very humane and friendly step. Ukrainians appreciate it.

“I hope that it will help find a way for our formats to enter the international arena and find buyers and partners. Accordingly, Ukraine will once again be known to many people, which in turn will support us and defeat the Russian occupier.”

Ukrainian format creator Konstantin Korabov also has one of his formats represented by Small World, ProcrastiNation, and he said the decision to waive first-year format fees is key to helping companies like his get through the war.

Viktor Bulyga

“I fully support the Small World initiative. Ukrainian TV and the whole of Ukraine face one challenge now: to survive. If Ukrainian formats see the world, new deals will obviously help their creators,” Korabov said.

“But what is even more important, it can boost the Ukrainian TV industry after the war. With its huge potential and experience in making great TV, Ukraine can become the next in line of TV phenomena like Israel and the Netherlands.”

Ukrainian TV formats on the Small World slate include studio competition format Kids vs Celebs, from StarLight-owned channel Novy TV. The format, which sees celebrities and children take on various challenges, debuted in 2019 and has aired for three seasons.

Unsupervised, meanwhile, is a format created by Diana Lebedeva that won the Small World Big Ideas pitch contest at Kyiv Media Week in 2019. The format follows five teenagers left on their own for one week with a US$500 budget.

Come to Bed is another Small World Big Ideas winner, pitched by Lital Shemesh in 2016, and Small World signed a US deal for the format in that year. Burbank-based producer Mission Control Media, the company behind Hollywood Game Night, picked up the property to develop for the US.

Switcheroo, from Bulyga, won the pitch competition at Kyiv Media Week in 2018. It follows a set of identical twins, one of whom must live as the other without detection by friends, family or colleagues.

Konstantin Korabov

Small World also has Korabov’s ProcrastiNation on its slate, a studio-based format that sets contestants challenges and rewards them for leaving things until the last minute.

The Auditor, another format from Novy TV, rounds out Small World’s slate of Ukrainian IP. The show, in which an undercover inspector judges various retailers, restaurants and hotels, has aired on Novy for 11 seasons, the last of which was put on hiatus due to Covid and then the invasion.

Regarding the decision to waive first-year format fees, Crescenti said: “Our plan is to put the focus on Ukraine through its tremendous creative community. Our goal is to encourage global buyers to open their eyes even further into Ukraine for long-term support by building format productions globally.”

The initiative comes soon after Ukrainian TV execs urged the international industry not to forget about Russia’s ongoing war on their country and the launch of other schemes such as the Ukraine Content Club and the Ukrainian Acquisition Fund to encourage business and pre-buys with struggling Ukrainian TV companies.


Please wait...