The organization and broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest, which viewers watched in two acts this weekend due to a technical glitch of Diia during voting, incurred an estimated cost of UAH 11 million.

The National Сouncil of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine concluded the direct contract for helding the National Selection on January 26 with 1+1 Production Foreign Company. They did this because the company won the art competition held by the NCRTB in November. Dmytro Shurov (Pianoboy) was the producer of the show.

The customer published most of the related documents on February 1. According to a section of the estimate, these funds were intended to be used for:

  • UAH 505.8 thousand – the development of the concept for the TV version of the National Selection considering the scenario of actions during an air alert,
  • UAH 541.6 thousand UAH – director’s concept,
  • UAH 747.2 thousand – technological description of signal production, recording, and delivery,
  • UAH 227.2 thousand – script plan,
  • UAH 75.7 thousand – selection script,
  • UAH 960 thousand – sketches of stage scenery with 3D models, production, installation and dismantling of scenery,
  • UAH 638.2 thousand – recording of contestant introduction videos,
  • UAH 720 thousand – creating background videos for screens, as well as introduction videos of finalists,
  • UAH 245.2 thousand – live streaming plan,
  • UAH 72 thousand – broadcast graphics and musical design of the show,
  • UAH 4.4 million – recording of the concert part of the National Selection Final (with or without sign language translation),
  • UAH 1.9 million – on-air copies of the National Selection (video recording with and without sign language translation).

We requested a more detailed estimate from Suspilne regarding the organization and broadcast of the National Selection, along with information about an art competition to select the contractor. We will post the explanation as soon as we receive a response.

According to the records on the Unified Web Portal for Public Fund Expenditures, 1+1 Production has not received any payment under the contract. The document excludes advance payment, and the contractor will be compensated only for the services rendered.

Євробачення договір скрін

Preparation for the broadcast and related media products commenced even before the official contract signing. For instance, on January 15, the band Nazva shared on their Instagram that they were shooting an introduction video for the live broadcasts. However, based on the contractual terms, it officially takes effect on January 1, 2024, likely reflecting the approval of funding at the beginning of the year. That is not prohibited by law. Moreover, payment will be received by the contractor according to the acts of acceptance and transfer of services rendered.

Роботи до договору Євробачення

1+1 Production Foreign Company has a registered address in Kyiv but its largest share (75%) is owned by offshore company Саddоа Limited, registered in Cyprus. The remaining shares are owned the channel’s staff. Until 2012, the largest share, held through a series of offshore companies, belonged to oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi.

It’s worth reminding that the live broadcast of the National Selection for Eurovision 2023 was valued at UAH 10 million. It was organized by Starlight Production LLC, which is part of the StarLightMedia group of billionaire Viktor Pinchuk. In addition to the initial 10 million, the NCRTB spent an additional UAH 3 million on the preparation and support of Tvorchi band’s performances – the winners of the national selection – at the pan-European stages of the contest. Another UAH 537,000 was spent on organizing a trip to the contest held last year in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Additionally, the NCRTB made a EUR 30.8 thousand contribution to the European Broadcasting Union for the participation of the country’s representative in the song contest. This is one of the mandatory conditions for participation.

Voting failure and expediency issues

This year, as in the last one, the people’s vote for the winners of the national selection was held in the Diia app. Almost 1.2 million Ukrainians took part in it – one million more than last year. Svitlana Ostapa, the Chairperson of the NCRTB Supervisory Board shared that information on her Facebook page.

But this time the app couldn’t withstand the load. In addition to the voting failure, users reported incorrect display of other people’s documents or a lack of access to their own.

As a result, voting was extended for an additional day, and the final of the national stage of the competition spanned two days. The results were announced on Sunday evening, February 4. The winners were alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their Teresa & Maria track.

переможиці Нацвідбору

Simultaneously with the high voting activity, some social media users expressed the opinion that it is inappropriate for Ukraine to participate in the European competition during the war. In defense of this position, they referred to the UAH 11 million procurement by Suspilne, and referred to the example of Romania, which this year refused to participate due to financial difficulties. Last year, the same decision was made by Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia due to significant financial costs unaffordable for them. We are talking about the cost of the flight, weekly accommodation for the entire team, preparation of performances and participation fee.

“Now the purchase price can cause quite an emotional reaction. However, the decision on whether to participate in Eurovision was not made before the publication of the procurement agreement. These expenses are budgeted. Ukraine is participating in the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time during the war. Probably for a reason. It should be understood that these events serve as a promotion of the country to international partners and offer an opportunity to reiterate requests for assistance. And it is very strange to me that the Ministry of Culture has not yet come out with an explanation,” says the Deputy Executive Director of TI Ukraine for Innovative Projects Ivan Lakhtionov.   

It is worth noting that during the broadcast, a fundraising was held for the Serhii Prytula Foundation for humanitarian de-mining equipment. According to the organizer, the audience donated UAH 2.2 million in total.

The publication was prepared with the support of USAID / UK aid project Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services/ TAPAS