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TV Still Reigns Supreme in Europe

While TV content is king, not all viewers are glued to a traditional TV set

June 17, 2015

TV remains the most frequently used medium in Europe, according to the European Commission. Its recent publication, “Standard Eurobarometer 82: Media Use in the European Union,” reported that in the fall of last year, 86% of residents ages 15 and older in the 28 member states watched television daily or almost daily.

Weekly Media Activities of Consumers in Select Countries in Western Europe, Nov 2014 (% of respondents)

Among other traditional media, radio remained popular, with 53% of respondents listening daily or almost daily. Germany registered the highest regional usage of radio, with 69% of respondents saying they listened daily, or nearly every day. By comparison, 60% of consumers in France and 50% of those in the UK were daily radio listeners.

Across the region, the internet has overtaken radio in terms of frequent exposure; an estimated 60% of EU consumers accessed the web every day, or almost as often.

Moreover, the internet now claims a growing share of TV viewing. The study concluded that 84% of EU residents viewed TV content on a traditional TV set, but 9% typically watched online at least once per day.

Sweden, Finland, Malta and Denmark were the countries posting the highest rates of online TV viewing. The UK placed fifth, with an estimated 13% of respondents watching TV content on the web daily, or almost daily. In France the corresponding share was 10%, and in Germany just 5%.

Print media—increasingly squeezed by rising consumption of digital platforms—ranked a rather distant fourth in daily usage, behind TV, the internet and radio. Just one-third (33%) of EU residents polled said they spent time with printed newspapers, magazines or journals daily or almost daily. A further 32% read print content between one and three times per week.

For the first time, social media rivaled print media for EU residents’ attention on a typical day. Regionally, 32% of respondents said they used social networks daily or almost every day.

These figures tend to confirm the growing importance of social networking across the region, even in countries where it’s already very popular. eMarketer estimates that 43.3% of the entire population of Western Europe visited a social media site at least once per month last year, for example, and nearly 60% of those online were also social network users. In 2015, we expect both those measures of penetration to rise by at least 1.5 percentage points.

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