Media Distribution

1. Print

Ukraine has preserved the traditional forms of distributing print media – this is a state-run enterprise called «Ukrposhta», which sells both national and local regional press in around 15 thousand branches all over the country. It also manages the largest subscription agency «Presa» (its semi-annual catalogues are available in every post office), as well as some of the former offices of «Soyuzdruk». Agencies that branched off from «Ukrposhta» changed their names to «Torhpresa», «Presa», went public and transformed into private companies, besides those that remained in municipal possession. The country does not have a single all-Ukrainian wholesale warehouse or enterprise, which would accept a printed edition’s issue and by itself distribute it to all retail outlets of Ukraine. In fact, there is a gazillion printed editions and few outlets to sell them.

Most printed press is being sold in Kyiv, where, along with newsstands, it is available at news stalls at subway entrances, in the network of stalls of the newspaper «Segodnia» and through private distributors. In Kyiv there are about 1,500 press distribution outlets (together with the post offices, newsstands, press sections in supermarkets, at the book market, train stations and in subway), in Odesa – about 700, in Dnipro – about 600. In Kharkiv, after «Soyuzdruk» went bankrupt, also about 600 points of sale, in Lviv – around 500. This number of points of sale for cities with a population of around a million is below insufficient. As journalist Andriy Shevchenko (currently Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada) described it, «we live in an anti-newspaper country. To publish a newspaper and to sell it is nothing less than an act of civil and business heroism. It takes one year of time and three dozen approvals to open a newsstand. It is easier to open a kiosk selling beer, cigarettes, or crab sticks».

Entering a distribution network often brings a component of corruption, or – as it was often the case during Yanukovych’s rule – attachment of political strings. Some national newspapers were NEVER available in retail in certain regions of Ukraine.

 

2. Broadband

As to Internet providers, the top five in Ukraine have been pretty much the same from 2011 to 2015: Ukrtelecom, Volia, Kyivstar, Tiolan, and Vega (in 2011), which by 2015 was displaced to the 6th place by Datagroup. The growth of the number of Internet users has lost steam; hundreds of thousands of users were lost in the annexed Crimea and occupied parts of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts. Even in the areas free from the occupation, there is almost no growth in the number of new Internet users. 

Subscriber base, thousand users:

Company

2013

2014

Absolute changes

Relative changes

Ukrtelecom

1,646.5

1,604

-42.5

-2.50%

Kyivstar

779.9

833.9

54

6.90%

Volia

534.2

600.3

16.1

2.70%

Tiolan

256.7

286

29.3

11.40%

Datagroup

183.2

220

36.8

20%

Vega

157.9

146.8

-11.1

-7%

Tenet

132

153.3

21.3

16.10%

Fregat

119

218.2

99.2

83.30%

Lanet

104

126

22

21.10%

Freenet

93

111.1

13.1

13.30%

The provider Vega keeps providing connection in those regions, where it is technically possible and poses no danger to the lives of its staff. With the Crimean networks, the providers were employing different tactics: some would fix the losses and close them down, others would sell to local providers and leave the market. The development was achieved at the cost of two factors: natural growth and buying up of smaller companies, although the latter is not always profitable: such networks often require update to work with newer standards and get overhauled instead of creating new connections from scratch. Sudden devaluations of the currency Hryvnia also contribute to smaller towns losing access to high-speed Internet connection. According to Vega’s press service, it is still completely loss-making to build new networks: «it would take them prohibitively long to begin to pay off».

 

3. Broadcasting

On the market of digital broadcast television, the monopolist is the company Zeonbud. The Ukrainian Anti-Monopoly Committee has been pursuing it in court for several years now because of its monopoly abuse (from September 2011 to October 2014, Zeonbud set such rates for its telecommunication services that would have been impossible, were there competition on the market). During the rule of Yanukovych, the providers would, under some false «technical» pretenses, shut off separate opposition TV channels (for instance, TVi), which had no access to broadcasting frequencies but were available only on cable or via satellite, and thus would cut off whole regions from alternative opinions. So, the attitude towards the providers still remains cautious. 

  • Project by
    Institute of Mass Information
  •  
    Reporters without borders
  • Funded by
    BMZ