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Sanremo Music Festival grabs just one-third of TV viewers

Second night of spectacle sees home audience numbers fall

20 February, 11:54
Sanremo Music Festival grabs just one-third of TV viewers (ANSA) - Sanremo, February 20 - The Sanremo Music Festival captured only about one-third of the Italian television-viewing audience on its second night, according to ratings data released Thursday.

Wednesday's figures were well below the opening night audience for the 64th annual publicly-funded song competition and prime-time entertainment extravaganza, and significantly lower than the numbers that tuned in during the same time last year.

The ratings data showed that Wednesday night, about 8.9 million viewers, or about 33.52% of the Italian viewing audience for that time of night, tuned in the first half of the show.

The figures dropping to an average of about 33.95% of the late-night viewing audience, or about 3.7 million viewers, in the second half of the show.

That was about 3.6 million viewers less than recorded during the same time slot on the second night of last year's music festival.

The timing of this year's festival posed some difficulties as it coincides with the Winter Olympic games under way in Sochi, Russia.

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%".