Case Study

Using Data to Predict the Eurovision Song Contest

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With this year's Eurovision Song Contest fast approaching, we wanted to talk about how the Insights Team at Little Dot has used Data and Trends to attempt to predict the outcome of the final on Saturday 14th May.

Methodology

The team came up with their own, custom methodology to produce the prediction:

  • The data collected for this prediction was taken from two core music streaming platforms; YouTube and Spotify, and combined with odds percentages from Eurovision World as well as the full qualifying history from previous years, which was sourced from Wikipedia. 
  • The decimal odds score was calculated by converting the percentage from Eurovision World into a score out of 1 (e.g. 42% would convert to 0.42). 
  • The qualifying score was calculated by taking the total number of times a country has qualified, then dividing that by the number of times that country has competed in the semi-finals to give a percentage.
  • This percentage was then converted to a score out of 1 (e.g. 32% would be 0.32)
  • The qualifying percentage was calculated from 2008 results onwards, as this is when the system of two semi-finals with 10 by ranking was introduced to the competition
  • The views and streams score was formed by combining the numbers of views of the  song’s official video on the Eurovision YouTube account and the number of streams of the official Eurovision version of the song on Spotify, divided by the number of days that had passed since its release.

After these calculations were made, an average was then determined and the songs ranked on their averages. A score was then allocated to each country by rank, taking into account the number of songs in each semi-final and all the countries taking part in the contest, providing an overall winner. 

Results

Below you can see the full breakdown of the predictions for both semi finals:

In semi-final 1, Ukraine had the highest odds score, with a 93% chance of qualifying to the final according to the betting odds. They also had the highest qualifying score, with a 100% qualifying record. The Netherlands, Austria and Ukraine were the top three in regards to streams and views.

Semi Final 1_table

For semi-final 2, Sweden ranked at the top, placing first in the odds and the views & streams score. Azerbaijan ranked first in the qualifying score, as they have only failed to reach the final once since joining the contest in 2008.

Semi final 2_table

Overall Winner

According to the methodology, Ukraine will be this year's winner, with the highest odds score, predicting they have a 42% chance of winning. Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands were the top three in regards to streams and views. The UK ranked fifth overall, placing 5th in the views and streams and 4th in the odds.

Final table

However as with all predictions, tests and pieces of analysis, there are strengths and weaknesses to consider. The strengths of the prediction rely on sound reasoning and the statistical evidence available to us. 

The qualifying history is a reliable factor as it shows past patterns of popular and successful countries, however there are always external variables beyond our control which may impact specific years; these could be political, social or economic. 

The betting odds are also a popular indicator of how successful a country is likely to be, however these odds can be skewed by the betting patterns of viewers, with bookmakers adjusting the odds in certain directions based on different algorithms. 

Finally, viewing and streaming numbers are a great indicator of how popular a song is to viewers thus popular to voters, however, it does not account for the votes made by the jury. Also, voters cannot vote for their own country, however they can listen to their country's song, so countries with larger populations may have a large number of streams from its residents, but these residents have to cast their vote elsewhere.

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The insights team here at Little Dot Studios is full of talented individuals who are constantly finding new, creative ways to use data to make informed decisions for our clients. While our prediction of the Eurovision Song Contest does follow good logic, we make no claims to guaranteeing the result!

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