Eurovision: More People Watched The Semi-Finals Than The Finals

Guy Sebastian of Australia performs his Song

The illustrious European song contest, which includes more glitter, sequins and strobe lighting effects than a primary school disco, has crowned Sweden its winner for 2015.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

It was the first time Australia had been allowed to compete, with Guy Sebastian rocking it out on stage in the final. However the semi-finals broadcast on SBS – which didn’t include Sebastian’s performance as he was performing in the finals – grabbed more viewers than the finale on Sunday.

Preliminary results from OzTam, the second night of semi-finals on Saturday evening was the most watched out of the three nights, nabbing 639,000 viewers. Perhaps that was because of the boy band dance routine from Israel.

The finals of Eurovision were shown in the wee hours of Sunday morning due to the time difference, and also later Sunday evening for those who hadn’t roused themselves out from the depths of their doona-clad bed.

The evening broadcast on Sunday evening brought in 592,000 viewers, while the first night of semi-finals on Friday night saw 500,000 viewers. The final this year, however, was far up from last year’s, where the 2014 finale pulled in 476,000 viewers. It was the most successful year for Eurovision in Australia, said the broadcaster.

“SBS has been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest for over 30 years and during the last few years we’ve worked hard towards increasing our involvement in the event,” said SBS CEO Michael Ebeid. “Our invitation to compete as a wild card entry this year has been an honour and we are absolutely delighted that our artist Guy Sebastian has represented Australia and SBS so exceptionally on the world’s biggest stage, showcasing our country’s creative talents.

“Eurovision for SBS is the perfect example of the SBS charter in action with its celebration of diversity, culture, and inclusion. Guy’s performance was outstanding and against such strong competition we’re so proud that his talent was supported, and acknowledged by the Eurovision community.”

The Eurovision-filled weekend helped SBS pull higher daily shares than usual, with Friday night seeing 10.7 per cent, Saturday night 14.8 per cent and Sunday night 12.1 per cent.

Besides the official voting in the competition, SBS enabled Aussie viewers to have their say on who the nation preferred. The company behind the tech, Buzzdial, reported more than 35,000 people used the service during the contest, delivering more than one million audience attention minutes.

And unsurprisingly, social media went bananas. According to social media agency, Thinktank Social, Australia contributed 12 per cent of the conversation around the hashtag #Eurovision2015. Sam Snowden, account director at the agency, believed social media was one reason Aussies got behind the competition.

“Ultimately Eurovision hysteria overtook the nation because there was an Australian wildcard competing in the competition,” he told B&T.

“However, this national pride wasn’t the only reason Eurovision 2015 fever swept the nation. The other main contributor to the show’s impact was our social and mobile news feeds. The status updates, social commentary and communal ‘Eurovision’ viewings shared by our peers inspired intrigue. From this intrigue, people experienced the competition for themselves adding to the growing social conversation.

“This momentum of social mentions surrounding Eurovision 2015 lead to brands creating content about the ‘trend-worthy’ competition and venues commercialising the ‘#Eurovision’ social dollar in the form of viewing parties at their premises.”

The media has been all over Eurovision this year too, however Dominic Knight, in an opinion piece for the ABC, argued this year’s contest was far too tame and asks where all the “freaks” were.

“As I watched this year’s Eurovision, I found myself not really minding most of the songs, until I got up to Guy Sebastian and looked back to realise that very few of the staples of Eurovision, those tried and tested elements that have kept fans coming back for decades, were in place this year,” he wrote.

Image via SBS.