State broadcaster ERT yesterday said it could pay over 700,000 euros to back Greece’s entry at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and admitted paying its presenter 14,000 euros a month to cover the event. «[The contest] is a commercial product and, beyond being in our interests, ERT is obliged to protect it,» ERT’s managing director, Christos Panagopoulos, said after the broadcaster came under criticism for its heavy involvement and coverage of the event. Some 5 million Greek viewers tuned in to last year’s contest to see Sakis Rouvas clinch third place for Greece. Panagopoulos said that ERT would pay up to 715,000 euros to cover the contest, which is to take place on May 21 in Kiev, and to back Greece’s entry, which will be performed by Elena Paparizou. Panagopoulos said that Paparizou had covered her own costs so far and had not asked for any payment. He said that ERT hoped to bring in some 1 million euros from advertising and sponsorship but added that presenter Alexandra Paschalidou is being paid 14,000 euros a month over a period of six months to cover the contest and conduct a series of Eurovision-related programs during this period.