SBS officially abandons plans for Eurovision Asia
SBS has decided to scrap plans for Eurovision Asia, despite investing five years in its development.
In a report filed by TV Tonight, the broadcaster’s commissioning editor and Australian head of delegation Josh Martin confirmed that efforts to proceed with the competition would cease, citing the COVID pandemic as one of the primary factors in their decision.
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve rescinded our rights,” he said to TV Tonight.
“We spent a number of years trying to figure out how to do it and then the global pandemic came along.”
An SBS spokesperson told TMN the network was now moving on.
“SBS has explored its exclusive option with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to develop Eurovision Asia for a number of years and have decided to let it go,” the spokesperson said.
“Our focus is now on programming Eurovision – Australia Decides in 2022.”
Plans for Eurovision Australia were originally announced back in March of 2016, with SBS partnering with Blink TV to produce the event.
The broadcaster initially expected the competition to launch in Australia in 2018 with 20 competing countries, and had projected for an audience of 200 million to tune in each year.
However, progress stalled in 2017 due to rising tensions between some of the countries involved in the competition, with the most recent post on the Eurovision Asia website being uploaded in October 2017.
In 2018, SBS managing director Michael Ebeid spoke about the geopolitical difficulties involved in organising the event, labeling Eurovision Asia as his “one big disappointment” in an interview with TV Tonight.