EXCLUSIVE: China’s Hunan TV exploring Eurovision participation

Yesterday Eurovision’s Executive Superviser Jon Ola Sand revealed that the EBU was in discussions with Australia’s SBS about potentially giving Australia a permanent spot at Eurovision. Today wiwibloggs can exclusively reveal that China is ready to get in on the act too — and the EBU is exploring Beijing’s interest.

This morning in the press centre we caught up with Ying Lei, an adviser in strategy & business development for China’s Hunan Broadcasting System and China’s Head of Delegation here in Vienna. According to Ying: “The EBU said, ‘Let’s see. We are open and are always finding new creative ways to bring new elements to each year’s ESC.'”

China at Eurovision: Head of Delegation interview

Known as Mango TV because of its fruity logo, Hunan TV is China’s second-most-watched channel behind CCTV-1, which is run by China’s state broadcaster. This year it has already broadcast both semi finals live, and will air the grand final live on Saturday at 03:00 local time. In 2013 they aired the show in November.

Ying says that Eurovision fans in China can be divided into two camps: Professionals who admire the stage, lighting and design, and ordinary audiences who love the show for its music and fabulosity.

“Regardless of nationality or continents, we admire the best performance,” she says. “We admire the splendid stage setting, whether it’s Europe or China.”

It looks like China’s route to ESC will be similar to that of Australia, who first had a guest performer (Jessica Mauboy in 2014) before joining as a one-off (Guy Sebastian in 2015) and potentially joining for good (discussions with Australia are ongoing).

“That’s the question we ask,” Ying says, “whether we can follow in China, at least have a special performer on the stage and then join the big family and join the show.”

What do you think of China’s potential participation?