The Eurovision Song Contest coordinator of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), Sara Yuen, gave a press conference where she answered the burning questions concerning the future of the contest, as well as the junior contest.
Most of the questions regarded the 2004 contest, which is supposed to be spread over two nights, divided into two contests. “We would'nt like to make any haste steps, we still have time to orchestrate the completed concept”, Sara Yuen said.
The 2004 grand final will include 24 participants: This year's winner, the big 4 countries (Spain, Germany, France and the UK) and then the 9 best ranking countries of the 2003 contest. Yuen admitted there are a few flawes in this planned method, one of them being that the qualifiers from the semi-final will have an advatgae over the rest of the grand final participants, who were not in the semi-final. “We had a worse alternative, which suggested there would be a closed group of participants, but that was turned down by the broadcasters”. The non-participating countries this year will not be granted a sure place in the grand final but will have to go through the semi-final as well.
“We received a lot of applications from non-EBU members to participate in the contest, but we have yet come to the stage we can have a 'Worldvision'”, Yuen said. “I do not see Australia participating in the near future. The Australian broadcaster is called 'passive' this year, but there are no longer passive participants any more”, Yuen added. This year 42 countries will broadcast the event, including Puerto-Rico, Armenia and an Israeli broadcaster in North-America.
Concerning the jubilee contest in 2005 Sara Yuen replied that “there are numerous ideas concering that special year, but we are taking this one step at a time”.
When asked wether a DVD of the contest is planned, Yuen did not supply a straight answer, but settled saying that merchandise of the contest will expand under the resources available. Yuen also told that a new year-round Eurovision website is expected to be launched soon, which will be created by an external company.
“No one says the orchestra will never return to the contest”, Sara Yuen said and added that with contemporary music introduced into Eurovision, a very few countries apply for an orchestra, so it's unnecessary and comes up to the decision of the host broadcaster.
When asked about t.A.T.u Sara Yuen commented:“We are getting full co-operation from the Russian delegation. We clarified to the Russians that this show is a family show and their act on stage should be with accordance with it, and the Russians accepted it”.