Love it or loathe it, the Eurovision Song Contest cannot be ignored. Many who followed the first semifinal for this year’s edition saw Malta fail to make it to the the final round. Finger pointing is inevitable at this point, but I think that talk of neighbourly voting is misguided. Otherwise how is it that Belgium and Iceland find themselves in the final?
PBS must radically rethink the way it selects the songs it sends to Eurovision as well as how the selected performers are presented on the international stage. The long-standing way of doing things clearly doesn’t work and is indeed a waste of money. Worse still, it’s a wasted opportunity to promote some of the excellent musical talent emanating from the Maltese islands. To really get its value for money from the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta must spend more than €400,000 a year, not less.
The real problem right now is that there is no ROI (return on investment) analysis on the process. No strategic plan. No accountability. And no continuity or development on long-term experience gained from entering acts in the contest year after year. Then again, PBS has a remit to do public broadcasting and the Eurovision Song Contest is strictly a public broadcasting service, rather than a commercial concern. Done right, there is plenty of milage to be had from the Eurovision Song Contest, even for acts/countries that don’t win the contest.
The alternative is to spend a lot less and still take part just to be there. After all, there’s a great game element in the whole thing anyway. Regardless of placing, the Eurovision Song Contest is an incredibly interesting event for performance scholars like me to study.
Now that Malta no longer offers a distraction at this year’s contest, I can fully focus on the upcoming activities of the Eurovision Research Network. My next blog entry will most likely be a personal reflection on one of both events we’ve planned for the next two days.