Broadcasters’ €15bn annual investment in content plays key role in digital economy

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Brussels, 19 April 2012: European commercial broadcasters today released a new study “Audiovisual Content and Online Growth”, highlighting the vital role played by the commercial sector’s €15 bn annual investment in programme content in the digital economy.

The study, commissioned from the E-media Institute by the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) and a group of its member companies, aims to bring some factual analysis to the debate around the contribution of the audiovisual content sector to the European digital economy.

Specifically, for the first time ever, the study quantifies the aggregate programming spend of Europe’s commercial broadcasters. Speaking in Brussels, Philippe Delusinne, CEO of RTL Belgium and President of the ACT said:
We know that European television is an €84bn sector – but we did not know until today how much of that revenue is reinvested in sport, news, entertainment or movies. Our study concludes that the largest commercial broadcasting groups in Europe invested a total of €15.1 bn in programme content in 2010. When the contributions of public broadcasters, and of smaller operators, are also taken into account, we conclude that overall around 40% of broadcasters’ revenues are reinvested in the next season’s schedule. Quite simply, great programme content isn’t cheap. The media business will continue to invest and to innovate so as to ensure that the strengths of our sector are also reflected in the online world

The report also shows the strong consumer take-up of the hundreds of new services launched by commercial broadcasters online, part of the legal offer of content widely seen as a vital tool against piracy. The report concludes by looking at the many different ways in which content can cross frontiers today, and tomorrow – providing there is monetisable consumer demand.

The ACT will be seeking to discuss this report with EU policymakers in the weeks ahead. Ross Biggam, the ACT Director-General, confirmed that
This study is part of our response to a number of very pertinent questions posed by the European Commission, in its Green Paper on Audiovisual Content, in the Digital Agenda, and in other policy documents. Television has never been stronger, with the average European citizen watching linear TV for 228 minutes per day. Our member companies aim to build on their existing strengths to tap into new revenue streams and better serve consumer demand. If all players – broadcasters, producers, distributors and regulators – can rise to the challenge of the new era, then we are confident we can deliver a strong presence for European content online.