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Sweden's Eurovision head warns over competition costs

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By Monika Papadatou
Sweden's Eurovision head warns over competition costs

<p><i>[This interview was conducted before Sweden’s Mans Zemerlow won the 2015 Eurovision]</i></p> <p>The Eurovision song contest has grown unweildy to the point that winning can become a “burden”, according to one of the most experienced members of the setup.</p> <p>Christer Björkman, currently head of the Swedish delegation has been involved in the competition since 1992. He gave Euronews a frank appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses. </p> <p>“Eurovision is all about Building Bridges, to get to know each others’ cultures. It has grown a lot, it has become huge, from 22 countries to 40 entries! When it comes to entertainment, it is the biggest event in the world”, he said.</p> <p>As Vienna has attracted thousands of visitors these days, Christer Björkman absolutely feels that Eurovision is like Olympic Games: “It is built upon the same idea and aims to overcome differences. As the friendly and peaceful games, we have entertainment, fun and easy-going shows”.</p> <p>Despite the fact that everybody wants to win, “Eurovision becomes so expensive, it is a burden to win at times”. As Eurovision Reference Group member, he states that the problem is that “it costs a lot of money and we really should size it down a little bit, because we put a lot of pressure on the host broadcaster”.</p> <p><iframe width="606" height="341" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/POees49kg2A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Sharing thoughts on how people is motivated to watch the Contest, Mr. Björkman believes that countries need to have a good national selection pre-show. Sweden has the most-watched national selection show, the very popular so-called “Melodifestivalen”, with people attending every year from all over the world. “I would not sell the format, but I would gladly help out if somebody wants to do it”.</p> <p>“For a song to become a hit it has to be updated and you should have a good artist and a unique act. It is the package that wins”.</p> <p>And of course the trump card of Eurovision is its broad appeal: “The target group is everyone. It address to all generations, it has become a social think, as it is watched in groups”.</p> <h3>Christer Björkman</h3> <p>Starting as a viewer in 1967, Björkman represented Sweden as a singer in 1992, he is a TV- presenter, and since 2002 he was in charge of the Swedish acts. He now works as Head of the Swedish Delegation and is an elected Eurovision Reference Group member</p>