It’s no secret that Malta‘s Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) put a lot of money into their entry for Eurovision 2016, determined that Ira Losco would finally get Malta’s first win. But that didn’t happen, and with details of the spending leaking, people aren’t happy.

The Times of Malta received leaked documents purporting to reveal Malta’s expenses for Eurovision 2016. A source told the Times that the cost of the hotel and flights alone totalled €108,264 — an amount that Malta would have normally spent on the entire competition in previous years.

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Ira Losco’s projection coat was abandoned after first rehearsals

PBS chairman Tonio Portughese told the Times of Malta that the leaked amounts were incorrect, with the broadcaster’s CEO saying the actual costs were in fact lower. However, the broadcaster would not reveal the actual expenses, and a request the newspaper made under Malta’s Freedom of Information Act was rejected.

The leaked documents showed expenses over €200,000, but this did not include the Maltese Eurovision preview party, and travel and accommodation for Ira Losco and her team on their promotional tour, which included stops in Amsterdam, Riga, Moscow and London. The newspaper also revealed that the broadcaster footed the bill for travel and accommodation for singers and delegations from other countries to travel to Malta “as part of the lobbying system”.

Not included in the leaked document is the hologram coat designed by Alex Zabotto-Bentley estimated to cost €80,000, and the pricey digital projection system.

This staging element was heavily promoted but eventually dropped from the performance after it did not function as expected.

The Times earlier reported that the Maltese Eurovision 2016 campaign had been given a “limitless” budget in order to increase Ira Losco’s chances of winning in Stockholm.

It reported one estimate that PBS had spent “at least double” what Malta normally spends, with one source estimating the broadcaster had spent well over €1 million on the bid.

PBS CEO and Maltese Head of Delegation Anton Attard told the Times of Malta the expenses were covered by advertising and sponsorships, and that PBS had made an “overall profit”.

The high spending has drawn criticism in Malta, with the Archbishop of Malta Mgr Charles Scicluna reportedly speaking out against the spending.

For contrast, in 2012 Irish broadcaster RTÉ revealed that its costs for pricey Baku came in at only €254,000, and that they had paid even less in 2011 when Ireland placed 8th – proof that a good result can come on a relatively low budget.

But in the end, all the spending couldn’t secure a win for Malta. “Walk on Water” was a favourite with juries, but prompted televotes from only three countries. This gave Malta the overall result of 12th place, sending them back to the drawing board for 2017.

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CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

I know I’m (once again) late for the party; but if you have seen my analyses peppered all over the reviews, I figured “Walk On Water” for 20th (I still thought “Chameleon” was a better fit for her) before the contest; and in scoring the performances in the contest, I had her barely missing the final. I ultimately graded her 18th in the Grand Final. I didn’t think the stage setting fit the song. With an up-tempo song like this, I thought she’d be surrounded by a bunch of dancers. On top of that, I believe she wanted to do… Read more »

tatikka
tatikka
5 years ago

The funniest (or, the most sad) thing is that what they get with this money was a completely incoherent stage performance that had nothing to do with the song. A friend with whom I was watching the show asked why’s that dancer staying on his head; I was wondering what’s the point of that giant face at the beginning; a fellow ESC fan told the backdrop reminder her of a urinal, etc. Or, actually, I’m not that sure if the song had much point either: “I can’t get enough of your love, ‘cause I feel like I can walk on… Read more »

Steve
Steve
5 years ago

I still think this was the best song this year so far. I really liked the song, and no, I’m not from Malta 🙂 I’m from Germany.

Marcus (day one)
Marcus (day one)
5 years ago

Talk about double standards. Chiara got the best result for Malta and then bested Ira’s result by getting more points than she did. When she returned in 2009 it was like nothing to PBS and she let Malta return to the final. Ira came 2nd with a song that she sung pitchy. (listen to the performance) Ira’s voice is a lot better and this year PBS clearly wanted her to win but spent a load of money on a selection (although it was clearly smaller than previous years) just so they could spend a load of money on another internal… Read more »

SummerWine=Plum
SummerWine=Plum
5 years ago

@karminowe.usta
You definitely cannot judge if Russia is a rich country or not and I don’t know where the Bosnia and Herzegovina representative has taken the info from.
What I can tell you for sure is that the expensive Russian entry was not financed out of the country budget. We have artists who can afford it.

Axie
Axie
5 years ago

all of this spending for… THAT performance? lol malta

Jonas
Jonas
5 years ago

Well, Robyn, you say that, but Iceland has been waiting 30 years and Malta have tried almost as many times. Portugal could surprise us next year and swoop the title before them. In reality, or at least in theory, every country starts each year with an equal chance. That’s the beauty!

sonic0201
sonic0201
5 years ago

– Malta spends tons of money for ESC 2016.
– Malta does well in the jury voting.
hmmm, that’s interesting

Such a big power in such a small country. Good job from the televoters not voting for Malta.

#Justice4Margaret
#Justice4Margaret
5 years ago

Those high ass jury votes for such a mediocre song were fishy af.

mawnck
mawnck
5 years ago

Feel like I can walk on water
On water, On water
And now i’m gonna walk on
water On water on water
Feel like I can walk on water
On water, On water
And now i’m gonna walk on
water On water on water
Feel like I can walk on water
On water, On water
And now i’m gonna walk on
water On water on water

(Repeat 274,193 times)

Gee, I wonder what could have possibly gone wrong?

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

@ESCFan

Yeah, thank you 🙂

Stan
Stan
5 years ago

Nice budget 😉

I wasn’t a fan of the song, too generic. But well performed. I think the average placing was justified. The jury vote too high, televote too low… Lobbying can only do so much. The most visible acts in the promotour (Malta, Israel…), only got an average result. It comes down to 3 minutes, and most of the budget should go to those!

Alex
Alex
5 years ago

I understand why Malta’s entry flopped so hard in televoting. Boring performance, Ira looked like a drag queen impersonating Mariah Carey and the background was very dark. They paid €80,000 for a staging element that they dropped in the rehearsals! LOL didn’t they rehearse at home? This is so NOT professional! PBS needs to understand that spending a lot of money does not guarantee a victory or even a good result. Malta had potential but the staging was very boring and Ira looked bloated (yes she was pregnant but i have to be honest). She visited Armenia and Azerbaijan and… Read more »

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

@ESC Greece – Thank you so much. We reciprocate the love to your very beautiful country <3 We're both gonna enjoy the sun 😀

Marc
Marc
5 years ago

Nobody in Europe liked “Walk on water”, Malta got points from Azerbaijan and Armenia for the reasons we all know.. and that’s it.
Ira was ranked in almost all countries under 20..
And Walk on water didin’t manage to chart in any country.. that’s also very telling.
Malta usually tries to be like Sweden and wants to send poppy generic eurovision songs that always fail with the audience.. that’s the big problem of Malta.
And, when they go with something simple, catchy, cheerful, with charisma like Gianluca and Tomorrow, Europe just love it and vote for Malta.

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

@ESCFan

You’re welcome and I think the same 🙂
Lots of love from beautiful Greece to beautiful Malta <3<3<3

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

@Robyn Gallagher Gallagher : I agree with you I think for Malta to win, the win would have to be a surprise. I think we need to find the niche to win . I just hope we can win lol we love the ESC so much 🙁 I agree also they need to let the public decide. I mean I still vote but I want my vote to matter 🙁 @ESC Greece: Yes second win for JESC 🙂 Thank you for the support 🙂 Next November will be the first time from different sites in Malta. Let’s see how this… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
5 years ago

Send Chiara again!

She came second with simple (and probabably) inexpensive staging.

It’s still amazing how many broadcasters seem to forget that the absolute most important thing for achieving a good result is the song itself. They focus on the act, the staging, the promotion – but it’s all for nothing if you don’t have the basic fundamentals. The fortune that the Maltese delegation spent on this years act could have been pumped back into a songwriting programme in schools or something – plant the acorn and one day a giant oak will grow.

mad_hat
mad_hat
5 years ago

I am Maltese and I’m not disappointed to see our broadcaster spending money to promote our country. Eurovision is the only thing Malta can participate and do well in anyway in any sort of international competition worldwide, sports included. I do believe that with Ira’s popularity and lots of endorsements with huge companies such as BMW, McDonalds, Guess, Ipanema helped with the cashflow quite a bit. In fact the HoD had stated in a local programme that it was due to these sponsors that Malta had quite hefty sum to spend this year. HOWEVER, it is sad to see that… Read more »

YoungsterJoey
YoungsterJoey
5 years ago

Christabelle win bring the win for Malta.

Darren
Darren
5 years ago


That’s very true! They did, but it also probably helped hosting JESC in Sofia and having Poli present it, but yes, that is a great example of having success on a budget. Hopefully that works out for Malta and that they don’t go the way of Ireland.

Darren
Darren
5 years ago

This used to always be an issue with Ireland too, after 2013, our last qualification funnily enough, everyone was giving out about the money that is spent do RTE reduced the budget and since then we have never qualified and a reduction in budget is part of the blame. It just goes to show that Eurovision has changed and in order to put on a good show and get a decent result, money needs to be spent. I hope Malta don’t go down this route of cutting the budget, because that leads to staging, Song and singer being stripped to… Read more »

DenizNL
DenizNL
5 years ago

Jury’s really did their work great. If they weren’t there, they would have nearly come last.

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

Gallagher

Interesting… let’s see if the juries will support them next year too 🙂

@ESCFan

Don’t worry, you are going to win someday. You have won Junior Eurovision twice (correct me if I’m wrong) and you came very close in 2002 and in 2005. And remember that these years the voting system was 100% televote. Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us in November 🙂

karminowe.usta
karminowe.usta
5 years ago

@Maclaren

If Malta was over 1 million Euros, then what was the final bill for Russia?

Man who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in this year told that Russia paid over a dozen millions euro (17,5 mln euro). In my opinion Russian entry was expensive but not so such. Russia is rich country and can pay a lot of money to performance:)

http://eurowizja.org/?p=14757

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

Gallagher: Isn’t that the game. All countries do that. And I am not saying this because I am Maltese I am saying this because it is a fact. I think that if there are countries that do that better is countries which can do it better. What do Maltese do to do it better.

Anabela SakamTe
Anabela SakamTe
5 years ago

Well they didn’t even deserve to be in Top 15 to be honest. Did they really expect to win it all? LOL!

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

@ESC Greece I am with you on that. It did not stand out one inch… Staging is key and Malta disappointed in staging for me as well. The juries are much fairer after all the song was really good. Yes 2013 was a really rare instance of that but it was the only one 🙁 I’d like to think that things will be different for Malta but it will remain a small country with no neighbours 🙁 Pity we want to win so bad …

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

@Denis

Exactly.

Denis
Denis
5 years ago

I’m not surprised it did well with the jury. These kind of soul inspired MOR entries always does well with the jury.
But the end result wasn’t that good. All that hype for nothing. It was a good song but it didn’t stand out one bit. Which is why it flopped.

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

@ESCFan

Well, I agree with you but remember in 2013. Malta was 8th with the televote because their entry stood out. That’s what you need at Eurovision: an entry that will stand out in a good way. Unfortunately, “Walk On Water” didn’t. I think the juries are fairer than the televote too but if the public loves a song, then they will vote for it anyway.

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

Actually Malta is always underrated in the televoters. The juries know how to pick music irrespective of country not like televoters. Come on 16 points…

Adam
Adam
5 years ago

Let’s try to be positive.

This is a step in the right direction. Malta may not send the best songs but at least their broadcaster TRIES and goes the extra mile for their participant. Many other broadcasters should take note.

ESC Greece
ESC Greece
5 years ago

I’m not surprised that they didn’t do well with the televote, the song didn’t stand out at all. What is surprising to me though, is that Malta does so good with the juries every single year. Actually, they are always in the top 10 of the Semi-Final with the juries! That’s weird…

Cutie
Cutie
5 years ago

I never thought Malta wanted to win that badly… I mean wow they’d have to build a stadium from scratch and everything.

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

This is so confusing. TVM.com.mt published earlier that all funds were paid from advertisements. Take a read:

http://www.tvm.com.mt/en/news/pbs-registers-120-increase-in-advertising-income-through-iras-participation-in-eurovision/

ESCFan
ESCFan
5 years ago

As a Maltese I feel sad 🙁 Malta thought that sending Ira was going to bring the eurovision home. About those saying that people voting wasted money it is worth pointing out that the Maltese, sadly, voted themselves for the singer. I did not vote for Ira because I thought there were better staged songs but I know per fact they voted for the singer. Ira is hugely popular in Malta so anyone against her in televoting knew there was really NO competition. Also the money that was gained from votes for Chameleon was given to a voluntary movement in… Read more »

oooops
oooops
5 years ago

Plus they did stage a national final just to ditch the winning song. “Walk on water” is still better than “Chameleon” to me, but I am sad for the maltese voters who spend their money to see “Chameleon” in Stockholm. The same with belarusian voters in 2013 and 2012, and romanian voters 2016.

Malta should think of internal selection next year, no waste of money to have a national final.

Maclaren
Maclaren
5 years ago

If Malta was over 1 million Euros, then what was the final bill for Russia?