«UA: First" presented the business plan of the future newsroom to its potential donors and investors. It needs the funding of around 3 to 5 million Euros. Is it possible to find such a sum, and who is willing to invest in the newsroom of the public broadcaster? This is what we have asked the guests during the presentation.
The presentation gathered more than forty people. There were representatives of the Council of Europe, the embassies of Germany, Canada, Japan and Finland, and the international media organizations such as the European Broadcasting Union, BBC Media Action and Internews.Right at the entrance every participant had a chance to explore the future newsroom in details, using the virtual reality glasses.
For a few months, the team of Danish and Ukrainian experts, united thanks to the MYMEDIA project, has been working on the concept and business plan of the newsroom. Their task was not easy because they had to figure out how, on the basis of the former state channel «UA: First", launch a newsroom of the international level while spending the minimum money on it.
"If we were to create the same newsroom in Denmark, it would have cost us around 50 million," said during the presentation Bjorn Erikson, the head of the Danish team. The Ukrainian public broadcaster needs only 3.2 million Euros for the "economy version", or 5 million in order to realize all of the intended plans.
And the plans include a new building with an area of 1,300 square meters, two universal studios for television and radio, 84 work places, personal iPhone and MacBook for all the journalists, drones and new equipment, round-the-clock broadcasting, and maximum automation of workflows. All of this has been presented to the potential donors and investors.
commented on the presentation Joanna Rohodzhynskaya, the program coordinator of the National Endowment for Democracy in Europe and Eurasia.
"5 million is not such a big sum for Western donors. The task is quite realistic," assured us a North American guest who wished to remain anonymous. She added: "The newsroom is only a part of the puzzle. Even if it works as good as described in the plan, you need to think about the other components of the channel: the work of the regional broadcasters, the people engaged in promotion, market research, and creation of the rest of the content."
Danish experts are sure that creating a strong news content is the first thing the newly created public broadcaster in Ukraine has to learn.
"In fact, «UA: First"is out of the market. The main way to get back at it is by producing quality news product. If there is no high-quality news, you can forget about the entertainment or the children's programs because you will not have enough audience," said in an interview Bjorn Eriksson while explaining why Denmark and the program MYMEDIA decided to help «UA: First "namely with the creation of the newsroom.
British media consultant Russell Peasgood believes that even with good news content, it will be difficult for «UA: First" to break through since the Ukrainian TV market is overcrowded. "You should not count on the immediate results even after the launch of the newsroom ... Now, the channel reaches 1% of an audience. But this means that the ratings cannot fall any further; and now, they can only grow."
Peacegood has no doubts that «UA: First" will find the financing: "Usually, donors, particularly in Europe, are interested in a strong public broadcaster; after all, it is the basis for democracy in the majority of European nations. Therefore, the chances of finding investors are quite large," says Russell Peacegood, British media consultant.
Michael Andersen, the project manager of MYMEDIA, states the same: «Denmark supports the reforms of NTCU because the entire Europe knows firsthand how an independent public broadcaster is important for a healthy democracy. In Ukraine, I see a clear link between those who want to build a strong democratic country and those who want the same strong and independent public service broadcasting. "
Ukrainian business also showed its interest in the project. The representative of SONY in UkraineVitaliy Semashko said that the company was ready to support «UA: First” despite its low ratings and the current catastrophic technical conditions.
"Creating such a newsroom is a task too difficult for a private market. The sponsors should be mainly other countries, "said Borys Bergant of the European Broadcasting Union.
Later, the managers of “UA: First" are going to personally communicate with the investors and "sell" the project of the newsroom. But for now, they do not even dare to name the approximate dates of its launch.