Eurovision trio's song of woe

Three countries have pulled out of this year's Eurovision Song Contest, citing pressure from the global economy as the cause. The public broadcasters RTP (from Portugal), STV (Slovakia) and BHRT (Bosnia and Herzegovina) have flagged to the contest's organising body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), that they will be unable to attend the contest, slated for Malmo, Sweden, in May. A spokesman for the EBU said the body was ''sensitive to the economic pressures facing its members'' and was looking at ways of reducing costs. A fourth broadcaster, Turkey's TRT, is also saying it will not attend, blaming rule changes. A total of 39 countries have confirmed their attendance at the contest.

Nine's ratings explode

It may be the non-ratings period, but that didn't stop the Nine Network from scoring a big win on New Year's Eve with its television coverage of the Sydney Harbour fireworks display. An extraordinary 859,000 people in Sydney - roughly one fifth of the city's population - stayed indoors to watch the fireworks on TV. The segment from midnight to 12.15am drew a total national audience of 1,722,000 viewers in Australia's five mainland state capitals. The city-by-city breakdowns were Sydney (859,000 viewers), Melbourne (318,000), Brisbane (289,000), Adelaide (152,000) and Perth (104,000). Hosted by Catriona Rowntree and Jason Dundas, the coverage featured Sydney NYE 2012's ''creative ambassador'' Kylie Minogue (pictured), plus performances from The X Factor's Reece Mastin, Ricki-Lee Coulter and The Voice's Darren Percival.

New Munsters no more

The reboot of the iconic '60s comedy The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane, has been abandoned. The project was in development at the US network NBC under the guiding hand of producer Bryan Fuller and starred Australian actor Portia de Rossi. The pilot was aired in the US as a Halloween stunt, drawing 5.4 million viewers, but NBC were not moved by the numbers. ''I tweet with a heavy heart,'' Fuller wrote last week on Twitter. ''NBC not moving forward with Mockingbird Lane. From producers and cast, thank you all for enthusiasm and support.''

Netting a win

Netflix comes not to kill television, but to save it. That was the conclusion from a new report that suggests services like Netflix will actually push down online piracy. The rise of so-called OTT services - that is, ''over the top'', which means services that deliver TV content over the top of traditional distributors - will lead to declines in web piracy, according to the report. Australia is one of the slowest markets to launch OTT services, the best known of which is the US platform Netflix. ''As quality content becomes available for a competitive price, people stop pirating,'' the report says.

Little Voice

Nine will be watching the US development of a kids-themed spinoff to The Voice very closely. It is no secret Nine is keen to capitalise on the value of TV's biggest franchise since Idol was launched, and at the moment all eyes are on Telemundo's Spanish-language Voice spinoff La Voz: Ninos (The Voice: Kids) which will launch into the US market later this year. If the format tracks well with US audiences, a number of broadcasters around the world that currently air the original version of the show would be keen to clone it. The winner of La Voz: Ninos lands a recording contract with Universal Music, plus a scholarship.

This story Eurovision trio's song of woe first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.