Eurovision Song Contest Draws Almost 200 Million Viewers

Mans Zelmerlow
AP Photo/Ronald Zak

Mans Zelmerlow representing Sweden celebrates after winning the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria's capital Vienna, Sunday, May 24, 2015.

Sweden may have been the winner of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, the annual competition billed as the world’s largest nonsporting TV event, but it seems the main victors were the broadcasters airing it.

The last three episodes — two semifinals and the Grand Final — that aired from Vienna on May 19, May 21 and May 23 collectively reached 197 million people across 40 countries, according to figures released Wednesday, 2 million more than 2014’s competition. The audience data is based on people who tuned in for at least one minute. The final captured an audience share of 39.6 percent across markets, a 6 percent increase over last year.

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Younger audiences came out in force. On average, 44.8 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds watching TV in the 40 countries saw the final, 8 percent above the 2014 figure and "more than four times the average primetime viewing share of young adults for the same group of channels (11.1 percent)," according to the European Broadcasting Union, the alliance of public service media operators that produces the event.

“We are immensely proud that in its 60th year the Eurovision Song Contest has, once again, proved essential viewing for nearly 200 million people around the world,” said Ingrid Deltenre, director general of the European Broadcasting Union.

Of individual countries, Iceland delivered the largest viewing share, despite not even making it out of the semifinals. Of those watching TV in the country, 95.5 percent tuned in to watch the grand final. Sweden, the winner with the song “Heroes” by Mans Zelmerlow, had the second-highest share with 86.5 percent of viewers.

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In Australia, which had its Eurovision debut as a wild-card entry, 5.7 million watched the show across both live broadcasts and primetime repeats.

Host country Austria saw its largest TV audience of the last decade for the final as 1.7 million people tuned in, accounting for a share of 59.9 percent of TV viewing.

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