Danmarks Radio’s Cirkus Summarum – which the national radio and TV broadcaster co-organises with Muskelsvindfonden, a foundation for muscular dystrophy – has come under attack from several major Danish circuses for taking advantage of an unequal, unfair playing field.
The circuses are most particularly concerned that free advertising on DR, along with the involvement of well-known TV hosts from popular children programs, enables Cirkus Summarum to fill its tents at the expense of its competitors.
“We have experienced what it is like when Summarum comes into a town before us,” Nadia Benneweis, the head of Circus Benneweis, told Berlingske.
“They take our guests, of course, and we can really notice it.”
In the article in today’s Berlingske, the heads of five major Danish circuses – Benneweis, Arli, Baldoni, Dannebrog and Arena – take particular issue with Summarum’s free advertising while they have to pay large amounts of money for their own promotion.
This year DR even made a background documentary focused on the children participating in the show.
“It’s free advertising,” believes René Marvin Pattern from Circus Baldoni, while Benny Berdino from Circus Arena complains that he spent a million kroner on a marketing campaign on TV2 last year.
Supporting people with muscular dystrophy
According to the official statement, all the profits from Cirkus Summarum are donated to Muskelsvindfonden’s work, supporting people with muscular dystrophy and their families.
“DR has no desire to compete with Danish circuses,” DR vice president Maria Hald told Berlingske.
“We only provide our mascots while the whole operation of the show is financed by ticket sales.”
Not a circus but a unique show
Theis Petersen, the collections manager at Muskelsvindfonden, stresses that Cirkus Summarum cannot at all be compared to traditional circuses.
“We don’t do either circus or theatre. Cirkus Summarum is a unique and different show, with elements from various genres and industries. Yes, it takes place in a circus tent, but it’s not a circus in the traditional sense,” he noted.
“We use the circus tent as an arena to bring DR’s characters to life outside the TV screen, all accompanied by live rhythmic music played by the DR Big Band.”