Work on an Australian spin-off of the Eurovision Song Contest is ramping up in the wake of Dami Im's incredible second-place finish in Sweden on Sunday.

SBS announced in March it had acquired the exclusive rights to develop a music competition for the Asia Pacific region, at this stage called Asiavision.

While early media reports had indicated it would launch next year, executives at the multicultural broadcaster said 2018 was a more realistic expectation. That's no longer the case.

After Dami won over Europe, there's been a lot of interest from our Asian neighbours in Australia's spin-off of Eurovision. Photo / AP
After Dami won over Europe, there's been a lot of interest from our Asian neighbours in Australia's spin-off of Eurovision. Photo / AP

"There's a flurry of activity after what happened (at the) weekend," an insider said. "SBS want this to happen next year."

Advertisement

The network's content chief Helen Kellie confirmed the hope was to get Asiavision on air in 2017, with the inaugural spectacular to be hosted in Australia.

"I think (this year's Eurovision) renews our confidence in the idea that this is a big brand...what I can say is that we're absolutely working on plans to get this happening next year," Kellie said.

SBS is in discussions with broadcasters in China, Korea and Japan to form a reference group to urgently develop the concept.

"And potentially India," Kellie added.

"Then obviously we'll have additional countries who will participate but perhaps won't be as active in the shaping of the editorial (side).

"Our aim will be to have 12 countries (compete) in the first year."

Since Im narrowly missed out on winning Eurovision on Sunday, which was watched by a global TV audience of 200 million people, some of our biggest Asian partners have been in contact, Kellie said.

"Absolutely, we've had a lot of interest. At the moment, our focus is on getting that reference group going. We want a set of partners to help us shape what the show is."

Australian Recording Industry Association boss Dan Rosen said the format would open local musicians up to huge new markets.

"If it can have even a small part of the success that Eurovision has had, it's got big potential," Rosen said. "We know our artists are world-class so the more exposure, the better."

Read more:
Kiwi singing trio The Koi Boys 'best vocal audition' on The Voice AU
bull; Mariah Carey goes full diva in new series Mariah's World

While she was in Stockholm to watch Im compete, Kellie met with the European Broadcast Union who organise Eurovision to discuss the Asia Pacific adaptation.

"We've got a lot of details (to finalise) but they've been amazing ... they're incredibly supportive of what we're trying to do."

She concedes staging the event will be a huge undertaking but said the model was designed to be cost-neutral to begin with, before making "a modest profit" in a few years' time.

Hosting our own version of the long-running show, now in its 61st year, also doesn't mean we'd wane in our interest in competition in the main event, Kellie said.

"Look, it's early days yet - I've literally just landed so I haven't quite formulated a plan, but obviously we'll be discussing it with the EBU and Ukraine, who host next year.

Even though Australia are doing their own thing, SBS is still keen to send someone to represent Australia at Eurovision next year in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo / AP
Even though Australia are doing their own thing, SBS is still keen to send someone to represent Australia at Eurovision next year in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo / AP

"We'll have everything crossed that we're invited to compete again, but it's very much their choice."

t's understood a few big-name artists had already expressed interest in representing Australia in Kiev in 2017, should we be asked to take part.

Im is still the talk of Europe after her stunning performance of Sound Of Silence, which is climbing up the singles charts in dozens of countries across the continent.

"I've heard that," Kellie said of the enthusiasm from local acts. "It's great, but we're quite a way off from that."

And while she hadn't thought about inviting a European country to compete in Asiavision, in a reverse example of what we'd done, she said it was a good idea.

"You never know. I think first off, let's get it working and we'll see."

Chat show host Graham Norton, who commentates the British coverage of Eurovision, was critical last week of Australia's involvement this year for the second time.

"Maybe we could invite Graham to ours," Kellie laughed. "He'd love it, totally."