A Matter of Survival: Andrii Vdovychenko, CEO of Burda Media Ukraine, provides an update on publishing in Kiev


Andrii Vdovychenko, CEO and owner of Burda Media Ukraine, is dealing with the kind of pressure publishers shouldn’t face. Russian bombing has made the region of Kiev, home to Burda, one of the country’s largest magazine production companies, prone to rolling blackouts, once leaving him without power for 455 hours.

“For people here, that means not only a shortage of electricity, but an equal shortage of heat and sometimes water in pipelines,” he explains. It causes problems not only in people’s private lives, but also in businesses: Journalists working from home struggle to connect their computers to the network and charge their batteries.

“Even when we were able to upload content, we experienced several site shutdowns, and our IT guys spent hours fixing them and making sure they were accessible to our 1.5 million unique users.”

When it comes to printed matter, the situation is even more difficult. Vdovychenko, who in 2019 Burda acquired the management of Media Ukraine, said: “Printing companies had great difficulty keeping their machines running during power outages. It messed up my plans,” he said.

Since Russia invaded in February 2022, Burda Media Ukraine had to reduce its periodicals from 25 to 7, including Marie Claire, Burda Style and 5 crosswords. Burda typically employs over 100 people, but currently has a team of just 30 journalists.

“They mainly work from home or where they temporarily live after being evacuated with their families, across Ukraine or outside the country,” said Vdovychenko. “For the few people who come to our office in Kiev, we have an air raid shelter in the building and they go there when the alarm goes off.”

As bombs rain down on Kiev, Burda uses five websites to help readers deal with the trauma of being under attack. Sites such as liza.ua and moirebenok.ua, for example, target women and mothers and focus on topics such as ‘how to keep a baby calm during bombings’ and ‘how to keep the house warm during a power outage’. I’m here. It also provides tips to help improve your mental health.

In the face of so many adversities, Burda Media Ukraine struggled to continue. After the Russian invasion began, the publisher said he could not put out print or secure advertisements until mid-May.

“Advertising business started to recover slowly in the fall, so we were able to limit the year-on-year decline in ad revenue to 70% in 2022,” says Vdovychenko. “Both advertising and circulation fell, and the cost of paper increased, creating a perfect storm.”

To support Burda Media Ukraine, GoFundMe Campaign It was launched by Frances Evans, former Director of International Marketing & Innovation at Burda International, to help pay journalists. So far, the initiative has raised around €15,500 and hopes to reach €50,000.

another similar motion launched The Fix Media in collaboration with other partners. According to Vdovychenko, this support was essential to sustain publication in Ukraine.

“Without funding, either directly from friends and partners, or through campaigns like the one launched by my friend and former colleague Francis Evans, I wouldn’t be able to continue producing content on a paycheck,” he said. say.

“Regarding the Ukrainian media business, I hope that both reader interest and the advertising market will recover further. We are directly dependent on our capabilities.”

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