Australia: Positive Viewership Statistics From SBS’s 2017 Eurovision Broadcast

After the SBS CEO released viewership figures in Australia for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Joshua Mayne looks back at Australia’s third Eurovision Song Contest participation.

Viewing Figures

In two tweets made yesterday, Michael Ebeid, SBS’s CEO and Managing Director, revealed the viewing figures from down under for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Overall, just fewer than 3 million people tuned in across the three shows, with 541K watching the Grand Final live, and 1.1 million watching the delayed prime time broadcast of the Grand Final.

Although this falls short of the record viewership in 2015, where 4.2 million Australians viewed the program, the latest numbers are still promising. When Guy Sebastian performed as Australia’s first ever entrant at Eurovision, it’s fair to say that these very impressive ratings could be due to the “honeymoon period” of competing in the competition. To see the viewership maintain its good figures two years on from this special wildcard invitation, SBS have every right to be very pleased.

Australians are clearly getting behind their representative artist, and are enjoying the annual spectacle that Europe is putting on. At this stage, it only looks like the Eurovision Song Contest is going to continue to gain (or at least maintain) popularity down under. Especially when bigger names of established artists, like Guy Sebastian, will return to the competition.

New Hosts

This year also consisted of a change of commentators for Australia. Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey took over from the popular Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang. There was no hiding some mistakes they made live on air, but largely, impressions of the new hosting duo were positive. Myf and Joel were knowledgeable, passionate, funny and entertaining, which made for an enjoyable commentary. However, the incredible Sam & Julia were missed.

Isaiah Firebrace

The contest in Kiev witnessed another successful Eurovision entry from Australia, with Isaiah Firebrace finishing in 9th place with his song ‘Don’t Come Easy’. This maintained Australia’s record of finishing in the top ten. Guy Sebastian (5th in 2015) and Dami Im (2nd in 2016) also achieved this feat.

Although, the voting points did not exactly go the way Australia may have hoped… After receiving 171 points from the jury, Isaiah only received 2 points from the televotes! This raised many questions over why the people of Europe didn’t vote for him. Are Australia no longer wanted as part of Eurovision? Did the Ukrainian streaker (who wore an Australian flag during Jamala’s interval performance) influence the voting? Or did the song just lack appeal?

It seems fair to say that televoters took more issue in the fact that Isaiah was too young to really portray the feeling of the song “Don’t come easy”. The song is about someone who is disappointed in love many times. While juries appreciated Isaiah’s strong vocals and modern tune, televoters just did not really seem to believe him.

Nevertheless, Australia finished in a very respectable position. Now, the question is, will they be invited back to compete in Lisbon 2018…?


  1. Steef you don’t even state that Dami Im came second in 2016 for Australia after being the resounding winner of her Semi Final, and then she had the Grand Final Jury voting won by 100 points with only the 4th place in the Televoting result pulling her back to second place overall – what a magnificent achievement for Australia!
    Also the Australian viewer numbers for SBS were higher in 2016 than they were in 2015 – so why no mention of Dami at all in this article?

    • Hey Tony! Thanks for your comment 🙂 First of all, the article above is not mine, it’s Joshua’s, and I think what he has tried to do is compare the current results with the start of our participation in 2015. However I do agree with you that there can be no article about Australia’s success without the amazing Dami! 🙂

    • Hi Tony. ☺ Thank you very much for reading my article. When I mentioned Australia’s past results in the ‘Isaiah Firebrace’ section, I stated that Dami Im came 2nd. I felt that there was no need to elaborate on this point as I was primarily comparing viewing figures from this year, following on from 2015 (AKA The Honeymoon Year). Plus, we all generally know the reprocussions of Dami’s extraordinary result!

      • I also forgot to add that the viewing figures were actually considerably lower in 2016 than they were in 2015. 200,000 less people watched the live grand final, and similar trends were evident in the other delayed broadcasts. Hope this clears my article up. All the best, Joshua ☺??

  2. Thanks Steef, OK I missed that you were not the author sorry. ?

    Still I think it’s a bit unrealistic that Joshua compares our first participation with this year, as in 2015 Australia was a special “one off” with only a Frand Final performance. Our real first comparable full participation was last year as Dami had to compete in a full Semi Final to qualify for the Grand Final in the same way as Isaiah has done this year for both the results and the TV ratings for SBS.

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