The 2023 iteration of the annual Eurovision Song Contest made a lasting impression on the world of music and entertainment. Breaking new ground, the United Kingdom stepped in on behalf of Ukraine, which was originally scheduled to host the contest. This added a unique touch, but what truly set this year’s production apart was how it embraced innovation.

Beyond the dazzling performances, the event stood out as a celebration of new ideas, including live streaming the ‘meet-and-greets’ with contestants on social media and expanding the reach of the BlueJeans Expo–powered online media center.

Bridging the Distance

Traditionally, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the host broadcaster have set up an on-site media center for journalists covering the event. That changed in 2021 when the contest resumed after a one-year, pandemic-related hiatus.

“We set up an online media center in Rotterdam in 2021 so that journalists who couldn’t travel because of COVID could access the events,” says Dave Goodman, Digital and Communications Manager of the EBU’s Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Building on this success, the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 partnered with BlueJeans by Verizon to implement the virtual event management platform BlueJeans Expo. The EBU and host broadcaster, the BBC, aimed to expand the contest’s global reach by again providing an online media center and live streaming the meet-and-greets, where participating artists could be interviewed ahead of the live shows.

According to Goodman, “We knew from the demonstration of the BlueJeans platform that it could deliver by cloud the functionality needed for the event, which was primarily to allow journalists who weren’t in the host city to cover the contest.”

Expanding Media Reach

With the BlueJeans Expo–powered online media center at their disposal, more than 1,300 media representatives from over 50 countries could access the event’s rehearsals, live shows, and media conferences. The live sessions broadcast via the media center captured an impressive 13,000 views over 11 days, helping to expand Eurovision’s global reach.

Indeed, this year’s contest saw a notable increase in media exposure. Across a three-week period, more than 152,000 articles were written about the event, representing a rise of around 28% from last year and about 66% from 2021.

“That was a very positive outcome for us,” remarks Goodman. “By providing online coverage of sessions like dress rehearsals, we increased publicity and reduced the need for accommodating a large number of on-site journalists, which is costly for the host broadcaster. This also helped contribute to the sustainability of the event.”

Creating an Inclusive Space

One of the most praiseworthy aspects of the online media center was its inclusive nature. Journalists who joined media conferences remotely had the same opportunities as those attending in person. Through the Q&A capability of BlueJeans Studio, remote journalists could submit questions, providing more opportunities for interaction and involvement.

Goodman credits BlueJeans’ user-friendly interface for helping journalists optimize their use of the online media center. “It provided an intuitive platform for journalists, and we were very pleased with that,” he says.

“And it wasn’t just journalists who found it valuable. It was also useful for delegations of participating countries to follow what was happening at the arena if they weren’t on-site that day.”

By adopting an event management platform that caters to both virtual and on-site users, the online media center attracted more than 62,000 page views of various content such as artist profiles and on-demand interviews.

Reaching and Engaging Fans Like Never Before

For the first time ever, the meet-and-greets were live streamed on the popular social media platform TikTok, bringing Eurovision artists closer to their fans.

This novel approach was made possible by a partnership between BlueJeans and Sparq Live. The event production firm filmed each of the interviews with the 37 Eurovision artists in a studio and then live streamed them on TikTok.

“By leveraging Sparq’s expertise in live, broadcast-quality event production, we successfully facilitated real-time conversations and global fan engagement with the acts,” says Sparq’s Joint Managing Director, Elliott Moores.

“That immersive experience built an atmosphere and emotional connection ahead of the live shows on a scale never seen before.”

Apart from watching the interviews, fans also had the chance to interact with their favorite Eurovision contestants by asking questions through TikTok. This expanded reach enabled the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest to amass a staggering 500,000 views on the social media platform.

“BlueJeans helped us make that happen,” says Goodman.

In a thrilling finale to this year’s contest, Loreen from Sweden emerged victorious with her enchanting song “Tattoo”.

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