Contrary to popular opinion, total television viewing has remained relatively stable across Europe over the last decade. While viewing at the time of transmission has declined, this has been compensated for by deferred viewing of recordings and catch-up services. The United Kingdom and Nordic countries are an exception to this. Those are among the statistics summarised in the European Audiovisual Observatory annual Yearbook.

The European audiovisual market is worth about 120 billion euros a year, of which the 27 countries of the European Union contribute 35 billion euros, while the United Kingdom is worth 22 billion.

There are 12,275 audiovisual media services available across the wider Europe region Europe. Around three quarters of these are traditional television channels and about a quarter are online services.

Most audiovisual services in Europe serve domestic markets, meaning that they serve the country in which they are established.

The revenues of the public audiovisual sector in Europe were 38.54 billion euros in 2021. This represented a nominal increase of 5.7% in the 27 member states of the European Union, the first in five years above inflation. This development was driven in particular by the recovery of commercial revenues in some countries, since public funding only increased by 2.9%.

Pay-television revenues grew marginally in 2021, but dropped slightly in real terms.

The online video market grew by 32%, slightly down on the 40% growth the previous year. Online video subscription services in the 27 European Union countries generated revenues of 10.7 billion euros, up 34% year on year.

Time spent viewing television across Europe has remained reasonably stable over the last 10 years. Television measurement organisations have been increasingly including in their figures recorded and catch-up viewing. Less viewing at the time of transmission has been compensated for by deferred viewing.

In fact, the observatory concludes that average television viewing time across is up by a minute day over the last 10 years.

However, there has been a steady decline in television viewing in the United Kingdom and Nordic countries. In the United Kingdom, despite a boost from the pandemic in 2020, average television viewing time has fallen by 65 minutes a day since 2011. In Denmark it has declined by 73 minutes a day.

Television viewing in Europe 2011-2021. Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

The observatory does not offer an explanation for this but one possibility is that there has been intense competition from English language online video services.

Yearbook 2022/2023 Key Trends: Television, Cinema, Video and On-demand Audiovisual Services – The Pan-European Picture is published by the European Audiovisual Observatory and is available from its web site.