Social media has been identified as the driving force behind an increase in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest in Britain, as the TV audience for last year’s final rose by a fifth.
Around 8.9 million viewers watched in the UK in 2022, up 20 per cent year-on-year, and similar levels are expected for next month’s event. In 2010, only 5.5 million people in Britain watched the final.
The rise of fan power and social media sites has been hailed as a driving factor in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest by Rylan Clark and Scott Mills, who take over from Ken Bruce to direct Radio 2’s coverage of this year’s event in Liverpool. to nurse.
X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother contestant turned broadcaster Clark, a self-proclaimed ‘super fan’, said, ‘The fanbase was once you diehard enthusiasts who would follow it every year and have little parties.
“But with social media, the fans have made it en masse.”
Social media has been identified as the driving force behind an increase in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest in Britain, as TV audiences for last year’s final rose by a fifth
Factors that attracted 160 million global viewers last year included the musical quality in the final, in which Britain’s Sam Ryder (pictured) finished second, plus global support for Ukraine
Former Radio 1 DJ Mills revealed that fans are using social media to discuss contestants – such as UK 2023 contestant Mae Muller – and performances in great detail.
He said, ‘Fan power is just the thing. Social media allows Eurovision fans to talk about it in great detail, a bit like sports fans spreading the word about their team’s achievements. This is the version of music fans.”
And Martin Greene, managing director of Eurovision 2023, which is being held in the UK on behalf of Ukraine after the Eastern European country’s Kalush Orchestra won last year, added: “It’s like Eurovision was born for social media. It’s visual, it’s musical, it has great video content.
“The European Broadcasting Union (broadcasters across the continent covering the event) have been very smart in making sure they consider the value of social media and it helps boost its popularity.”
Mills also said factors that attracted 160 million global viewers last year included the musical quality in the final, in which Britain’s Sam Ryder finished second, plus global support for Ukraine.
“Last year, whatever it was, whether it’s feelings for Ukraine or people appreciating the music, more people watched for the first time and loved it.”
The rise of fan power and social media sites has been hailed as a driving factor in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest by Rylan Clark and Scott Mills, who take over from Ken Bruce to direct Radio 2’s coverage of this year’s event in Liverpool. to nurse. Pictured: performance by Sam Ryder
Rylan (left) and Scott Mills (centre) were announced as Radio 2’s presenters for the Eurovision Song Contest final on Wednesday morning – while Paddy O’Connell will host the semi-finals
Worldwide, the Eurovision audience is now significantly higher than the 108 million who watched in 2010, with 160 million watching the final last year. But a record 200 million viewers in 2016, the first year the Eurovision Song Contest was shown in the US
Clark and Mills paid tribute to their predecessor, who left the BBC in March. Mills said, “It’s our biggest job,” while Clark said it felt “insane” to take over from 72-year-old Bruce.
Greene said hosting the Eurovision Song Contest would be “dramatically different” from the last time the UK hosted the final in Birmingham in 1998, after Britain’s entry Katrina and the Waves won with “Love Shine A Light” last year.
He said: ‘I’ve spoken to a few people involved in Birmingham. They were in the room, people got up and played a few songs. The world has changed so much. Managing events is very different and there is so much more to it.’
Mr Greene said the organizers worked with Merseyside police and ‘appropriate agencies’ to ensure security at the final – with threats ranging from Russia to environmentalists.
He said, “I’m very confident we’re in a great place.”
Pointing to the vulnerability to protesters like Just Stop Oil, who have pledged to target major events this summer, he said: “I hope there are a lot of people who would probably think twice about disrupting something that is going about supporting our friends in Ukraine.’
The BBC has announced a series of Eurovision programs in the run-up to the final on May 13.