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Eurovision and Mixmoov Video Contest Keeps the Music Playing
Learn how the 60-year-old music competition joined the modern age by letting online fans mix their own hits and win prizes.

For a music competition that dates from nearly 60 years ago, staying current can be a challenge. Not surprisingly, when the Eurovision Song Contest wanted to do something current to raise awareness, it turned to online video -- and Mixmoov helped it accomplish its goals.

The Eurovision Song Contest was first held in Switzerland in 1956, and this pan-European event has launched the careers of some of pop music’s biggest stars, including ABBA, Celine Dion, and Julio Iglesias. In May of this year, the contest was held in Malmö, Sweden, and the main sponsor -- Nordic and Baltic communications company TeliaSonera --  wanted to create an online component that used video from the contest’s long history to create a fun, fresh competition online.

The result was a video message generator called Super-Hit. People could select from a list of more than 150 lyrics and musical samples from past Eurovision hits, creating a multiline message. The default setting was five lines, but users were free to add or delete lines as needed. They could preview and edit their creation, add their name to it, and share it on YouTube and Twitter. Viewers could also vote on other people’s Super-Hit messages. The result was a fun and surprising way to reuse great moments from Eurovision’s long history.

While Eurovision and TeliaSonera had the video assets to make the contest possible, they didn’t have the backend to edit the clips together. For that, they turned to Mixmoov, which has already found a following with its cloud video editor. Mixmoov has recently broadened its offering from just a cloud editor, opening its platform up to different solution providers via an API. Mixmoov offers a simple storyboard editing mode or a multitrack editor; customers are free to use these interfaces, work with Mixmoov’s professional services team to create a custom look, or use the Mixmoov API to power a completely unique interface.

For Eurovision, the timing was just right. According to Hareesh Vazhaparampil, senior product manager for Mixmoov, his company began showing off the API in late 2012 and early 2013, and it was in testing with two clients. Around the time that Mixmoov announced the public availability of the API, Eurovision and TeliaSonera were looking for a solution.

The video-maker lived at a new portal called Eurovision Super-Charged (supercharged.eurovision.tv) and ran until July 15, which was well past the song contest.

“The workflow is that a user, a fan, creates a list of song lines from actual Eurovision songs, and once the user puts together the script she can preview it,” Vazhaparampil explains. “At that stage all these videos corresponding to the lines selected by the user are put together and previewed to the user. When the user hits Push the web app contacts our video rendering API, which sits on the backend and connects to our video editing platform. This web app connects to our API and gives the list of videos and the order and manner in which they are to be rendered. Our API then uses the video rendering engine to create the video, automatically publishing it to the Eurovision YouTube channel.”

The welcome screen for the Eurovision Super-Hit video message generator.

To encourage sharing, the Super-Charged team created a contest element. By sharing their creations and getting votes, fans could win points and try for prizes. Adding sharing led to a great deal of free publicity for Eurovision, and fans spread their videos around the web, spreading awareness of the contest at the same time.

The contest had three goals: first, to engage fans and, second, to encourage video creations. “All the videos created can be shared, so the third and most important idea is to get wider distribution,” Vazhaparampil says.

The Super-Hit team made some interesting choices in putting the video element together. While Eurovision is a contest between nations and has featured some big name talent throughout the years, Super-Hit doesn’t include any of that. There’s no way to view the selectable lines by nation of origin or by the band that sang them. There’s no way to see if any ABBA lines made it in. Instead, the song lines were simply listed alphabetically. The team also kept the number of selectable items small. With more than 50 years of history to choose from, they could have offered thousands of song lines, but that would have been overwhelming. They decided to keep the number manageable.