Loreen of Sweden performs her winning song, Euphoria, at last year's Eurovision. Photo: Reuters
Eurovision loses voices
THREE countries have pulled out of this year's Eurovision Song Contest, citing economic pressure as the cause. Public broadcasters RTP (from Portugal), STV (Slovakia) and BHRT (Bosnia and Herzegovina) have flagged to the contest's organising body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), that they will be unable to attend the contest, slated for Malmo, Sweden, in May. A spokesman for the EBU said the body was looking at ways of reducing costs. A fourth broadcaster, Turkey's TRT, is also saying it will not attend, blaming rule changes. Thirty-nine countries have confirmed their attendance at the contest.
IT MAY be the non-ratings period, but that didn't stop the Nine Network from scoring a big win on New Year's Eve with its television coverage of the Sydney Harbour fireworks display. An extraordinary 859,000 people in Sydney - about one-fifth of the city's population - stayed indoors to watch the fireworks on TV. The segment from midnight to 12.15am drew a national audience of 1,722,000 viewers in Australia's five mainland state capitals. The city-by-city breakdowns were Sydney (859,000 viewers), Melbourne (318,000), Brisbane (289,000), Adelaide (152,000) and Perth (104,000). Hosted by Catriona Rowntree and Jason Dundas, the coverage featured Sydney NYE 2012's ''creative ambassador'' Kylie Minogue, plus performances from The X Factor's Reece Mastin and The Voice's Darren Percival.
Mockingbird don't sing
THE reboot of iconic 1960s comedy The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane, has been abandoned. The project was in development at the US network NBC under producer Bryan Fuller and starred Australian actor Portia de Rossi. The pilot was aired in the US as a Halloween stunt, drawing 5.4 million viewers, but NBC was not moved by the numbers. ''I tweet with a heavy heart,'' Fuller wrote last week on Twitter. ''NBC not moving forward with Mockingbird Lane. From producers and cast, thank you all for enthusiasm and support.''
Streaming services help TV
NETFLIX comes not to kill television, but to save it. That was the conclusion from a new report that suggests services such as Netflix will actually push down online piracy. The rise of so-called OTT services - that is, ''over the top'', which means services that deliver TV content over the top of traditional distributors - will lead to declines in web piracy, according to the report. Australia is one of the slowest markets to launch OTT services, the best known of which is the US platform Netflix. ''As quality content becomes available for a competitive price, people stop pirating,'' the report says.
NINE will be watching very closely the US development of a kids-themed spinoff of The Voice. It is no secret Nine is keen to capitalise on the value of TV's biggest franchise since Idol was launched, and at the moment all eyes are on Telemundo's Spanish-language Voice spinoff La Voz: Ninos (The Voice: Kids), which will launch into the US market later this year. If the format tracks well with US audiences, a number of broadcasters around the world that air the original version of the show at present would be keen to clone it. The winner of La Voz: Ninos lands a recording contract with Universal Music, plus a scholarship.