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.

Bulgaria

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%.

Italy

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.

Russia

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.

russia-junior-eurovision-2009-ratings

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.

russia-junior-eurovision-2016-ratings

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.

The Netherlands

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.

ISRAEL

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.

POLAND

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

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Herr Freitag
Guest
Herr Freitag

I think that we need more Western Countries (I have nothing against Eastern Countries) since there is a bigger audience then in Eastern Countries (Due to population) – shows like The Voice Kids are very popular here in Germany for example and we need the Saturday Evening time slot since it’s prime time for families watching shows and I think you can totally do Televoting there! The problem is that many Western Countries doesn’t want to participate since there is that strong Eastern Bloc Voting to date in JESC so there is no interest! Also we need the main broadcasters… Read more »

le
Guest
le

I love jesc, but this year was just badly organized. I bet if they had taken inspiration and done jesc similarly to the 2015 jesc then it would have turned out much better. I also think that the quality of songs in general was much better last year. This year I only had one that i genuinely liked. 2015 i had like 5 favourites. Tbh they should have never let Malta host it, way too small.

EscUK
Guest
EscUK

The contest should be targeted at children/teens these days, not how they used to be at the start of JESC in 2003, they have changed and grown up

Also, broadcast it in every broadcaster who takes part in ESC and JESC

Fergy
Guest
Fergy

The fact that countries like Russia, Netherlands and Italy now show it on their own children tv channels instead of their main channel is why ratings are so low but besides that I always say if they want to increase ratings then they should host it a week or two before Christmas when its more acceptable to show childrens tv shows on a prime time hour and where more families will be watching shows related to children,

The Other James
Guest
The Other James

Rafael Vivas: The line-up of songs this year is actually one of the best and most competitive the contest has have since its inception. You are way off to say that they are otherwise.

It is only unfortunate that the actual show did not reflect that with the way Mlta handled its hosting this year.

beccaboo1212
Guest

@Rafael Vivas For your information, none of the songs were below average. In fact, I pretty much like them all! 🙂

@James Junior Eurovision is supposed to remain part of the Eurovision family for good. In fact, JESC was never boring, and therefore I decided to create a new trend in order to prevent further criticism: #WhatComesToLifeStaysAlive

Rafael Vivas
Guest
Rafael Vivas

Worst edition in all senses, a huge dropping on viewers was highly expected, due to the elimination of televote and changing the event to Sunday, a day in which almost nobody watches TV. The songs were below average, none of the 17 were spectacular of memorable, and yet the worst of them finished winning thanks to the “adults” jury. A complete contrast with the great past 4 editions.

beccaboo1212
Guest

@MTD Junior Eurovision started in 2003, and remains part of the Eurovision family to this day. The EBU will not accept “plans for JESC’s funeral” and will instead keep continuing to produce more editions of the contest for generations to come, as long as future entries have good qualify or if the previous age range returns.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Anyone who was paying attention knew the EBU were making too many drastic changes this year. Bring back the televote and return the contest to it’s evening time slot.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

But how do the broadcasters feel about these ratings? I get the impression that a lot of them weren’t always happy with having to use a prime time Saturday night time slot for a kids/family entertainment show.

JESC is always going to be more niche and have less appeal than ESC.

Essy
Guest
Essy

I think they should send the winning Country of JESC straight to the Finals in the Big ESC for an interesting twist. Maybe more Countries would be more dedicated to it if the competing country can get an advantage for the “big” show.

Rhin
Guest
Rhin

I am more jesc fan rather than esc one. So I would rather not see it end any time soon :/ comments like it being boring… James keep them for yourself. Your opinion is not the only one. As for the low viewship – it is to be expect. This year was a huge step back. The jesc was gradually shifting toward more grown up audience (2014-2015 editions). Even if the origin idea was kid’s show looking at things right now it is obvious that rather than another kid show, a kid friendly one with main adult audience would do… Read more »

James
Guest
James

JESC has always been boring, hardly anyone cares about it and it should just be scrapped and never done again.

DenizNL
Guest
DenizNL

Yeah, the time is pretty weird. It went through whole the news. Which is something quite popular in The Netherlands.

And I watched the livestream and not on the tv, so my view did not even count.

MTD
Guest
MTD

Goodbye JESC. You have been killed by Olala la Sand. 😛

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

I personally have no problem with ditching the televote because I believe the final results are better that way and I actually can’t vote, since I live in Greece. It looks like this decision had a big impact on the TV ratings though… and definitely not a positive one.

As for the time slot, I think it’s better on Saturday night.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Poland is the future of Eurovision. They’re making huge efforts and achieving great results (in televote). The audience is perched. Their victory is upon us, and I hope they achieve it with Margaret or Doda.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

This is what you get for removing the televote. Trash decision.

beccaboo1212
Guest

@Davve Junior Eurovision will NEVER get cancelled. What came to life in 2003, stays alive to this day, even if you don’t like the changes.

James
Guest
James

@Denis, if that was the case why is Young Musicians and Young Dancers still continue exist despite having a much niche audience than JESC?

Davve
Guest
Davve

I think JESC will soon be cancelled.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Does anybody actually care about JESC? Most fans choose to ignore it, for a reason: It’s not that interesting to follow.
It was never a ratings sucess. Usually you could find it bottom of the top 20 most watched programmes, even when airing on Saturday nights.
EBU does what they feel they must do in order to keep the interest up. But with fewer countries competing every year it looks unlikely the interest will be high. I give it a few more years until it vanishes..

Focus on “adult” ESC, that’s all I have to say.

D
Guest
D

All the changes to this year’s contest negatively affected the show. I don’t know what the EBU was thinking. Go back to Saturday evening, bring back televoting, make each jury a kids jury, heighten the age limit to around 12-15, and ditch the experts. I do enjoy how the results were revealed like how they were in ESC this year, but c’mon, it isn’t right to axe televoting.

Vanessa
Guest
Vanessa

Back to Saturday! Bring back the televoting!

Al
Guest
Al

Nobody cares about the contest if you can’t vote for anything. It is just like watching one of the many music channels available and the quality of the music here is not all that high with only a handful of the kids actually being there for their singing abilities. So, who would spend 2 hours to hear 4-5 good songs and listen to cliches from the presenters…not that many by the looks of it.

fikri
Guest
fikri

everything about this year’s jesc is a mess y’all. in the words of former executive supervisor vladislav– wtf, what you done to this event??!

dutchie
Guest
dutchie

I don’t think AVROTROS will be too bothered by the low viewing numbers. I have the feeling they’ve used this year as an experiment with their Youtube channel, as they have a hard time reaching the teenage audience on tv anyway. And that experiment is quite successful, with sometimes 300.000 views for their daily Junior Eurovision vlogs. The international Junior Eurovision channel can only dream of such numbers.

Jp
Guest
Jp

Back to Saturday of course, maybe just one hour earlier or so. And if televoting is too expensive, they will have to find another way to get audience involved, online voting or something. People watching must have a say too, it can’t be just 174 persons who decide about the winner like it was this year.