In March 2016 SBS announced it had won the rights to stage an Asia Pacific event for Eurovision, featuring up to 20 countries.
Everything from Bollywood to K-pop was due to head to Sydney in 2017 for a regional battle on a pop-tastic scale.
But 2017, 2018 and 2019 came and went and in 2020 there is still no confirmation of it being realised anytime soon.
Broadcasting sources have suggested without China on board, some other nations have been reluctant to come to the party.
Blink TV Director Paul Clarke, who has just completed a successful staging of Eurovision: Australia Decides, shed some light into the challenges of bringing together regional partners.
“All the SBS executives have taken Eurovision Asia really seriously. We were in Japan in December but ultimately it doesn’t come down to just SBS being interested. It has to be some major partners as well… and Northern Asian partners. It’s just still in development,” he told TV Tonight.
“But to be completely honest with you, I’ve just been focused on Australia Decides because I feel that so long as you’re delivering quality you will gradually win the argument of what’s possible. We got quite a lot of Asian interest in Australia Decides. They loved the look of the show.
“We just want to build from strength to strength and we’ll get there.”
The EBU has long harbored a desire to extend its Eurovision brand 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 those events were never realised.
For Blink TV and SBS there are also resources and manpower to negotiate, with a Eurovision calendar that demands attention across Australian & European events.
“Part of the issue of development is these are really expensive shows to do properly,” Clarke continued.
“SBS is a small network, but not only that, you need to know that you have the the partners who are like-minded. The Asian scene is a lot different than the European scene in terms of public broadcasting and that’s just been a more difficult pathway.
“I’m probably going too far… the broad view is, we want to do it, we’re in development.”