NEW CRISIS FOR THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
Oct 23 2009
Yesterday’s announcement by Hungarian broadcaster MTV that the country
will not participate at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Norway is
another sign that the Eurovision Song Contest is now facing a major
crisis. Hungary are not the first and are unlikely to be the last
nation to step away from the competition as national broadcasters
suffer huge financial pressure due to the global credit crunch.
The Eurovision Song Contest has grown to new strengths in terms of
the number of participating countries, viewing figures and commercial
success in recent years. It has overcome the challenges of finding
a way to include new nations and expand its format to create a fair
and open competition. Just months after Alexander Rybak’s record
breaking win and the biggest commercial success of a Eurovision Song
Contest winner for more than three decades, the competition seems to
be stumbling into a new crisis.
After overcoming problems concerning neighbourly and diaspora voting,
introducing juries and receiving plaudits for what has been described
as two of the best finals in memory, the competition now faces
a challenge of maintaining the strong position that it has found
itself in as broadcasters struggle to find the participation fees
and additional finances to fund delegation trips to the competition
and national selection processes in the tough economic climate facing
almost every European country.
Hungary’s withdrawal follows that of the Czech Republic broadcaster,
CT, who already announced in July that due to a lack of funding and
poor viewing figures, they will not return to the competition next
year. Lithuania, Estonia and potentially Latvia are all said to be
considering whether to participate due to financial issues. (Read more
about Hungary’s withdrawal here and the Czech Republic withdrawal here)
Latvia did withdraw in 2009, only to retract its decision after
financial restructuring and additional funding could be found.
Although LTV have secured a cooperation agreement with Ventsplils City
Council, the broadcaster is still lookinf dor additional sponsors to
allow a 2010 Eurovision Song Contest bid. With national broadcasters
receiving reduced income, they are being forced to cut programming
expences, fees and making employee redundancies.
Andorra are also struggling to raise the funds needed to participate.
The principality’s national broadcaster spend â~B¬ 140,000 on the
2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The final decision will be taken by
shareholders in the near future. (Read more about Andorra’s possible
withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest here).
San Marino participated in 2008 and are desperately keen to return
to the competition in 2010 but financial concerns seem to be a major
stumbling point to their return. Monaco has also ruled out a return
to the competition in 2010 and there seems little likelihood at this
stage of either Italy or Luxembourg returning to the Eurovision family
fold. (Read more about San Marino’s withdrawal from the Eurovision
Song Contest here).
Armenia may decide to boycott the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest after
concerns about Azeri broadcaster deliberately blocking the voting
number for Armenia on screen have yet to be allayed. An EBU verdict on
the investigation was due in Mid September, but no announcement about
whether the claims were valid has been given. If proved to be correct,
Azerbaijan would face either a fine or ban from the competition.
Should one or both countries fail to participate at the Oslo
Eurovision Song Contest in May, the number of competiting countries
could fall back to just 34. (Read more about the expected EBU ruling
on Azerbaijan here).
With fewer countries entering the competition, the cost of
participation would increase for all other countries ans the fee is
shared out through a specially devised formula based on national GDP
and population size. This means that countries seeking to participate
based on previous fees may yet find themselves priced out of the
esctoday.com has today asked a series of questions to the EBU regarding
the participation fee of the Eurovision Song Contest, the increasing
costs that have put off some fans from attending the competition
in recent years and what is being done to prevent the loss of more
countries from taking part in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress