It’s time for a change in Ukraine. National broadcaster Suspilne and commercial broadcaster STB have announced the end of their Eurovision partnership. Since 2016, STB ran the popular national final Vidbir, while Suspilne managed Ukraine’s entry at Eurovision. Now Suspilne is going at it alone and will be responsible for the artist selection as well.
STB confirmed the news today with a statement that also recounted the successful years of Vidbir.
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STB’s managing director Lyudmila Semchuk commented on the end of the broadcasters’ partnership, saying:
“The national selection for Eurovision was a very important project for STB and StarLightMedia. To make the national selection the main musical event — this is the goal we set ourselves six years ago, starting a partnership with the public broadcaster, and we clearly adhered to it.
“This was our contribution to raising the country’s image in the international arena, supporting national talents and the development of the Ukrainian music industry, so it was very important for us to take part in every stage of the country’s preparation and performance at Eurovision.
“We have achieved many great successes and set a high bar for the national selection. Today we end our participation in the selection of the representative of Ukraine for the song contest. We thank the team, all viewers, the media, artists and partners for making the national selection for Eurovision the main star of Ukrainian television together.”
It’s believed that a large motivation behind this decision is that recently Suspilne’s budget has substantially increased. Ukraine’s participation in Eurovision 2021 was the first time that Suspilne was able to fund the performance entirely and not be co-sponsored by STB.
Suspilne has not yet confirmed how they will select Ukraine’s act for 2022, however the broadcaster is reportedly in talks with other production companies regarding a new national final show.
Ukraine and the Vidbir national final
The Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine — also known as Suspilne or UA:PBC — was launched in 2015, following the restructuring of Ukraine’s public broadcasting system. After Ukraine’s break from Eurovision in 2015, the nation returned in 2016, with Suspilne as the participating broadcaster.
In 2015, Suspilne initially signed a three-year agreement with commercial channel STB. From 2016, STB ran the country’s national selection, while Suspilne looked after Ukraine’s entry at Eurovision.
STB introduced Vidbir in 2016, a large-scale Eurovision national final, inspired by iconic national finals from Western Europe. The radical new format was a hit and the broadcasters extended their agreement for another three years.
STB notes that each year, the contest attracted more than 1000 entries. In the five seasons of the show, 92 acts competed to represent Ukraine at Eurovision. The contest also featured newcomers that were exposed to new audiences. STB were also able to attract big-name acts that would not previously have considered participating in a show run by Suspilne.
The Vidbir years proved successful for Ukraine at Eurovision. Jamala won the contest in 2016 with her powerful electro-pop song “1944”. The entries all qualified for the Eurovision grand final, ensuring Ukraine 100% qualification streak remains unbroken.
Most recently, folktronica group Go_A placed fifth in Rotterdam with their anthem “SHUM”. The song was a hit with viewers, coming second in the televote and later going viral on TikTok.
Whatever format Suspilne uses for its 2022 selection, it has a rich legacy to live up to.
What do you think? Are you sad to see the end of Vidbir? What song selection format should Suspilne user for Eurovision 2022? Tell us your thoughts below!