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!

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@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Denis :- Unfortunately real life is full of light and shade, just look at what is currently being revealed in FIFA and World Athletics, it’s real and we don’t live in a perfect world, it’s actually a corrupt world. If it was not for the British persistent for “fair play”, Blatter would still be in charge of FIFA. The British are basically straight talkers and they are not sheep and believe in free speech. If you belong to an organisation, you don’t have to follow everything they say or do. As for me I say it as I see it… Read more »

Denis
Guest
Denis

OK, final post! I am aware that people have different opinions and I love that. it would be so boring if people had the same thoughts, wouldn’t it? Imagine that world.. I am also aware that established institutions, such as this and James Bond films should treat change with some casualty and not take huge drastic steps. But is changing the start time to one hour earlier really that drastic of a change? Drastic means big changes that would affect the event hugely. But I’m not certain it would change ESC that much. ESC-fans would watch it either way. Just… Read more »

T
Guest
T

Thank God

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

No It wouldn’t denis stop being so b*tt hurt. Most of people who in the uk don’t even like the beeb. We aren’t going to to support it because its British that to me sounds silly but I’m not surprised if you do because of how overly patriotic sine Swedes are. Some of you people will like anything Swedish and if another Swede thinks differently some of you get made its ridiculous.And what max said is right and if the pc bbc did do that I wouldn’t be surprised

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Max: Changing the time slot wouldn’t make a different for Australia. Eurovision screens live at 5am there. SBS broadcast it live, but barely promote it. Instead they put their marketing focus on the evening replay, which is how the majority of Australians watch Eurovision, even though it’s not live.

A 4am start would mean the fans would still get up in the middle of the night (just as Australian sports fans do for international games) but the majority audience would still watch it on the evening replay.

FrancESCa
Guest
FrancESCa

*but for the fans like me, it was quite early!
For example, I didn’t watch the beginning of both semifinals because I had classes until 20h and 20h15!! And I still got to go home!!

FrancESCa
Guest
FrancESCa

That’s good news!! Believe me, if it started one hour earlier, the show would die here in Portugal (19h)!
Portuguese people don’t really care about ESC, but for the real fans like m

Luis Fuster
Editor

If it moves to an hour early, Eurovision is dead in Spain. With our late timing, it’s even difficult to gather friends at 21.00!

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Denis :- Aren’t readers entitled to their opinions? It would be very boring if we all agreed and it is good to get a balanced view on things. Unless ESC fans voice their opinions how will Ola Sand know what they think? I am one of those ESC purists, but I am ALL for change when change is needed and when change is ONLY for the better……………….NOT change for the sake of change. Some of the recent changes are not necessarily to improve things. Whatever changes occur, honesty, fairness and transparency is paramount and ALL countries should be treated equally.… Read more »

Max
Guest
Max

@Denis

We already know if the BBC were to win it they would do everything in their power to make the most obscure country win, probably a nice dictatorial authoritarian one that its politically correct to be in favour of. Kazakstan? Azerbaijan again maybe?

Denis
Guest
Denis

Well Sarah, I tried to hear them out. But after a while when nothing you get but complaint after complaint and conspiracy theories about SVT and EBU it undoubtedly gets beyond the point of hearing people out. When people starts to see it as a big conspiracy you know you are well past being patient and hearing people out. There’s no argument to stupid claims.

When and if BBC ever gets to win and and arrange I wonder if you would be that rational when people say “They want this or this country to win” and similar nonsense.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I am glad.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Why take it so personally denis are you patriotic to svt or something and even if people where against the bbc decisions I would hear them out and allow their views not be all upset like you. Svt seem to want to change everything it might be a culture difference but I’m from a place where if something isn’t broken why fix it.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

Thank god

Max
Guest
Max

Think this is another sign towards Australia competing the hour earlier would have made it even earlier for them and undoubtedly hit viewing figures

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS! thank god not everything that bjorkman propose are accepted.

Esma & Irrelozano
Guest
Esma & Irrelozano

Denis, why change something which isn’t broken. And for some people starting time is actually very important, and it seems to work very well at the moment. (Also bring back the live orchestra). *Leleleleleleleles out of here*

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

And all the high school students on the eastern seaboard of the US rejoiced
Now I can actually still watch the semifinals if I rush a little bit

that person
Guest
that person

If it was moved an hour earlier I feel like viewing figures in the UK would suffer as its a bit close to work finishing hours..

Denis
Guest
Denis

All that buzz over nothing really. I can’t believe people actually made a fuss over something as trivial as start time. Is that really so important for you all when the show starts? People will watch even if it starts at midnight or 7:AM The issue her isn’t so much viewer ship cause it will always have enough viewers, the issue is rather pleasing the ESC-purists who don’t want any changes at all but rather that it stays the way it always has been. That is a far more pressuring issue and probably the reason the suggestion wasn’t voted through.… Read more »

Bronson
Guest
Bronson

Not a problem for Icelandic viewers….. didn’t they get a 98% TV rating or something like that? 😛

PP
Guest
PP

EBU reference group and supervisor (most from nordic countries )in last few years ruin the Eurovison song contest, with draw rules to producer and reference group to decide draw order (singer only choose by draw first or second half in final, and delegation choose by draw first or second half for semifinals), with invite Australia as guest. I only like change in voting system but we saw that many juries high votes goes to neighbours countries and only easterarn (if they are from east) or western countries (if they are from west).

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Eugene: Good point. I’ve changed it to “rules document” to clarify.

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

Thank you!! Please … I hope that Sweden does not win for the coming 10 years. I hate changes they make.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

A small point, although the start times are printed on the rules, the start times do not form any part of the actual rules.

SVT need to remember this is ESC, not Melfest, they obviously seem to get the two confused.

sarah
Guest
sarah

good svt trying to control eurovision good that the ebu took a stand. if the time was a problem the countries wouldnt of joined in the first place. 7pm for me would be way to early.