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Can’t Open Up: SBS Gives Up On Eurovision Asia, Declares The Effort Too “Hard”

SBS has ceased planning of the Eurovision Asia Song Contest, TV Tonight reports.

The project, announced in 2016 with SBS and Australia’s Blink TV as development partners, has dwindled in activity since the initial announcement. Now, SBS says they have “rescinded” their rights to producing the Contest.

“We tried so hard but that was one that we just could never quite pin down,” SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin said.

“It’s kind of like any TV show. You put a lot of things into development, and not all of them get up. So that was one that we could not, for whatever reason, make work.”

The EBU has not yet commented on SBS’ statement.

New Zealand’s TVNZ expressed interest in participating in Eurovision Asia, and held early planning talks with their Australian counterparts.

In 2018, Blink TV received an investment from Village Roadshow for a 50% ownership stake. At the time, we understood that the change in ownership structure led to delays in the planning process for the Contest, as staff from Village Roadshow were moved in to assist with the ongoing development of various Blink TV series and formats, including Eurovision Asia.

Announcing the investment, Blink TV’s Paul Clarke said that their “big vision” was Eurovision Asia.

“Roadshow is an Australian entertainment success story, a company with enormous integrity, capable of working at the highest level in international film and television,” Clarke said.

“We are delighted to be partnering with them. Our big vision is to bring the Eurovision brand to Asia, with the support of SBS and the EBU. And Roadshow has a strong track record of successfully releasing entertainment projects through Northern Asia.”

Now, it would seem that hopefulness has turned into delays which have turned into cancellations. Blink TV declined to speak to TV Tonight.

SBS added that “Eurovision Asia is difficult for a number of reasons: timezones, language barriers, all sorts of issues”, despite the fact that Europe consists a multiple of all of those things, too.

Nevertheless, a new effort for a continental competition by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the ABU Song Contest, was due to have its inaugural edition in China last year, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ABU still intends to hold the ABU Song Contest, but has not revealed when planning for the first edition would resume.

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