Eurovision and Social Media

As a fan of The Eurovision Song Contest and the 2015 edition’s quickly approaching show, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about Eurovision’s social media presence and how they have popularized the contest outside of Europe with their use of social media.

What is it?

austrialogo

Logo for Vienna 2015

Before delving into the actual social media presence of Eurovision, I’ll briefly explain it all to us clueless Americans (and the one European in the class who already knows all of this). Essentially, it is a song contest in which each “European” (they use the term European very loosely: Australia is competing this year…) country submits a song to be performed in a grand show that is broadcast all over the world. The public votes on their favorites and a “professional” jury from each competing country evaluates the performances. The countries receive points based on the above criteria and the country with the most points wins and gets to host the contest for the next year. It started in 1956 as a way to ease the tension over war torn Europe and now has become a staple of the European broadcast schedule. It is insanely popular and one of the most watched events of the year in Europe and is gaining immense popularity around the world. It is also known for its controversies, political statements, flamboyance and craziness- so those are all fun too. This year, the contest is being held in Vienna, Austria after Europe’s favorite bearded drag queen, Conchita Wurst, won in 2014 for Austria.

conchita

Conchita Wurst

YouTube

Probably Eurovision’s largest social media presence takes place on YouTube. They have over 1 billion views and over half a million subscribers. Each year, they upload videos of each of the county’s songs, music videos and live performances from the show. Furthermore, they have videos in which you can meet each of the country’s representatives and learn more about them. This is actually a crucial part of the contest and proved to be instrumental in some victories of the past. This also works as a way for non-Europeans to keep up to date with the latest happenings of the contest. The show is not broadcast in the USA, and many American fans rely on the YouTube channel for videos of the performances and the outrageous activities that take place throughout the contest. Of course, YouTube allows for comments and this naturally evolves into flame wars over the best song in the contest and defending one’s own country is pretty common, despite how bad their song for that year is. It’s always a fun time on YouTube!

imageedit_2_4479787863

YouTube Page

Twitter

Naturally, the folks at Eurovision have invested in a Twitter account that they use to update fans on the latest happenings of the event. They also tend to tweet fun facts about the contest as well as random tidbits about the contestants, in an attempt to entice the future viewers of the contest. Like YouTube, Twitter becomes a place for controversy and arguments all in a place that everyone can see! However, the actual contestants of the contest take to Twitter to voice their opinions, which is just a delicious trainwreck waiting to happen. Last year, Armenia’s representative made a derogatory tweet towards Austria’s entry about being a drag queen. Before this tweet, Armenia were the favorites to win that year and this essentially destroyed any chances they had at winning. Russia also commonly takes to Twitter to promote their songs. Naturally, Russia always sends a power ballad about how the world needs to get along and people need to accept each other for their differences. Okay, Russia. Ukraine is not competing this year due to “financial” issues, but many Ukrainians still take to Twitter to support their favorite entries for this year (P.S. It’s not Russia). Italy went on a ten year hiatus because they pretty much thought they were too good for the show that some consider to be a mess. Anyways, they came back a few years ago and the social media presence of the contest served as a reason for their return, so yay. Finally, Turkey has been protesting the contest after being long time competitors. They even went as far as to make their own version of the contest that only allowed countries and regions that speak a Turkic language to compete. Surprisingly, it was not a huge success and they took to social media and Twitter to announce that they are returning for the 2016 edition. As with most events, Twitter serves as a launching pad for discussion revolving around the event and also has its fair share of controversy associated with it. Moreover, it works as a great marketing tool for the people at Eurovision to promote the contest to the rest of the world.

stats

Twitter stats during last year’s contest

Wrap Up

So, Eurovision’s main social media uses are on YouTube and Twitter. It helps in making a formerly exclusively European contest into a now global one that has fans all over the world. This social media presence is continuing into this year as people are making it known how they feel about each of the entries. Finland’s entry in particular has caused a lot of social media controversy this year. There are also “bookies” that predict the winner of the contest and people also voice their opinions regarding the predicted winner of the contest. Apparently, Estonia, Italy and Sweden are this year’s favorites to win.  Now, here is a video of all 40 countries that are taking part in this years’ contest and brief moment from each song. Pick your favorite! (P.S. Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Monaco and Andorra are not competing this year…I’m sure everyone is really disappointed).

-Joey

 

10 comments

  1. Interesting post, Joey! I had no idea about this contest, but the volume of people who check in on it tells the story concerning appeal. The internet has shrunk the world, indeed. And, the gambling aspect is also fantastic. People can and will bet on anything these days. I’ll have to add EuroVision to my feed.

  2. Cool post! I had never heard of Eurovision before, but it sounds like a huge deal. I’m also glad I read this blog since I’ll be studying abroad in Europe next semester and this will help me stay in the loop. Youtube definitely seems like the obvious platform for an event like this since the performances are highly a visual experience. It will be interesting to see how apps like Meerkat and Periscope will play into an event like this. I would imagine their true potential will come from huge global events like this that people will be able to tune into. I also liked how you touched upon the controversy aspect of a massive event like this. Youtube comments are definitely known to be completely outrageous so it will be neat to see how people react to various performances. Great post again!

  3. I had never heard of this contest either but I’ll definitely be checking out their YouTube channel to hear what countries are listening to. I’m really glad that you included the history of the contest in your post, Joey. I think it is significant that the contest started as an effort to ease tensions in war-torn Europe — serving as a way to bring countries together in friendlier competition. That you included the recent history of the broadcast, including countries that have left and then returned for the social element, has me drawing connections between how the environment of social media and networks can supplement what were once offline goals/motivations. The kind of openness and honesty that is supported by social media lends a transparency to the competition that seems to harken back to the contest’s original intentions of bringing Europe together. That Turkey returned because of the contest’s social media presence and that last year’s winner was determined through social media conversations and support seems to make the contest even more of an open playing field where each country is free to exercise its voice as well as its talent in friendly (regardless of YouTube wars) competition. Very Interesting Post!

  4. Like everyone who commented above, I had not heard of this contest before! I’m surprised that this contest has been around for almost 60 years and it isn’t readily known about in the U.S. Maybe your post will jumpstart an American following! I think it’s great that they’re using social media to create awareness and engagement. You mentioned that they are heavily involved on Twitter and YouTube. Do they use Facebook as well? I’m also curious to know how the public votes for their favorite. Is social media the main outlet for voting, or do they use the old-school method of calling in to a designated phone number like American Idol used to do? Great post!

  5. Really awesome post on a competition that I have never heard of before! I love how social media works these days in that it lets everyone in the world be aware of these great events. As you mentioned in your post, it is great that twitter and youtube exist because it gives people the ability to keep up with the competition event though they cannot watch it live.

  6. As someone who had never heard of Eurovision before reading this post it sounds to me like a sort of Vocal Olympics- very cool! Thanks for including the history of the competition in your post. It really helped set the groundwork for what was a really insightful post on an interesting competition. I really like what Rose mentioned about the transparency that social media lends to a competition of this sort. I think it definitely aids in helping the competition achieve what it originally set out to do- to bring peace and openness to Europe. I also thoroughly enjoyed your humor in this post- Great job!

  7. I like your post (and I don’t say it because the ESC is taking place in Vienna)! It is funny to read the comments above. All of them more or less start with “I have never heard of that before”. Why do you know it? Have you maybe heard of it through social media?
    I find it interesting that Turkey has announced its participation for 2016 on Twitter, although people do not have access to it all the time (“thanks” to the government).
    @raineykelly16 you said “how American Idol used to do it”. How do they do it now? Do they use social media?

    1. There are 5 ways to vote: SuperVote at AmericanIdol.com and the FOX NOWApp, Google Search, text messaging, or calling a toll-free number. SuperVote requires you to have a Facebook account–so I’d consider that social!

  8. Yup, this one is news to me too. Thanks for educating us!

  9. Interesting post – cool that such a long-running competition has now become social. Thanks for sharing!

%d bloggers like this: