Support ESC Insight on Patreon

How Our Patreon Supported ESC Insight During Eurovision 2018 Written by on May 29, 2018

As 2018 started, ESC Insight launched a crowdfunding campaign to offer our community an option to support the site as we covered this year’s Song Contest. Ewan Spence talks about how you all helped make Lisbon 2018 a Contest to remember.

As our crowdfunding pages were launched (at we emphasised that ESC Insight was in good health, and that everything was under control. As the off-season looms, that remains the case. We’re not in desperate need of funding, and ESC Insight is all set to cover the 2018/19 season.

But Patreon was able to offer our community an exciting and voluntary way to support the site. We want to be as transparent as possible, so this is how our community helped us cover the season.

Keeping The Lights On

Insight’s hosting costs are generally paid a year in advance, so even as Patreon launched, our hosting package was already in place through to February 2019. Our first milestone was raising enough support to be able to buy another year of hosting in advance. On reaching that goal, we were able to extend our annual IT support contract with Ross Barber and Electric Kiwi, which includes a commitment to keeping the website code up to date, maintaining regular backups, running our cloud-based audio archive, and being on call when we start getting database errors in Lisbon!

From a back-end point of view, ESC Insight is now good until 2020.

National Finals

For various reasons, ESC Insight did not cover as many National Finals ‘on the ground’ as in previous years, but we made an effort to cover Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix (including a very special ‘docu-podcast’ of Ellie’s transformative time in Olso). A number of expenses incurred by the team were covered by the Patreon supporters.

The sound bounces all around the Oslo Spektrum (Photo: Ben Robertson)

Lisbon’s Pineapples

On the ground in Lisbon, Patreon supporters helped us in a few ways. We were able to help out a little with living costs and expenses for the Insight writers on the ground and those doing sub-editing back at home away from the bustle of the Press Centre. We did have a team night out to enjoy the Lisbon food…. and how could we have a live recording from the Ilse de Bezençon Customs Desk without some Patreon Pineapples?

Eurovision Castaways Live (image: Lisa-Jayne Lewis)

Eurovision Castaways Live (image: Lisa-Jayne Lewis)

What Next?

Insight will not be disappearing over the summer ‘off-season’ period. We always listen to your feedback (as this article is posted our Reader Survey for 2018 is still open for submissions), so we’re delighted to confirm that Ellie’s ‘Eurovision Castaways’ podcast series will be with you right through to September 1st. We’ll also be running a new series from guest writer Marcus Keppel-Palmer looking back at some of the unsung heroes from Eurovision’s history.

We’ll also take the time to look back over your replies to our Reader Survey, listen back to all our podcasts and re-read all our contest, and decide where we need to improve for the 2018/19 season… plus we’ll dip into Eurovision Young Musicians in Edinburgh, and continue our detailed coverage of Junior Eurovision in Minsk.

A Word About Our Rewards

We’ll be sending out a double sized ‘physical rewards’ package during June to all of our higher tier supporters, but I do want to say a little note about the extra Patreon content, because it has not been as extensive as promised when the crowd funding rewards were set in December.

ESC Insight is run by volunteers, and that means real life can get in the way. This year real life caught up with Insight in a big way when Ewan was diagnosed with Epilepsy in late January (more on that here and here). That led to a reshuffling of duties during both the National Final season and our time on the ground in Lisbon, which had a knock-on effect on the content that was planned for Patreon.

In short, we decided to prioritise the content on ESC Insight, but we failed to communicate that clearly enough to our supporters on Patreon.

We’re in a better place to understand what’s needed now, and we shall do better on this over the summer ‘off-season’ and during the rest of 2018.

Final Words

To re-iterate once more, ESC Insight is not going anywhere. We’ve just completed a successful season in Lisbon 2018, we are planning out the next year, and the basic running costs of the website are covered.

At the same time, we don’t hide that covering the Contest is an expensive thing to do. While everyone loves free content, the content isn’t free to make. Our community can help in many ways – interacting with us, leaving comments, sharing on Facebook and Twitter, leaving reviews in iTunes and other podcast directories, these are all incredibly helpful.

But if you want to support us, then a monthly donation through Patreon is one option – and for those of you who would prefer to make a one-off payment, we’re going to work out the best way to do that during June and let you know.

Our Patreon page can be found at, please go there for more details on what Patreon means to us, the reward levels offered, and how to sign up.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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ESC Insight's Patreon page is now live; click here to see what it's all about, and how you can get involved and directly support our coverage of your Eurovision Song Contest.

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