The European Broadcasting Union has licensed a regional version of the Eurovision Song Contest to SBS.
SBS and Blink TV will stage an Asia Pacific event featuring up to 20 countries to compete in Australia in 2017 and thereafter in other countries. The broadcast rights will be licensed on a global basis.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “As the official broadcaster of Eurovision for over 30 years, SBS is pleased to explore the opportunity to bring an event of this calibre more closely to our shores, strengthening the multicultural ties in our region. Asia Pacific has a spectacular music culture and the perfect next step to extend the Eurovision brand, bringing its hugely popular appeal beyond Australian audiences and to the wider region.
“SBS is the home of SBS PopAsia establishing a robust reputation for Asian language programing and the greatest offering of programs and services in Asian languages of any other network in Australia. We look forward to working closely with organisations across the region and realising this amazing opportunity.
“Increasingly Australia is playing a greater role in the global community and SBS sees entertainment as one area in which we can play an active role in strengthening Australia’s ties with Asia as part of our overall commitment to reflecting multiculturalism and contributing to the social health of our communities.
“We are pleased with the very early discussions across the region and look forward to working with our neighbouring broadcasters to realise this vision.”
The EBU has long harbored a desire to extend globally. It previously licensed rights for an Asia Pacific Contest to Asiavision Pte. Ltd., which announced an event for Macau, then Mumbai in 2010, including with an Australian entry from SBS. But the event was never realised.
Chairman for the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling said: “We are excited by the fact that Eurovision’s appeal is crossing continental borders to Asian countries. SBS Australia has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years, so we feel they are a perfect partner to build an alliance of networks with, and give Asian songwriters and artists the opportunity to perform on the Eurovision stage.“
Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand said: “The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956 with the aim of uniting nations and exploring new television technology. Since then, over 50 nations have taken part in this competition which reaches nearly 200 million viewers in Europe every year.”
Blink TV will lead discussions with potential sponsors, commercial partners and regional broadcasters in coming months.
Blink TV Director Paul Clarke said: “Since Moscow 2009, alongside SBS, we have been building Australia’s alliance with Eurovision, a brand that champions diversity, song writers and performers.
“Blink TV and SBS have been granted an opportunity to grow the Eurovision brand from an audience of 200 million, to a potential Asian audience of more than a billion viewers. I am certain we can build the team for this wonderful opportunity, and we look to partners in our part of the world to join us. Asia has an astonishing set of musical and visual cultures, and it will make for brilliant television.
“Imagine – the musical virtuosity of Bollywood, the cutting edge of K-pop, and the excitement of Chinese and Japanese artists – now the biggest music consumers in the world. We are looking to build these partnerships, starting now. It’s a thrilling idea.”