The Eurovision Song Contest has a new U.S. home. Netflix has picked U.S. VOD rights to the 2019 and 2020 installments of European Broadcasting Union’s international musical competition. The three 2019 telecasts, two semi-finals and a final, which aired live May 14-18 from Tel Aviv, Israel, will be available Monday, July 22. The 2020 semi-finals and final also will launch at once on a date TBD after the live competition concludes.
Viacom’s Logo broadcast live the final only for the last three years.The cable network opted not to carry the show in 2019. Netflix, which is not in the live programming business, has no plans for live Eurovision broadcasts; its rights are for VOD only.
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The move makes sense for Netflix, which is currently in production on a Eurovision comedy feature, starring and co-written by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams and directed by David Dobkin, which is set against the background of the famous music contest. That explains the SVOD platform’s rare interest in a property that it can only distribute in the US vs. worldwide, which has been its model — picking up Eurovision would get American viewers warmed up for the Will Ferrell movie.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been held annually since 1956 and helped launch the careers of ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, and Celine Dion. Known for catchy tunes and powerful ballads showcased in a complex stage show with pyrotechnics, CGI and over-the-top costumes, it is the world’s largest non-sporting live TV event and the most watched live entertainment program in Europe, attracting nearly 200 million television viewers worldwide.
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv was won by Netherlands with the song “Arcade”, performed by Duncan Laurence. The final featured a performance by Madonna, which did not go without controversy. You can watch highlights from the final and the official music video for “Arcade” below.
While hugely popular in Europe and a number of other territories, Eurovision had not aired in the U.S. until Logo picked up the rights in 2016 and also carried the 2017 and 2018 finals.The 2018 event, won by Israel’s Netta, was watched by an average of 74,000 linear viewers, 10,000 more than the 2017 average.