Market Overview
Legal Framework
Regulatory Bodies
Formation of Broadcasting Companies
Specific Broadcasting Activity Requirements

This Overview outlines the legal and regulatory framework for television/radio broadcasting in Ukraine, and points out the most important requirements to conduct business activities in this area.

Market Overview

According to the most recent official data, 791 broadcasting companies were registered in Ukraine as of February 23 2001, including 28 state owned companies, 250 municipal companies and 513 commercial companies.

Ukraine's broadcasting system is composed of:

  • three nationwide television networks;

  • three nationwide radio networks;

  • eight regional television networks; and

  • 10 regional radio networks.

The major players in Ukraine's television market are 1+1 Studio, Inter Channel, Novyi Kanal, UT-1, STB and ICTV channels.

The state-run UT-1 channel has the largest coverage area - over 98% of the population.

The most popular is 1+1 Studio, which broadcasts on the second national channel and is the largest privately owned television channel in Ukraine (it covers 95% of the territory of Ukraine). Central European Media Enterprises Ltd is its principal investor, holding 30% of the company's shares. Mr Rodnyansky, director general of 1+1 Studio, owns the remaining 70%. This distribution of shareholdings is dictated by the 30% cap on foreign investment participation imposed by Ukrainian legislation on broadcasting companies. 1+1 Studio currently holds about one-third of the national television broadcasting market.

Inter Channel covers 85% of the territory of Ukraine and is reported to be one of the most popular channels. It was co-founded by the management of ORT, one of Russia's media giants, and enjoys the exclusive right to retransmit ORT programmes within Ukraine.

Novyi Kanal, ICTV and STB are all less popular. However, lately Novyi Kanal's market share has increased significantly.

There is now a growing trend towards the formation of large-scale, mass-media groups. As a matter of practice, such groups are controlled either by large-scale foreign investors (like 1+1 Studio) or by powerful domestic political groups.

Legal Framework

In Ukraine, broadcasting activity is covered by a number of legislative instruments that set forth the key principles of broadcasting, such as the activities that are subject to licence and the licensing procedure. The most important are as follows:

  • the Law on Communications, dated May 16 1995;

  • the Law on Radiofrequency Resources, dated June 1 2000;

  • the Law on the State Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting, dated September 23 1997;

  • the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, dated December 21 1993;

  • the Law on Information, dated October 2 1992; and

  • the Law on Licensing of Certain Types of Business Activity, dated June 1 2000.

These key provisions are further developed in supplementary regulations enacted by the competent regulatory authorities, which have been entrusted with the task of supervising the industry. These regulations include:

  • Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the Procedure for Granting Licences for Use of Radiofrequencies, dated February 7 2001;

  • Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on Fee Rates for the Issuance of Licences to Use Radiofrequencies in Ukraine, dated February 14 2001; and

  • Resolution of the State Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting on the Procedure for Licensing of Television and Radio Broadcasting Channels, dated September 28 2000.

Regulatory Bodies

Verkhovna Rada
The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) determines the main guidelines of state policy in the broadcasting industry and establishes the legislative framework for their implementation. In particular, restrictions on foreign capital participation, lists of activities that are subject to licence and the licensing procedure itself may be determined by law alone, and thus fall within the exclusive competence of the Verkhovna Rada.

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
The Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for the implementation of state broadcasting policy, and coordinates the activities of ministries and other authorized state agencies in this area. The most significant functions of the Cabinet of Ministers are:

  • to regulate the use and allocation of radiofrequencies in Ukraine pursuant to the Law on Communications;

  • to approve the State Frequency Allocation Chart; and

  • to establish the rates for licence fees.

State Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting
The State Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting (SCTR) is a major supervisory authority responsible for developing and maintaining the quality standards for broadcasting in Ukraine. Its principal objectives are to ensure that broadcasting companies comply with the requirements of applicable Ukrainian laws and regulations, and to review licence applications from broadcasting companies. The SCTR issues licences for broadcasting, wire broadcasting, retransmission and cable broadcasting, and supervises licensees' compliance with the licensing conditions.

State Committee on Information Policy, Television and Radio Broadcasting
The State Committee on Information Policy, Television and Radio Broadcasting is a specialized governmental agency in charge of the implementation of Ukraine's information policy.

Formation of Broadcasting Companies

A broadcasting company is formed through completion of the common registration procedure followed by entry in the State Television and Radio Organizations Register, which is maintained by the SCTR.

Ukrainian legislation limits the broadcasting activities of foreign companies in Ukraine. Pursuant to the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, only Ukrainian citizens and legal entities are entitled to establish a broadcasting company. Non-resident individuals and legal entities are explicitly prohibited from establishing broadcasting companies in Ukraine. However, foreign companies may broadcast through Ukrainian channels if so provided by international treaties to which Ukraine is a party.

Foreign investment in broadcasting companies may not exceed 30% of the company's charter capital and are subject to approval by the SCTR. This threshold is expected to change in the near future as, pursuant to a presidential decree dated December 6 2001, the Cabinet of Ministers is set to examine the expediency of the 30% foreign investment cap and submit proposals on its amendment. Although the three-month period in which this was to be accomplished has now expired, no proposals have yet been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. However, in light of SCTR suggestions that the cap be increased to up to 49%, an increase in the near future looks likely.

Specific Broadcasting Activity Requirements

In addition to general anti-monopoly requirements, the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting establishes the following specific rules for the operation of broadcasting companies:

  • A company (including its subsidiaries) may not broadcast via more than two television channels and three radio channels within the territory of Ukraine, or within a certain city or other region specified in the licence, with the exception of cable networks and broadcasts to foreign countries;

  • A legal entity or natural person may not be a founder (or co-founder) of a broadcasting company that broadcasts via more than two television channels and three radio channels within the territory of Ukraine, or within a city or other region; and

  • A broadcasting company that broadcasts through the nationwide channels may not use at the same time more than half of the other broadcasting channels within the territory of Ukraine, or within a city or other region.

In order to protect consumer interests and national broadcasting production, Ukrainian law also sets out certain language and broadcasting content requirements. Specifically, the volume of in-house production should account for at least 50% of the total air time of a broadcasting company. If foreign-production broadcasts exceed 20% or 35% of the overall air time, the relevant company will be fined twice or five times the ordinary licence fee respectively.


Broadcasting licences are granted by the SCTR on a competitive basis. A broadcasting company seeking a licence must file an application with the SCTR. The Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting describes the information that should be contained in the application and the list of documents to be attached.

Generally, applications must contain the following data:

  • information on the applicant's founders, including (i) registered name, legal address and bank details in the case of a legal entity; and (ii) name, address, date of birth and citizenship for an individual;

  • information on the applicant, including registered name, legal address, bank details and logo;

  • a project description, including (i) broadcasting concepts and language, (ii) proposed broadcasting schedule and timetable, (iii) type (eg, television or radio, audio or teletext) and manner (eg, on-air, cable, on-air/cable or satellite) of broadcasting, (iv) anticipated coverage, and (v) target audience; and

  • details of the applicant's technical capabilities (eg, location, frequency and capacity of the transmitter).

The application must be accompanied by certified copies of the applicant's constituent documents, a preliminary staff list and documents which show that the company's financial standing is sufficient to implement the project as per the project description.

The application must be processed and a decision made on whether to grant the licence within one month of its filing.

When considering the applications, the SCTR will take the following factors into account:

  • whether the statements contained in the application conform with the tender conditions;

  • whether the applicant's technical capabilities conform with statements contained in the application;

  • the social broadcasting perspectives which the applicant has declared; and

  • any previous use of the broadcasting channel.

Once the licence has been granted, the company must commence broadcasting within one year and notify the SCTR within 10 days of commencement. If the company fails to commence broadcasting within this period, the licence becomes invalid.

Licence term and fees
The licence is issued for a term requested by the applicant, although for no less than seven years for on-air broadcasting and 10 years for cable broadcasting.

Ukrainian legislation provides for floating licence fee rates, which depend on the broadcasting capacities utilized by the licensee.

For further information on this topic please contact Igor Svechkar or Olena Repkina at Shevchenko, Didkovskiy & Partners by telephone (+380 44 230 6000) or by fax (+380 44 230 6001) or by email ([email protected]).