You are visiting the new Eurovision.tv — the largest revamp of the Eurovision Song Contest's official website since 2013. In this story we look back at the history of Eurovision.tv, give you an insight into what has changed and what you can expect from us in the lead-up to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest!
Imagine a pleasant September day in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Just months before, the small Baltic nation won the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest and now it was up to Estonia's public broadcaster ETV to organise and host the 2002 contest. Janek Mäggi, Internet Manager for the contest at ETV at the time, was scratching his head about the domain name to be used. He ended up choosing Eurovision.tv, which was launched in March 2002. Some 15 years later, a lot has changed on the internet, but Eurovision.tv is still the Eurovision Song Contest's official website.
In 2002 and 2003 the Host Broadcaster was still responsible for Eurovision.tv. Since 2004, the website was centralised and operated by an online agency, under supervision of the European Broadcasting Union. In 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013 the website saw radical changes.
Right now, nearly 15 years after the first Eurovision.tv went live — and over one BILLION page views later — you are looking at a brand new Eurovision.tv.
Officially 'in beta'
Although we launched the new Eurovision.tv with all features you may expect from the official website, we've chosen to officially launch 'in beta'. The main purpose of a beta release is to provide a functioning website which has had all of its major issues fixed, but is still being tested. Through usage and by listening to your feedback, the team can make improvements, fix bugs (not to confuse with Bucks Fizz) and capture ideas for additional functionality.
Until the end of April, we will be launching new functionality, fix any issues you may experience and prepare for the event weeks in May.
Speeding things up
The internet is developing at an insanely rapid pace. To keep up with that pace, we decided to completely rebuild the new Eurovision.tv back in January last year.
We started building right after the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. We also redesigned every page of the website, to give stories, photos, videos and data the space they deserve on desktop computers and laptops, and improve the experience on smartphones and tablets.
Speaking of mobile; one development clearly stood out in 2016: It was the first year we saw more web traffic coming to Eurovision.tv from mobile devices than desktops. As mobile internet connections are often slower and as mobile data can be quite expensive, we built (nerd-alert!) a front-end based on React and Node.js, to significantly reduce page size and reduce loading times.
On the content side
We are proud of the vibrant community of unofficial fan sites that cover every aspect of the Eurovision Song Contest. Rather than doing what they do and compete with them — we wouldn't dare to! — we decided to take the official website in a slightly different direction. From now on, we will focus on
being your trusted source of information. Whether you're looking for official information about the contest (even going in-depth), its rules, or data — it's all here, easier to find. To do so, will also put more effort into long-form stories like these, to give you more detailed perspective on what's going behind the scenes.;
telling stories only we can tell. We want to give you a unique perspective on the contest by talking with people behind the scenes and by sharing with you videos and photos taken at places only the official website has access to;
focus on the participant's journey. Less detailed coverage of national selection events - fan community sites and bloggers are closely following these and do a great job - and focus on the excitement ánd drama of the artists' preparations for their Big Night. The front page now features easy access to this year's participants;
gather what's good. We are constantly scanning social media channels to gather fun or interesting posts. They'll feature directly in the front page feed.
Speaking of which; the feed on the front page is the easiest way to keep track of everything that's happening on Eurovision.tv.
Did you know...
In the process of rebuilding Eurovision.tv, we
talked to dozens of fans, journalists, delegates, insiders and ordinary visitors to hear what they wanted for a new Eurovision.tv;
analysed three years of anonymous usage data from Google Analytics;
migrated over 100,000 stories, photos, videos and data records to the new environment. In the process, we spent a lot of time to make sure old links point to the right new place;
built a completely new version of our Content Management System, called Heartbeat — version 4 — to make it easier and faster to publish new content, especially during the event weeks;
Last but not least
We have a lot more in mind for Eurovision.tv, also beyond the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv: We are working on better ways to look at Eurovision data, a new and easier search feature, ramp up the production of video content, improve integration with the official app, just to name a few things.
We can't wait to pack our bags and head for Kyiv. We'll be reporting live from this year's Eurovision capital starting 28th of April.
Your feedback, bug reports and suggestions for improvement are much appreciated, as they help us to provide an even better experience. On our support page you can find more information about how to report any issues you may have with Eurovision.tv. Thank you in advance!