This weekend, the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest concluded their second visit to Belgrade, host city of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Host Broadcaster RTS hosted the meeting at the Belgrade Continental Hotel, also the main official hotel for the upcoming contest.
"This might be the most important Reference Group meeting since 2003, when the new format featuring one Semi-Final was accepted," Svante STOCKSELIUS, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said. The Reference Group is the governing body of the song contest, representing the Members of the EBU.
Belgrade 2008 theme art
During the two-day meeting, Host Broadcaster RTS updated the Reference Group about their progress, recent developments and plans for the upcoming contest. One of the topics discussed was the theme art for Belgrade 2008. Executive Producer of the upcoming contest, Ms. Sandra SUSA, presented a restyled version of their initial proposal, which won the local design competition RTS organized. The Reference Group gave RTS new feedback and a final decision is expected to made before the end of the year.
The official website of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest will be launched on the 15th of January. The website is a production of the Interactive Unit of Eurovision TV, the TV department of the EBU. Host Broadcaster RTS and the EBU will cooperate on the production of the website. As in previous years, the Eurovision Song Contest as well as its Semi-Finals will be streamed live on the web.
Further format changes proposed
During the meetings, the Reference Group discussed a proposal to hold the first part of the draw late January, to decide which country takes part in which Semi-Final. The countries would be drawn from pots. Traditionally, the actual running order would then be drawn in March at the Heads of Delegation meeting in Belgrade. The group also proposed to hold the two Semi-Finals of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest on separate days, respectively Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd of May. This Friday, the Reference Group will forward its plans to the EBU’s TV Committee in Geneva for final approval.
As soon as approved by the TV Committee, Eurovision.tv will update you on all details regarding changes in the format of the Eurovision Song Contest.