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The News From The EBU Press Conference Written by on December 9, 2022

On Thursday 8th December the EBU and host broadcaster ARMTV held a press conference at Junior Eurovision 2022. Ben Robertson attended the press conference and summarises all the answers.

The European Broadcasting Union and host broadcaster ARMTV held a press conference at Junior Eurovision on Thursday 8th December. Here we outline some of the comments made by Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of Junior Eurovision and Hovhannes Movsisyan, Executive Director of Armenian Public Television.

It can be watched in full from the video below.

Martin Österdahl

Martin Österdahl introduced the press conference by commenting on how Junior Eurovision has “bloomed after its growing pains” as it reaches the 20th anniversary. Not only does Martin believe that the talents in the competition have increased in quality, both distribution and reach of the show are on an upward trajectory, with more broadcasters taking the show on their major channels. Furthermore he believe that the production quality also improves this year.

On the production note Martin expressed that he was “delighted with our partners in Armenia”. He noted that Monday’s Opening Ceremony “was a new milestone” and he had been “blown away by the creativity shown.” He also had the chance for the first ever time at a Eurovision event to take part in the social programme which he described as “outstanding”.

“I think what I can say from the 16 delegations is that everyone is taken aback by not only the quality of the organisation and the infrastructure in the venue which is world class but also the warm welcome and hospitality that has been shown.

“We travel around Europe and do these shows each year. This lives up to all expectations and in some ways exceeds all expectations.”

When asked if more countries could take part in Junior Eurovision in the future Martin was positive about this possibility, and there is a “dialogue with some countries in northern Europe” taking place. One interesting discussion point in the next calendar year is set to be the start time for Junior Eurovision, with Martin pointing out that there is a constant discussion between those who broadcast in the entertainment department contrasting with those broadcasting on children’s channels. The timing, and also the choice of a Saturday or Sunday broadcast, will be discussed at the Steering Group for Junior Eurovision.

Martin Österdahl was asked about the possibility of the Junior Eurovision winner performing in Liverpool. He answered that the Eurovision Song Contest is governed by a different board, and currently exactly how JESC will feature is yet to be decided.

“We want to acknowledge JESC at the Eurovision Song Contest but we haven’t gone as far as having a performance. We are not ruling it out but ESC is a crowded space.”

There is still no requirement for the winner of Junior Eurovision to host the contest the next year, with Martin Österdahl explaining that “we are not at that level of maturity yet to make hosting automatic. Normally we have a conversation with the winning country and other broadcasters to find the best solution.”

Finally Martin Österdahl was asked about the possibility of re-releasing the winning songs of Junior Eurovision that will be performed on Sunday, using the new voices of the matured artists. Martin will speak to Universal Music about the possibility of doing this.

Hovhannes Movsisyan

Hovhannes started the press conference by expressing gratitude in the support from the EBU as their partner in this production, outlining how “we agreed with European partners to work as one team.”

The finances for the most expensive Junior Eurovision in history were up for discussion. Hovhannes explained that government approval was received after the broadcaster expressed their willingness to host. One of the reasons for the huge budget costs was that numerous specialists have been brought into the organisation from other European countries.

“The 20th anniversary of Junior Eurovision should be celebrated. Junior Eurovision this year needed to be different. This is an opportunity for Armenia to host large events on a big scale. This is very important.

“A detailed breakdown of the money has been prepared. A lot of equipment, lights, LED screens, stage, technical sections, video equipment has been rented and imported. Just here  [in the arena] alone we spent half of our budget. We also had significant spending at the Opening Ceremony and also at the metro system [the social programme for artists was held within the metro system]. The specialists not from Armenia have experience with Eurovision, and this experience was needed for us.”

One notable such specialist is Marvin Dietmann, who was stage director for Eurovision in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Hovhannes was also asked about the interval act of previous Junior Eurovision winners. There are 11 out of the 19 previous winners set to take part on Sunday’s show with a choir of young people performing the remaining entries. However some acts, namely those who represented Russia and Belarus previously, have claimed on social media that they were never invited. Hovhannes clearly stated that the host broadcaster invited all previous winners to Junior Eurovision this year, and the team publicly declared this after this speculation emerged. He then used this opportunity at the press conference to “reiterate the invitation”.

On answering the question about the selection of hosts, Hovhannes explained that a “casting process” was used to select them. Amongst the criteria was a “number of standards”, which included the host’s language ability and how recognisable the host’s are to the international audience. The hosts for this year’s Junior Eurovision are Iveta Mukuchyan, Garik Papoyan and Karina Ignatyan, as well as Robin the Robot, an Armenian made product which Hovhannes hopes will “show Armenian technological potential”.

To end the press conference Hovhannes had an important message for Armenian fans watching. Ticketing. He explained that the tickets were sold in waves to make it possible for foreign guests to buy, and sadly there has been more demand for seats than tickets available for the two shows (jury final on Saturday, live show on Sunday). This high demand was one of the reasons so much effort was put into the Opening Ceremony so more people could attend.

The reason for discussing ticketing was that there had been reports of fake tickets being sold on unofficial websites, and Hovhannes warns fans in Armenia not to be tempted to buy these on the black market.

“Message to all Armenians, only tickets bought directly can be guaranteed for entry. I will ask you to buy from us, ok there are no more tickets, we do not encourage you to buy through reselling sights. The EBU is not liable for this.”

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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