EBU press conference – What was told?

Presskonferens med Christer Björkman, showproducent, Martin Österdahl exekutiv producent och Jon Ola Sand, Eurovisionschef. Olle Kirchmeier/SVT

The EBU and SVT held a press conference this morning at the newly opened press center right next to Malmö Arena where today’s rehearsals are currently going on.

Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Producer on behalf of EBU opened the press conference and gave some basic facts about this year’s song contest and the changes from previous years. One of them is of course the running order which is determined by the producers, Jon Ola Sand underlined that the decision wasn’t made by SVT, the broadcaster had proposed this new method and it was accepted by the Reference Group which has members from several broadcasters. He explained the decision by giving every song a chance to stand out.

Another change is made in the jury voting as from this year on, the juries will rank all the songs and not only the Top 10.

Sietse Bakker spoke about the new Eurovision application which was introduced earlier this week. It also has a voting feature so that after creating a PayPal account, user can vote for their favorite songs. After voting, user gets a video message from the artist saying thank you. The app will be made available for tablets as well very soon.

Martin Österdahl on behalf of SVT expressed how happy they are of getting to host the contest in Malmö. The preparations started right after the victory in Baku and the SVT team told their idea was to get ‘back to the future’. He also explained that this year’s theme – the colorful butterfly – symbolizes freedom, beauty and change.

The Show Producer Christer Björkman reminded how exactly 21 years ago he represented Sweden in Malmö at Eurovision. He also spoke about the hostess, Petra Mede, who will carry forward the slogan ‘We Are One’ in different ways during the shows.

The postcard of Denmark was shown as an example of this year’s postcards about artists themselves. In addition to that, a sample of ESC history clips featuring Petra was premiered. One clip will be aired in each show.

Questions and answers

The press had a chance to ask questions from the organizers. The way how the producers get to determine the running order was questioned but Jon Ola Sand assured that the order doesn’t really matter that much. Also a question how the direct finalists’ halves will be determined was expressed. The direct finalists will be drawn into first or second half and only then the running order will be determined by the producers. Also the semi-final qualifiers will be drawn into first or second half.

To the question about the human rights and Eurovision, Jon Ola Sand answered that broadcasters participate and not countries. Excluding countries such as Belarus for their human rights hasn’t been discussed. He also told that EBU is in close contact with broadcasters who decided not to participate this year and hope to see them in the contest in the future.

Eventually, the preliminary dates for 2014 contest were once again told and they are 13rd, 15th and 17th of May. The host broadcaster of 2014 Eurovision has to confirm these dates. He also told that this year’s contest will be aired even in China as CCTV has the rights to broadcast the show with a delay.

Presskonferens med Christer Björkman, showproducent, Martin Österdahl exekutiv producent och Jon Ola Sand, Eurovisionschef, Sietse Bakker, EBU, Karin Karlsson, Malmö stads projektledare för ESC. Olle Kirchmeier/SVT

Watch the press conference on the website of SVT