Back in September, host broadcaster SVT proposed that Eurovision’s start time be moved an hour earlier, from 21:00 to 20:00 CET. This proposal polarised ESC fans but with the confirmed start times in the 2016 rules document, the show is staying put at 21:00.
Time was very much a theme of ESC 2015, with three songs using the T-word in their titles. So in a way it was no surprise when SVT proposed the show start an hour earlier. Their argument was that it would make the show more family friendly for viewers, especially those in eastern countries.
But it would also mean that for viewers in the UK, Ireland the Portugal, ESC would start at the rather early time of 19:00. And poor viewers in Reykjavík might even have to ask for time off work to get home early enough for the start time.
Changing the time isn’t a minor undertaking – there’s the schedules of over 40 broadcasters to take into consideration, many of which schedule the programming months in advance with very specific commercial arrangements. It would be a big ask to rearrange things by 60 minutes.
If a change was to have been made, it would have needed the reference committee’s approval – and it looks like they didn’t give it.
Time to shine
In a Wiwi Poll, we asked y’all if you would like the show to start earlier. 1200 votes were received and the result was so close. The no vote won with 50.67% (608 votes), but the yes vote was an extremely close second at 49.33% (592 votes) – only 16 votes difference!
Amid all the fierce speculation around changes to ESC 2016, it’s comforting that one key aspect of the show isn’t changing. But as the poll result shows, there is still legitimate support for an earlier start time. Could we split the difference and go for a 20:30 start in 2017?
Are you happy with the start time staying the same? Should SVT and others continue to push for a 20:00 start? Share your thoughts below!