Europe’s Great Summer of Television
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European broadcasters are returning to work in good heart, on the back of a summer of spectacular ratings successes.
Despite the fact that this summer did not feature a FIFA World Cup, a UEFA European Championships or an Olympic Games, and despite the unusually warm summer weather in much of Europe, viewers remained gripped by TV shows – whether about sport, politics, royalty or entertainment…
Commenting on this summer of success, Philippe Delusinne, President of the ACT said that:
“Across Europe, broadcasters are achieving astonishing levels of innovation in technology and we are constantly developing new ways to deliver our content to consumers: HD, Ultra-HD, on-demand. Crucially, we are doing this with very high levels of linear TV viewing and high growth in additional, non-linear TV viewing. As and when the European economies return to growth, this will be translated into increased advertising and subscription revenue to be reinvested in future programming – a real virtuous circle for European business and consumers”
Speaking for European TV sales houses, Franz Prenner, Chairman of egta added that
“Audiences across the European continent were extraordinarily loyal to television be it for news, sports or entertainment over the summer. Regardless of the device it was on, Europeans consumed a lot of television content and didn’t miss any of the national and/or European-wide happenings of the summer: political debates or royal “happenings”, tennis tournaments, etc. Certain events gathered a whole nation, whilst others gathered large European audiences. This comes as proof that our industry is very healthy and while economic uncertainty affects advertising expenditures in some markets, the interest in reaching out to masses through powerful television content across screens and devices, is intact. Audiences are growing and TV viewing figures are at their highest ever… We look forward to a very exciting future!”
These comments were backed up by strong TV audience data from across Europe:
- In Italy, the lack of a global sporting event was irrelevant as Italians watched 3.5% more television in the summer of 2013 than the previous year;
- 26 million Germans watched the election debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her challenger Peer Steinbrück;
- That other all-German dispute, the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, was watched by a global audience of 360 million, 23.7m of them in Germany;
- Up to 13m viewers in France and 2.75m in the Netherlands watched coverage of the Tour de France. The Tour also broke records in the UK;
- In other sporting highlights, over 14m people in the UK watched Andy Murray win the men’s singles at Wimbledon (and Marion Bartoli’s victory in the women’s singles created an audience record for its channel in France), while 2m Swedes watched the women’s European Championship football semi-final;
- But it wasn’t all about sport – talent shows continued their decade-long run of success, with over 14m viewers for the final of Britain’s Got Talent and strong figures also recorded in the Netherlands, Belgium and elsewhere;
- Royal events also proved popular, with 6.08m Belgians watching the coronation of King Philippe I, 1.9m in Sweden for the marriage of Princess Madeleine, and – aggregated across four UK channels – 11.9 million watching coverage around the birth of Prince George;
- TV-related tweets amounted to average 6.5m per month in France in July and August.
And the sector also believes that the impact of YouTube on television audiences has been overstated by some commentators. For the first time, industry bodies from around Europe have begun comparing the time spent watching television against that consuming various online media. The figures to date show that the impressive success of YouTube has not been at the expense of television. Across Europe, for every minute spent on YouTube, the average person spends an hour watching linear television (for national figures – see the Note to the Editor).
Commenting on this new comparison, which builds on data published by the UK trade marketing body Thinkbox in May, Tess Alps, Executive Chair at Thinkbox said:
“Whenever a commentator glibly announces that YouTube has ‘displaced’ TV we should ask for their impartial evidence. In the UK, according to official sources, for every minute spent on YouTube, the average person spends nearly an hour watching linear TV. We’re delighted to discover from co-operating with our sister organisations that this pattern is replicated across all the major European markets. This is not to denigrate YouTube in any way. It is complementary to TV and it is going to grow, but the assumption that time spent on YouTube will inevitably cannibalise linear TV time is flawed and not borne out by analysis of real consumers.”
Finally, the trade marketing bodies, egta and the ACT intend to intensify their co-operation and exchange of information, and expressed their openness to co-operate with other TV bodies in Europe and beyond.