The Junior Eurovision YouTube channel experienced a huge increase in viewers this year, and the team rightly praised their achievements. The number of viewers during the live final of Junior Eurovision 2016 more than quadrupled to 130,000, and overall the channel had 4.5 million views during the week — more than double the year before.
Importantly, the increased YouTube views did not translate into better ratings for the show. In fact, the television ratings — the numbers which attract and keep broadcasters in the contest — seem rather grim. Numbers dropped to an all-time low in the Netherlands and Italy, and countries from Israel to Bulgaria have also seen major dips.
The downturn may stem from the EBU’s decision to move this year’s contest from its Saturday evening time slot to Sunday afternoon. They had hoped that a more kid-friendly time slot would help them reach a younger and larger audience. And it seemed a bit more fair to Eastern European countries, where the broadcast used to start past 22:00 CET — well past most kids’ bed time.
But it’s now clear the changes did not benefit the broadcasters for whom data is already available.
From the moment Bulgaria announced their return in 2014, Junior Eurovision has been hugely popular in the country. In 2014 over a million viewers tuned in to see Krisia Todorova and twin brothers Hasan & Ibrahim achieve second place. A year later, when Junior Eurovision 2015 took place in Bulgaria, the ratings doubled.
Unfortunately Sunday’s show saw a major dip with only 280,000 Bulgarians tuning in. That’s a decrease of 86%.
Rating figures: approx. 280 000 viewers #JESC2016
— BNT Eurovision BG (@bg_eurovision) November 21, 2016
According to Eurofestivalnews, viewing figures in Italy dropped to their lowest since the country’s debut in 2014.
While 150,000 viewers saw Vincenzo Cantiello win it all, only 49,000 saw Fiamma Boccia’s stunning performance. RAI Gulp appeared to be the least watched children’s channel in the time slot with a share of just 6.4% of children aged between 4 and 14.
Eurovision is one of the most watched programmes on Russian television and in the past Junior Eurovision has scored big. According to information research group and consultancy TNS, the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest earned an audience share of 22.5%, making it the top music programme of the week.
The 2016 ratings aren’t nearly as rosy.
According to the same source, Junior Eurovision 2016 had an audience share of just 1.4% and was only the ninth most popular music programme of the week. It’s a shame — Russia’s Sofia Fisenko sang her way to fourth place and the Russian kiddies weren’t watching.
However, their annual news report on preparations ahead of the contest did slightly better and had an audience share of 3.6%, which was enough to finish as the fourth most watched programme on the Carousel network in the Moscow region that day.
Ratings for Junior Eurovision in The Netherlands have been dipping over the past few years. As a result, their televised national selection Junior Songfestival was axed this year and replaced by an online selection on their YouTube channel.
This year’s live broadcast of the final will do little to encourage a return. A decade ago, Junior Eurovision could easily achieve over a million viewers in The Netherlands. But according to Stichting Kijkonderzoek, this year’s broadcaster hit an all-time low of just 257,000 viewers. The programme that is usually broadcast in the same time slot achieves over 300,000 viewers. And the programme that was broadcast after Junior Eurovision received 600,000 viewers…showing that the broadcaster took a hit by airing the show.
According to Israel’s Broadcast Authority, a total of 33,000 viewers tuned in to Channel 1 to watch Israel make its JESC comeback. This marks a share of 1.3%, which is down 6,000 views compared to usual viewing figures for this time slot.
Luckily Poland is here to save the day!
As TVP’s Information Center reports, a whopping 2.8 million viewers watched Olivia achieve her country’s best result at Junior Eurovision. The broadcast had a 20% market share, making it the most watched show on state television that day. THAT is how you slay!
Do you think Junior Eurovision should stay on Sunday afternoon or move back to its original broadcast time? Let us know in the comments below!
Co-written by Renske ten Veen