RUSSIA- A historic low is expected in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest viewing rates as Russia is now out of the competition and also from the broadcasting of the three shows. Up to recent years a country not broadcasting the event was not eligible for participating next year but the rule doesn’t exist anymore.
15 million viewers seems to be the share of the Russian audience in the viewing rates in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest according to local media (for all three shows). EBU also estimated based on reports that the three 2016 Eurovision shows reached 204 million viewers.
The loss of those 15 million Russians (European Russia audience 12,5 million, 2,5 Asian Russia audience) could also have another effect: Russians in Europe might skip watching the contest as well. Russian media estimate that another 15 million viewers will be lost (not sure though if 15 million Russians are in the rest of Europe). In any case a huge loss for the Eurovision event.
Depending on your perspective, Russia has either withdrawn from Eurovision 2017 or been forcibly ejected. Regardless of your take, there’s a new question on the horizon: Which countries benefit the most from Russia’s absence? The path is now clear for another country to make it out of Semi-Final 2. And the incredibly large Russian diaspora vote is now up for grabs. Let’s take a look at this new dimension to the contest.
In the meantime watching out the voting patterns of Russia, we see that Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia are getting high points from mama-Russia usually plus the Russian diaspora votes to these countries. Russia was getting an average of 7.62 points from those countries since 2010 with a peak of 11.1 points in 2016 when Sergey Lazarev participated. The lowest was 5.3 points in 2011 when Alex Sparrow represented Russia.
Those eleven countries usually are estimated to give to Russia more than 8 points (55% chances based on voting trends of those 11 countries) with Belarus being the friendliest voter to Russia.
Now that Russia is out of the picture the second semi final, it seems that Bulgaria, currently second in the betting odds and topping many polls could get the Russian votes. After all Kristian Kostov is half Russian. Belarus could also get diaspora voting from the Russians living in Europe as it’s the satellite nation to Russia.