Australian broadcaster SBS has announced that it has signed an exclusive option with the EBU to establish an Asian version of the Eurovision Song Contest. SBS and production partners, Blink TV, are now exploring the opportunity to establish the format in the Asia Pacific region, bringing together up to 20 countries to compete in one extraordinary live annual Grand Final.
"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", said Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The inaugural event would be hosted by Australia in 2017 and thereafter in other countries in the Asia Pacific. The broadcast rights will be licensed on a global basis and the event will offer the chance for Asia Pacific countries to showcase their song writing and performing talent to the world.
Chairman of 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 the Eurovision Song Contest 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".
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid explained:
"As the official broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest 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".
Blink TV Director Paul Clarke said:
“Since Moscow 2009, alongside SBS, we have been building Australia's alliance with the Eurovision Song Contest, 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.”
In May Australia will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time. Last year Guy Sebastian represented Australia and finished 5th in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Dami Im will represent Australia in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.