The 2013 organisers press conference
The very first conference to be held in the newly opened press centre was for the organisers of the 2013 contest, and representatives of the EBU, SVT and the city of Malmö took questions from the assembled journalists and fans.
On stage at the press conference were Jon Ola Sand (Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest), Sietse Bakker (Event Supervisor), Martin Österdahl (Executive Producer 2013), Christer Björkman (Show Producer 2013), Christel Tholse Willers (Head of Relations 2013) and Karin Karlsson (Project Manager Malmö city).
Most of the questions and answers that were exchanged revolved around thr running order decisions, and clarifications on elements of the voting procedure.
Jon Ola Sand stressed that the decision on deciding the running order was made by the Reference Group, and not by SVT, and approved by the television committee of the EBU, to make it a perfect television show and to give very song the opportunity to shine.
Similarly the changes to the rehearsal schedule came about after feedback from various delegations, and to reduce time and costs, and that even having reduced the rehearsal time by one day has made a significant benefit, and that it has turned out to be very successful and will set the pattern for future years.
The idea of having the first rehearsals closed to the press has proved to be beneficial to the artists and delegations, and by a way of a compromise they were shown at the Euroclub.
The subject of the Semi-Final results being influential in deciding the running order for the Grand Final was mentioned, but Jon Ola Sand will be the only person who will know those details, and will not affect the decisions made by the producers as to which country will perform in which position.
The 'Big 5' will be drawn into respective halves of the draw during their press conferences, and after much confusuion over the issue of the number of balls, it seems that there will,be three balls marked up as 'first half' and two balls with 'second half', as the other automatically qualified country, Sweden, has already been drawn at number 16, which is in the second half.
Voting via the official app
On the voting, with the introduction of the official Eurovision app, Sietse Bakker explained that for those using an iphone or ipad, the vote will be sent automatically via an SMS and therefore will be registered from whichever country you are in, however if you use an android, it will work by the phone/credit card that it is registered in and the vote will be counted from that country.
Credit cards were also an issue when a question was raised about ticket sales and why people who tried to purchase tickets from mainly outside Europe with credit cards encountered problems. Jon Ola Sand explained that as the EBU has no direct method of selling tickets and have to use outside partners like ticnet.se. Unfortunately due to various issue like insurance, they couldn't take process credit cards from outside Europe and a telephone booking system was set up as a compromise.
Christer Björkman gave the audience a sneak preview of two elements of the 2013 show, firstly he presented one of the postcards, in this case Denmark, which starts with a butterfly in the colours of the Danish flag, and showed Emmelie de Forest looking very relaxed in her home town, the postcards conclude with the butterfly again.
The Swedes are known for their humour, and presenter Petra Mede will feature in some short videos that look at the history of the contest, and will be making some guest appearances in some archive footage, such as as being an additional backing vocalist for Cliff Richard in his 1968 entry Congratulations. The fans certainly will appreciate these elements. Christer also pointed out that Petra will be serious as well when the situation requires it.
Jon Ola Sand hoped very much that those countries that are absent from the 2013 edition will return next year, and the EBU is in discussions with these broadcasters, and of course he is keen to keep those broadcasters in this year's contest to return in 2014. The dates of which have been provisionally decided as the the 13th, 15th and 17th May for the three shows,