In an internal memo, issued today, NOS managing director Gerard Dielessen writes that “the Eurovision Song Contest and the national selection do not belong at the NOS”. In a short interview with esctoday.com, he expanded on his statement. Last year, Dielessen already questioned if NOS should continue to organise the national selection. Some fans and journalists claim that it was said that NOS would quit taking part after a negative result in Athens, but Dielessen denies this was ever said.
The Dutch system of public broadcasters is more complicated compared to other European systems. More than 20 large and small public broadcasters, united in Netherlands Public Broadcaster (NPB, known as Publieke Omroep in Dutch), get air time on three public channels, based on the amount of subscribed members they have. Only a few of them get air time without having members; one of them is NOS, the broadcaster which is generally responsible for news, sports and national events.
Due to new governement regulations, NOS has to cut down expenses in the upcoming years. “Due to these circumstances, we have to focus on daily news and sports. This means that we have to set priorities. An 'outsider' like the Eurovision Song Contest and the national selection will have to be aired by another broadcaster”, Dielessen said.
Not pulling out the plug
After three years, NOS took over the entire selection procedure from broadcaster TROS. This Sunday, the Nationaal Songfestival takes place, to select the Dutch representative for Athens. “We are definitely not pulling out the plug days before the national final! We are very eager to make this work and I believe the Netherlands should definitely continue to take part in the contest, after a long tradition of participating”. Dielessen emphasised that making the contest more popular is one of his personal goals; “If our new approach becomes a success, which we will know after Sunday ánd after Athens, I am confident the support among other broadcasters to take over the contest will grow”, he said, adding that there is no time frame in which this 'transfer' should take place. “Again, we are not doing this huge effort to bring back a successful song contest to pull out the plug, but we do have the long-term vision that NOS should focuss on daily news and sports and that we have to look after a good new 'home base' for the contest”.
This Sunday, Maud, Treble and Behave will all sing three songs in a live national final event, taking place in Amsterdam. Esctoday.com will be present to cover the event.