SBS announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with Eurovision Broadcasting Union (EBU). The deal will enable SBS to develop an Asian version of the Eurovision Song Contest and Australia will be hosting the debut of the Eurovision Asian chapter in 2017. This will be followed by annual events in countries throughout the Asia Pacific.

In an official statement, SBS said that the broadcaster and its production partner, Blink TV, are in the initial phases of establishing the Eurovision concept. They are still exploring the opportunities and offering broadcasters and sponsors a chance to be a part of the event.

Michael Ebeid, managing director of SBS, revealed that he was happy to explore an opportunity to get the event closer to Asia which has an amazing music culture. “As the official broadcaster of Eurovision for over 30 years, SBS is pleased to explore the opportunity to bring an event of this calibre more closely to our shores, strengthening the multicultural ties in our region,” he said.  “We are pleased with the very early discussions across the region and look forward to working with our neighbouring broadcasters to realise this vision,” Ebeid added.

Australia recently chose Dami Im to represent the country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The competition is scheduled to take place in Stockholm in May. The Korean-born Australian’s name was announced at the Sydney Opera House by Conchita Wurst and Guy Sebastian.

If this deal becomes a reality, it will offer an opportunity to artists from the Asia Pacific region to showcase their songwriting and performing talents in one grand finale. It will be a perfect next step to expand the Eurovision brand, which can grow from 200 million current viewers to a potential billion viewers across Asia.

“We are excited by the fact that Eurovision’s appeal is crossing continental borders to Asian countries,” stated Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling, Chairman for the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest in a press release. “SBS Australia has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years, so we feel they are a perfect partner to build an alliance of networks with, and give Asian songwriters and artists the opportunity to perform on the Eurovision stage,” he added.

Paul Clark, the director of Blink TV, said, “I am certain we can build the team for this wonderful opportunity, and we look to partners in our part of the world to join us. Asia has an astonishing set of musical and visual cultures, and it will make for brilliant television.”