Industry unites to offer online kids service for Ukrainian refugees

Source: Mirek Pruchnicki
Ukrainian children are fleeing Russian aggression

Pact has galvanised the British industry’s biggest players to create a free YouTube channel that will provide displaced Ukrainian children with TV shows in their own language.

The trade body has co-ordinated an effort that is being supported by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, STV, S4C, Banijay Rights, All3Media International, Fremantle, Little Dot Studios, YouTube, the BFI, Bafta, the RTS, the WGGB, Directors UK and Broadcast.

All of the rights-owning supporters are donating their time, expertise and relevant programming to the project. No money will change hands, and the service will be able to be geo-blocked by territory if required.

The proposal is to create a channel that comprises original Ukrainian and British kids programmes (dubbed into Ukrainian) that can be accessed on TVs, phones, tablets or computers by the 3m Ukrainians displaced by the war across Europe.

Pact chief executive John McVay began formulating the plan after members reached out to ask how they could make a meaningful contribution for Ukrainian people.

McVay said the aim is to offer reassurance to those affected by the war and to try to help preserve Ukrainian TV culture.

“The children [displaced by war] will hopefully find a warm home, have food in their belly and be looked after thanks to the generosity of so many fellow citizens. What they won’t have is very much that they can watch on telly, their phones or tablets in Ukrainian. In short, access to their popular culture: programmes that can comfort, nurture and entertain young minds in their own language.”

The channel does not yet have a name or launch date and Pact is calling on its members and the wider industry to lend its support and help get the project off the ground and build its scale.

It is particularly seeking companies to donate programming for the channel; to cover the cost of dubbing into Ukrainian; to share any contacts they have at Ukrainian production companies, distributors or broadcasters; and to offer facilities for the dubbing.

Anyone who would like to contribute should contact Pact chief executive John McVay via