Ladbible is launching a new series to shine a light on the “human stories” of the Ukraine conflict, which is being targeted at young people not “engaging with traditional news”.
The Lens on: Ukraine series is being produced by Ladstudios, the “factual entertainment” division of the Ladbible Group, and aims to be optimised for reach on social media.
The series covers an array of different topics related to the war, including animated explainers on the history of the conflict and videos from contributors on the ground in Ukraine.
LadStudios director Alex Morris told Press Gazette: “We have a huge young audience across multiple platforms, and it’s really important for us to communicate with that audience in a clear, concise way. Often our content is like the antidote to the mainstream news stories; the thing that’s light and fun. A big part of our approach is to make our audiences laugh, think and act.”
He added: “Ladbible Group represents human stories, that’s a key tenet of our content. And the human stories in Ukraine at the moment are heartbreaking. It’s an absolute tragedy unfolding not very far away from us.”
He went on: “Our content is designed to look and feel natively social a lot of the time. That’s what our audiences are used to seeing, they’re used to seeing communication directly from the protagonist.”
Morris added that by copying a social media style Ladbible can reach “an audience that might not get that level of detail and that level of insight from what they’re doing otherwise because they’re not necessarily engaging with traditional news outlets”.
Instead of having reporters on the ground in Ukraine, most of the content is either UK-based or focused on interviews with and videos from ordinary people, rather than journalists, in Ukraine. These contributors are guided on how to film content before it is produced remotely in the UK – a process the group called “desk producing”.
Ladstudios creative director Ben Powell-Jones said: “We are in contact with Ukrainian people who are there and asking them to send us content, but we’re not really a ‘people in front of a camera’ type of outlet… What we do have is Ukrainians living through an experience sending us self-shot footage that we’re putting into packages to then release.”
Morris added: “It’s an aesthetic difference as much as anything else… Everyone is gathering interviews, but there’s just a different aesthetic to how you bring that to life.
“We bring it to life by speaking to the people in advance and telling them how to shoot it and they send the footage to us. It’s not quite the same as user-generated content, in that while they’ve happened to shoot it, we’re helping to produce it from afar.”
One recent segment included bringing together Ukrainian and Russian strangers to meet in the Ladbible studios for the first time to try to “reinforce a message that being anti-Putin is not the same as being anti-Russian as the Russian people are also suffering,” as Powell-Jones put it.
The series is being created in conjunction with British Red Cross, with each piece of Lens on: Ukraine content signposting viewers towards where to donate to the charity. Ladbible Group also donated as part of the campaign but did not disclose the size of its donation.
Ladstudios employs more than 150 staff and produces content that is aired across Ladbible Group’s various brands, such as Ladbible, Unilad and Tyla. The Ladbible Group reports reaching 69 million monthly users across its five websites and having an overall global reach of 658 million.
In December, the share prices of the Ladbible Group soared after it was listed on the London Stock Exchange, giving its owner Alexander Solomou a net worth of more than £200m.