Fluent English in conversations, businesslike affability, and serious negotiations – it is all about the Kyiv Media Week. The halls are overcrowded, and representatives of various countries speak about their experience and plans and analyze media sphere developments. It is both a strategic session and an analysis of mistakes “all in one.” You will hear no debates on the scandalous situation with Public Television or the problems of national journalism (unfortunately, these topics really need to be discussed and a way out should be sought). Rather, it is a narrow professional event for the cluster that creates a commercial content, but this is also topical for Ukraine. This is the first time the conference was held with support from such relevant institutions as the Ukrainian State Film Agency (Derzhkino) and the National Television and Radio Board.
“IT IS NOW JUST THE TIME TO LEARN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE”
“This year the Kyiv Media Week comprises an unprecedentedly large number of events,” Viktoria YARMOSHCHUK, director of the organizer company Media Resources Management, told The Day. “Five of them are well-known, and nine are new. The number is so large because our market is developing very fast, there are many changes inside the country and in business patterns, and joint projects, including ones with foreign countries, are gaining momentum. The current conference has clearly outlined two positions: support from the authorities that have an impact on the media market, and a series of measures to boost cooperation with foreign markets. For example, we held a roundtable with the Korean, Chinese, and Moldovan delegations. This shows that our market is of interest to partners from even such a faraway country as China. The conference participants came from more than 30 states.
“Let me note that the Kyiv Media Week is in the seventh year of its existence. Our company had been organizing all kinds of conferences from the very beginning and decided seven years ago to unite them all into one platform. It is more effective and correct to hold everything in the same place in order to draw as many audiences as possible. We added the audiovisual content market to this. It is important that various regions of the world – Asia, North America, and Europe – are represented, each of which has a local market that attracts copyright sellers and buyers who discuss and agree upon operations. Ukraine hasn’t had this up to now, with the closest forum of this kind being in Russia only. The idea to organize one justified itself. The number of sellers has dropped since 2014, but there was a serious breakthrough in terms of conferences and roundtables. It is now just the time to learn fast, negotiate, and study the experience of our foreign colleagues. The Kyiv Media Week had become a platform for this. Of course, it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of the media and content now. Like never before, Ukraine should make good films and serials. They are in demand. It is important to build the media as a business, which we should also learn.
“The forum is attended by all those who are, one way or another, on the media market – governmental officials, who want to use the experience of their foreign counterparts, those who produce content and would like to exchange ideas and know what is new in the world, and journalists. We are also trying to hold events aimed at the beginners in this field. A total of one thousand participants from, as I said, 30 countries registered.”
“IT IS NECESSARY TO INVEST IN THE FILM INDUSTRY”
High on the Kyiv Media Week’s agenda was film business, digital technologies, serial content, and pay television. One of the main trends in Ukrainian TV today is background viewing. So, it is time to switch to vertical serials, when each new episode offers a totally different story but all of them feature the same characters. Accordingly, you can begin watching the serial from any episode. This calls for an aggressive strategy of promoting the product.
Quite interesting was the analysis of film distribution in Europe, which led to the conclusion that emphasis is most often put on the local context because the chief aim is to win the national viewer. Estonian producer Kristian Taska told us about his case of making a successful war film, 1944, whose small budget was possible thanks to support from the country’s ministry of defense. “Patriotic education is a top priority in Estonia, so the state is ready to help. On the whole, it is necessary to invest in the film industry,” he emphasized. And the producers of the much-talked-of Ukrainian comedy DZIDZIO Double Bass revealed the secrets of the picture’s success in movie theaters – a fortunate date of release, the local context of the plot, and skilful promotion.
It was also interesting to attend a one-day conference “Format Show” about the development of the international industry of formats. Representatives of TV and media markets analyzed modern trends in the development of show’s and serials’ formats and explored the examples of the world’s leading producers and distributors. The Kyiv Media Week also focused on the development of documentary cinema in Ukraine and the rest of the world. Producers from the Baltic countries and Scandinavia confessed after presentations and speeches that they were interested in doing joint projects with Ukrainian filmmakers.
In what way and how much is it possible to cash in on cinema? How should we combat piracy and how much is Ukraine losing from violating intellectual property rights? In what way and how much can you earn in the Internet by selling the content honestly? Finally, can and, if so, when will Ukrainian TV become a full-fledged Western-style media business? There were really very many questions broached at the Kyiv Media Week. But they were all about form and technologies, not about the substance. Of course, nobody expected the Kyiv Media Week to match the Lviv or the Donetsk media forums. In fact, the organizers did not set themselves this goal. For a week in Kyiv, representatives of 30 countries analyzed the best cases of contemporary media market and were trying to forecast technologies of the future. And such thing as the political and ideological component of cinema, TV, and media in Ukrainian realities was obviously left to be discussed on other, more specialized, media platforms.