The viewing figures show a decrease in interest in all of the 'Big 4' countries, the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium. Morover the European Broadcasting Union has to face that the 'Big 4' countries, the financial motor behind the contest, occupied the last four positions in this year's Eurovision Song Contest final.
Viewing figures of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest final:
� United Kingdom | -4.2%
7.950.000 viewers – 8.300.000 in 2004 (there was a peak figure of 9,700,000 at 22:30 UK time)
Viewing figures for the semifinal however increased from 208,000 in 2004 to 267,000 in 2005. This is an increase of 28.4% for the digital channel BBC3. 198,000 tuned in to watch Eurovision: A little bit more on BBC3 immediately after the Eurovision Song Contest, which featured one of our esctoday.com editors as a special guest.
� France | -20.5%
3.687.680 viewers – 4.637.120 in 2004
� Spain | -31%
4.712.000 viewers – 6.826.000 in 2004
� Germany | -37%
7.000.000 viewers – 11.110.000 in 2004
� Netherlands | -57.7%
1.247.000 viewers – 2.950.000 in 2004 *
* The viewing figures for the semifinal remained at the same level of 1.6 million viewers.
� Flanders | -59%
753.000 viewers – 1.838.000 in 2004 *
* 761.00 Flemings watched last year's semifinal without Belgian representative. Only 641.900 Flemings watched this year's semfinal with a Walloon representative. In 2003, the previous Walloon year 1.430.000 Flemings watched the contest. Compared to 2003 the amount of viewers decreased with 47.3%.
'Big 4' or 'Bottom 4' ?
The 'Big 4' countries France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom didn't get off the final of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest without a scratch as they occupied the last four positions in the final ranking. Is a guaranteed place in the final a demotivation to do the utmost to find the best song to represent the country?
� Germany, the country in which the question whether to organise a national final, even whether to continue participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, has been been posed many times before, finished last. Gracia can better run and hide as her song only received 4 points.
� France turned to the national final concept again after four years of internal selections. This year, has to be satisfied with 11 points. Ortal's Chacun pense à soi received 5 points from her native country Israel and 5 from the neighbours in Andorra. One more point from Albania made France finish 23rd.
� The 22nd spot was for Javine. Another disappointment for the BBC. Despite an attempt to reach success in Kyiv by organising a national final with well-known names, Javine's Touch my fire couldn't convince Europe. The United Kingdom received 5 points from Cyprus, 8 points from the neighbours in Ireland, 4 points from Malta, and 1 point from Turkey. 18 points in total. This is a very disappointing number for Javine, it is also the chart position for Touch my fire which had been expected to enter the Top 10 in it's first week of release.
� Last but not least, there is Spain. The fourth 'Big 4' country in the final organised a national semifinal and final this year after three editions of the popular format Operacíon Triunfo resulted in success in 2002, 2003 and 2004.The sisters of Son de Sol reached the 21st place. Son de Sol gained 28 points for their song Brujería, 24 of them coming from their neighbours Andorra, France and Portugal.
With decreasing interest and decreasing success for the 'Big 4' in the Eurovision Song Contest, the matter of the 'Big 4' in the Eurovision Song Contest will raise again without a doubt.