The traditional EBU Press Conference took place today at the Press Center in the Sava Center. Svante Stockselius and Sandra Susa spoke about the organisations in 2007 and 2008, gave the provisional dates for 2009 and presented the brand new, permanent Eurovision Song Contest winner's trophy.
Svante Stockselius referred to last year's contest and the complaints about East and West divide. He said that he does not really believe such a thing exists as if eastern countries were taken out of last years results, the following results would have been: 1.Serbia 2.Ukraine 3.Turkey 4.Russia 5.Bulgaria 6. Hungary 7. Armenia 8.Greece 9.Romania The back up jury results were also looked at. The only mayor difference to the result would have been a top 10 finish for Germany should the juries be the ones to decide last year.
This year the EBU experiment with a back up jury to decide the 10th qualifier and they believe that the two semi finals will produce a fairer result as it is not fair that that last year's placing would determine who is in the final, as it does not follow that a strong song will be sent in two consecutive years. Even though the two semi finals cost more and are longer – it is the fairest way to chose the best songs for the final.
Last night's First semi final produced high viewing figures all over Europe and next year Austria, Australia, New Zealand and Kazakhstan will broadcast the show to the final. As for the results, the 9 countries were produced by televoting and the 10th by the back up juries. However the result of the 10th televote was the same as the back up jury. Three Countdown shows of half an hour each were produced – offered to European broadcasters to present a buzz for the contest. 80% of the courtiers broadcasted these shows.
A comedy movie will be made about Eurovision, Svante said . A contract has been signed and the movie will be produced by the company 'Working Title', makers of Four Weddings and A Funeral. It is hoped that this will be produced in the summer and shown in the cinemas next year.
Other territories are also interested in the Eurovision format. A show for North Africa and the Middle East will be produced soon. The USA is looking at the format. Soon it may be possible to have a World Song Contest.
The problem of empty seats in the arena during last night's semi final was also discussed and the answer said that this was due to ticket being bought in packages and people where not able or not willing to useall the tickets in the package and a number of seats had been bought by corporate sponsors and not used. This is something that the organisers did not anticipate and the system will be examined.
A record number of submissions had been received for this years Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Cyprus.
Svante then proceeded to reveal the permanent Eurovision Song Contest winner's trophy in the form of a crystal microphone.
Afterwards the special guests of the day were presented. Last year's winner Marija Serifovic met with the contest's first ever winner Lys Assia.