Hot Topic - Eurovision Song Contest
As new media shortens the attention span of viewers and readers to 140 characters, reporters and editors are even quicker to move from one event, crisis or revelation to the next. Context is lost, some say post-modernly irrelevant. Those intent on controlling images are ever more pleased.
Systemic change offers opportunities for new thinking about a nation’s media. Wholesale upheavals, from “flower” and "color" revolutions to “springtime” protests and, even, wars, would seem to create the right conditions. And, too, the digital revolution should open the media space. Reality, though, is a laggard.
We love the Eurovision Song Contest. The production is big and it consistently draws more than one hundred million viewers. And every year there’s something a little different.
The Eurovision Song Contest may be a bit cheesy but it ain’t cheap. For public broadcasters hosting the ESC is an opportunity to step into an international spotlight and show what they can do with a high profile musical event. For those facing budget pressures, the ESC is a challenge, and increasingly so.
Reality TV – and certainly the talent contest variety – are proven popular programs with audiences worldwide. Broadcasters, originally attracted by comparatively low cost, push producers for bigger stunts. The genre has matured, something producers fight. Even in fair fights somebody gets bruised.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia are complicated. About half Ukraine’s population is, well, Ukrainian and reflexively supportive of Ukrainian language media. The rest of the country, predominantly eastern and southern Ukraine, is Russian speaking… and predisposed to watching TV channels from Russia. The broadcasting regulator wants Russian channels off the cable systems.
A nice tune performed by a Russian singer, written and produced by Americans, swept the Eurovision Song Contest voting. Commentators from countries that got few votes pulled no punches, calling the most watched single pan-European live television event doomed. The Contest’s eastward trajectory cannot be denied, nor can the phenomenon of the people’s vote.
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