What we do at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest

For the 10th time, Scrn has the honour of being intensively involved with the world’s largest TV entertainment show; the Eurovision Song Contest. What used to be one night of television a year, turned into a year-round cross-medial entertainment experience that culminates into three spectacular live broadcasts. What few people know, is that the preparations for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest started a year ago, just minutes after the previous edition.

Some 200 million TV viewers spread across all continents, 42 participating countries bringing over a thousand delegates, 1,500 accredited journalists from nearly 80 countries, a crew of hundreds and a live audience of some 10,000 people. The numbers are at least as spectacular as the three shows themselves. Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest brings together people, languages and cultures, dominating the European media landscape for several weeks a year. After Sweden’s victory last year, this year’s contest takes place in Stockholm’s Globe Arena, one of the most impressive spherical buildings in the world, under the theme Come Together.

Since 2007, Scrn has been involved with the Eurovision Song Contest, first as the contest’s official online agency. Since 2008, we have coordinated all communications and PR activities around the event and in 2011 we took on the challenge of supervising all event related aspects on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Centre of the universe

Paul Jordan, Digital Communications Manager at Scrn, is responsible for the entire online operation at the Eurovision Song Contest. “The official website is the centre of the contest’s online universe. Our dedicated team of editors, photographers and video producers will create thousands of pieces of content to make sure the fans at home don’t miss anything of what’s happening in Stockholm. Throughout May, the website is expected to generate over 50 million pageviews,” Jordan says.

The website is powered by a custom-built content management system. For optimal distribution, even at peak times during the live broadcasts, Scrn works together with CloudFlare. Content is also being syndicated in the official app, produced for iOS, Android and Windows in cooperation with the contest’s official voting partner Digame.

Social madness

Scrn operates five official social media channels of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vkontakte and, of course, Twitter. Throughout May, posts on the contest’s Facebook page are expected to reach over 100 million people. All together, the contest’s social media channels bring together nearly 5 million fans.

The real social madness happens on Twitter, where #Eurovision was seen some three billion times last year. Scrn works closely with an international Twitter taskforce, to optimally align all of the contest’s activities across the different territories. On the night of the Grand Final, as many as 8 out of 10 global trending topics is somehow related to the Eurovision Song Contest.

This is what happens on Twitter during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest (footage from 2015, courtesy of Twitter):

Half a billion views

Video-on-demand and live streaming play an important role in connecting with a younger audience and to extend the experience beyond the three live shows.

Stijn Smulders, Online Video Manager at Scrn, operates the contest’s official YouTube channel, which just passed the 1 million subscriber mark. “During the two weeks on-site, we will upload some 200 videos, from rehearsals to unique behind-the-scenes reports and of course, the live performances. Until the end of June, we expect the channel to generate nearly half a billion views,” Smulders says.

More than 1 million people are expected to tune in for the live streams of the three shows, both via YouTube as well as via Octoshape’s peer-to-peer platform. Scrn coordinates the live streams together with the EBU’s stream farm in Geneva.

Communications, PR and event supervision

The 2016 contest marks the last time Scrn handles communications, PR and event supervision. For the next three years, we will focus exclusively on the online activities around the Eurovision Song Contest and three of its spin-off events (the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision Young Musicians and Eurovision Young Dancers). “This opportunity fits seamlessly with our ambition to focus on online development and bring TV viewers even closer to the greatest TV show on earth,” says Sietse Bakker, CEO of Scrn.

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