With the increased demand for reliable information on the evolving situation in Ukraine, some cable providers have added Ukrainian channels to their basic television offerings at no charge.
VMedia has added Ukraine24, the leading 24/7 TV news channel from the Ukraine, to all Basic and Premium packages offered by VMedia TV, as well as the core package of its RiverTV OTT service.
Alexei Tchernobrivets, President and CEO of VMedia Inc., which distributes Ukraine24 in Canada, is encouraging other carriers who want to include the channel in their TV offering to reach out. Ukraine24 was approved by the CRTC for distribution in Canada in January with VMedia its Canadian sponsor.
toober, a Toronto-based live television app designed to connect viewers to specialty television from around the globe, is also carrying a number of Ukrainian channels at no charge.
“Our mission has always been to help people worldwide stay connected to their homelands through news and entertainment,” said toober CEO Sasha Zivanovic, in a release. “In times of crisis, nothing is more important than getting accurate reporting of events directly from the source.”
For the foreseeable future, toober is making a lineup of Ukrainian channels available that include: 1+1 International, Pershiy Natsionalniy (First National), 5 Kanal (Channel 5), UATV, Espresso TV, and Kyiv TV.
“Several major Ukrainian media groups have partnered to show ‘United News,’ a unified news source, on all their channels, but given the constantly shifting situation, channels can have intermittent disruptions to their broadcast signal,” said Zivanovic. “Our goal is to add as many channels as possible and continue making those channels available, ensuring that viewers have continuous access to direct news from Ukraine, whenever and wherever available.”
The toober app is available on Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, and Apple TV.
Ethnic Channels Group Limited (ECGL), a Toronto-based broadcaster that distributes international channels via satellite, cable, and IPTV, has also made Pershiy Natsionalniy (First National) and 5 Kanal (Channel 5) available to existing partners, including all Canadian BDUs, IPTV and OTT partners, free of charge. Pershiy Natsionalniy and 5 Kanal are currently available on Bell Fibe, Telus, Comwave, and VMedia. Toronto-based Nextologies is also making channels carrying Ukraine’s’ “United News” broadcast available to any North American broadcaster, IPTV, or OTT provider free of charge.
The move to introduce Ukrainian media comes as most Canadian carriers remove Russian state-owned media channel, Russia Today (RT), from their lineups. With ongoing concerns about the spread of disinformation, the channel is also facing sanctions on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
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