The Eurovision party was definitely over in Oslo on Monday, with crews cleaning up and dismantling stages at Telenor Arena and concert sites all over town. As officials evaluated whether it was worth all the expense and effort, at least Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) could brag about ‘historic’ ratings.
NRK reported Monday that nearly 2 million Norwegians, in a country of less than 5 million, gathered before TV screens Saturday night to watch the finale of the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
That’s a bit lower than last year, when Norway was favoured to win and did so by a record high margin, but NRK was relieved and claimed the show ranked high on the list of its most-watched shows in history.
“The finale is the second-most-seen program of this century,” said NRK analysis chief Kristian Tolonen. “And we must remember that most of the earlier records occurred when NRK virtually had a monopoly on TV in Norway.”
NRK boss Hans Tore Bjerkaas said the entire production, with two semi-finals aired last week, fell within NRK’s budget of around NOK 200 million. He claimed he was “extremely satisfied” and that Eurovision enjoyed “great interest and curiosity” from the general public. Nearly 15 million tuned in for the show in Germany, which won the competition, along with more than 16 million in Spain and 8 million in the UK. All told, tens of millions tuned in all over Europe.
While the party was over, and perhaps never fully took off in Oslo, it was in full swing in Hannover, Germany on Sunday (PicApp photo above). Tens of thousands turned out to welcome singer Lena Meyer-Landrut home after she clinched Germany’s first Eurovision victory in 28 years.
Others hoping to profit from Eurovision couldn’t claim quite the “overwhelming” success that NRK could. Eurovision had been hyped for months as what the Norwegians like to call a “folkefest,” (literally, peoples’ party), but relatively few seemed to accept the invitation. Several sites for free concerts and Eurovision-related events around town failed to attract large crowds, tickets were still available to the various rehearsals and performances almost up to the last minute, and hopes of winning lots of promotion for Norwegian tourism failed to materialize.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that a study done of non-Norwegian press coverage of Eurovision in Oslo revealed little reporting on Oslo or Norway as such, with most foreign reporters focusing on their own performers. Tourism officials haven’t admitted to being disappointed, though, and it’s worth noting that Norwegian reporters didn’t devote much airtime or column space to Moscow or Russia when Eurovision took place in the Russian capital last year.
Those benefiting the most from the so-called folkefest seemed to be the promotional and marketing consultants who produced brochures and publicity, and the local officials involved in the various events.
As for coverage of Norway’s entry in the song contest itself, Didrik Solli-Tangen, he all but disappeared from newspaper Aftenposten on Monday, for example, after weeks of near overkill. Solli-Tangen ended up in a lowly 20th place Saturday night, and only showed up in a small advertisement on page 25 of the newspaper’s feature section, for a concert later in June. Tickets were clearly available.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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