Last Saturday’s European song contest felt the economic pinch

A bit slimmer but still extravagant at 55, Europe’s biggest song contest Eurovision is scaling down its starry ambitions to a harsh new economic reality. Watched by some 124 million Europeans and staged by public broadcasters, the Eurovision song contest has seen its budget shrink by a quarter in 2010 and four countries have dropped out due to funding woes. NRK, the public broadcaster from host nation and last year’s winner Norway, has sold its rights to the World Cup to a rival to finance the pop festival and signalled it would not have the cash to stage another show if Norway wins again. The Czech Republic, Montenegro and Andorra have dropped out of the competition altogether, while Hungary decided not to enter a contestant but will still air the show. NRK said it will spend NOK 211m (EUR 26m) to put on the gala, which has grown in past years and now includes three nights of televised competition – two semi-finals and a final last Saturday.


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