The lavish Eurovision Song Contest now playing out in Oslo has become “too expensive,” according to more than 40 percent of Norwegians responding to a new survey. Residents of Trøndelag County and many in northern Norway were the most negative.
While Oslo is in the midst of what promoters call a “giant folkefest (people’s party),” many Norwegians outside the capital aren’t pleased. They think taxpayer-supported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) is spending way too much money (about NOK 200 million) on the production.
The survey, conducted by research firm Respons Analyse for newspaper Aftenposten, questioned 1,001 persons all over Norway as to whether they were positive or negative towards NRK’s use of around NOK 200 million to produce Eurovision this year. Fully 43 percent were negative, while 32 percent were positive. The rest were undecided.
NRK is financed by mandatory licensing fees imposed on all residents of Norway. The annual fee has risen in recent years and now amounts to NOK 2,434 per year (nearly USD 400), in addition to what Norwegians pay for cable or satellite TV.
NRK chief Hans-Tore Bjerkaas said he wasn’t surprised by the survey results.
“When you make the economics the basis of the question, you’ll get such answers,” he told Aftenposten. He added though, that he respected the negative views.
“It is a big amount (of money,)” he said. “At the same time, the 32 percent positive answers show that many think Eurovision is a big deal.”
If Norway’s entry in Eurovision this year, singer Didrik Solli-Tangen, wins like Norway’s Alexander Rybak did last year, it means Norway will be obligated to host the huge event yet again. While 42 percent of those questions in the survey said Norway should refuse to produce Eurovision, 47 percent said it should.
Thousands of performers, their delegations, technical staff and journalists are in Oslo for next week’s semi-finals and final of the song contest at the Telenor Arena at Fornebu. Rehearsals started early this week, with 39 countries taking part in the event that’s open to all member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). That includes 52 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been produced since 1956, making it one of the world’s longest-running television programs.