Press conference: EBU and NDR

As always during the last week of Eurovision Song Contest EBU hosted a press conference together with the host broadcaster, this year being the German broadcaster NDR. The two main subjects up for discussion was what has happened so far during this years Eurovision Song Contest and what exciting news we can look forward to in the future.

As the technical problems from the first semi final last night had already been handled in an additional press conference earlier this morning this press conference were dedicated to information about Eurovision Song contest in general. Representing EBU and NDR at the press conference was Executive Supervisor Jan-Ola Sand (EBU), Event Supervisor Sietse Bakker (EBU), Project Manager and Executive Producer Ralph Quibeldy (NDR) and Executive producer Thomas Schreiber (NDR).

Jan-Ola Sand opened the press conference by paying compliments to the broadcaster NDR saying he was really impressed by the show last night. He also presented himself as a successor to former executive producer Svante Stockselius. Sietse Bakker added that Svante Stockselius had done a tremendous job and that it had not been easy to find a successor but that they now had found that i Norwegian Jan-Ola Sand. Sietse Bakker also added that it is fantastic to work together with Jan-Ola.

Jan-Ola continued by saying that this is the biggest Eurovision Song Contest ever and that he was pleased that this is his first Eurovision Song Contest as an executive producer. Eurovision Song Contest 2008 also had 43 participating countries but if you add the amount of audience to the equation this is year is bigger. He is also thrilled about the fact that there are so many former Eurovision Song Contest winner’s in Düsseldorf during the event as both Alexander Ryback, Lys Assia, Lena and Dana International.

Jan-Ola Sand got the question if they deliberately had waited to the last envelope to announce Iceland as one of the finalists at last nights semi final. Jan-Ola Sand confirmed that this was the case. He also told that EBU has been working on a new model for the votes should be announced during the final. They hired a Swedish professor to do research and to present a model which are to be used. The goal is that the voting part of the show will get even more exciting and that it will be harder for the viewers at home to calculate and predict who is going to win. Jan-Ola Sand also added that they of course need to plan each and every second in a big live show like this and therefore arrange the announcing of the votes in a way that will make it as exciting as possible.

Thomas Schreiber was pleased with the semi final yesterday and told the press that there had been about 16 000 sold tickets to the event. Tomorrow it will be even more audience in the arena since they have already sold approximately 17 000-18 000 tickets. The final on Saturday are more or less sold out but there still might be a few tickets left. He also added a few words about the interval in the second semi final which is the host broadcasters way to show contemporary German culture to the European viewers. 

In the end the gathered press and fans had the opportunity to ask questions and one reporter asked why the jury is able to hear the songs before the actual broadcast. Jan-Ola Sand answered that since it’s a professional jury they should be able to hear the songs several times to do a professional judgement with a different angle than the viewer’s as many of the viewers hears the songs for the first time. Another reporter asked if there were any plans to remove the the douze points from the scores to spread the points out a little bit. Jan-Ola Sand answered that there are no plans for such a thing since the twelve points is kind of a trademark for the Eurovision Song Contest. He also added that if he will make any changes, he will do them gently.

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