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Sanremo Music Festival nets nearly half of TV viewers

12 and a half million Italians tune in to opening night

19 February, 10:51
Sanremo Music Festival nets nearly half of TV viewers (ANSA) - Sanremo, February 19 - The Sanremo Music Festival nabbed nearly half of the Italian television-viewing audience on its opening night Tuesday, according to ratings data released Wednesday. In its first half, some 12 and a half million Italians tuned into the 64th annual publicly-funded song competition and prime-time entertainment extravaganza, equal to 45.77% of total viewers. The number dropped to five million in the second half of the show, while the viewer share crept up to 47.14%. The show, broadcast on State television RAI 1, has been the target of anti-establishment comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo of the 5-Star Movement for its 18-million-euro price tag.

Grillo staged a demonstration outside the event late Tuesday, calling it "emptiness par excellence" and a factor in Italy's "political and economic disaster". Nevertheless, RAI says the show will rake in 20.2 million euros in advertising, plus 600,000 euros in ticket sales. RAI 1 Director Giancarlo Leone had hoped the show would draw ratings of "somewhere between the 35.4% low of 2004 and the 2013 peak of 47.3%".