From pan-continental TV opportunities to precise, specifically-targeted local media, the media landscape in Europe in 2017 is impressive in its flexibility - a key consideration during these challenging times.
Our media planning and purchasing services are equally flexible, offering sound, objective advice and delivering impressive buying results, whatever your budget.
Depending on their targeting requirements, advertisers who wish to convey a message across the whole European land mass can choose from a dazzling array of broadcast, print and online options.
Access to television is universal in Europe with 97% of EU households having at least one television. From a situation in which there were just forty-seven national channels twenty years ago, the European broadcasting industry has developed into a pluralistic and diverse media landscape, with more than 3,300 channels available across the continent.
People are certainly spending more time watching television than ever - but when and how they watch is also changing. Recent Ericsson ConsumerLab research shows that consumption of 'on-demand' content is accelerating rapidly: 70% are streaming, downloading or watching recorded broadcast TV. The popularity of ad-funded, free-to-view, video-on-demand (VoD) sourced from the internet - and viewed via PC/laptop or mobile - is accelerating.
Many of the pan-European TV stations continue to offer 'ad. windows' into specific countries or groups of countries - and it's at this level that they start to compete with indigenous channels and other national media. (In media buying terms, one practical effect of this is that it is often necessary to talk to different sales teams about either pan-European or country-specific airtime).
Pan-Euro TV isn't just about reaching mass markets - many stations also offer opportunities for targeting specific interest groups: arte, BBC World, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNBC Europe, CNN, Discovery, EuroNews, Eurosport, Jetix, MTV, National Geographic Channel, Sky News and TV5, amongst others, all offer a degree of audience selectivity, with 'upward' links to global media networks.
The same is true in press, with newspaper media such as the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Metro and The Wall Street Journal Europe making it easy to reach the region's business élite as well as other less discrete target groups.
In magazines, there's a kaleidoscope of pan-Euros to choose from, including predictably titles aimed at the business community, such as The Economist, Time, BusinessWeek, Euromoney, Forbes, Scientific American and Fortune (amongst others), but also an ever-growing list of lifestyle titles such as Cosmopolitan, Wallpaper*, FHM, Hello!, Playboy, Elle and (good old?) Reader's Digest to name - again - but a few ...
More than 150 million newspapers are sold and read by over 300 million Europeans every day. Some countries have a strong line up of national newspaper media - nowhere perhaps as strong as in the UK. Countries such as Germany and Sweden have strong regional newspapers, but arguably no truly national titles, though the growth of free newspapers - the Metro phenomenon being a case in point - is beginning to upset this established order of things.
The "integrated sell" is the name of the game nowadays, with grouping of a publisher's media and/or different publishers getting together to offer a range of attractive joint deals across many - or just a few - countries.
Radio and (in particular) online continue to grow at impressive rates. The lingering death of analogue is the prelude to a new digital dawn, with wave upon wave of new broadcast options being launched every month. Increasingly online is being used as a 'standalone' medium, though many are still utilising it as an interactive extension of broadcast and print media. Large numbers of magazine and news titles are launching tablet editions for the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc.
The attractions of digital's flexibility and immediacy, whether mobile or on the desktop, are only slightly dampened by the problem of achieving - or, at least, being sure of achieving - any kind of mass audience coverage in such a vast sea of opportunities.
But ... important steps have been taken recently in terms of online audience measurement. Nielsen is providing online audience measurement systems in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Since December 2010 the company's UKOM APS (APS = Audience Planning System) has been using a nationally-representative and carefully validated panel to provide UK monthly audience data on over 10,000 internet brands. The system promises to give advertisers and their agencies across Europe "the ability to plan media schedules around a single, benchmark source of highly accurate and consistent online data".
One suspects that the (till very recently) lack of hard data on online has been one of the reasons behind the growth of free, user-generated and social media content, as website owners look to both users and advertisers to support their net ventures in the face of the consumers' thumbs-down to paid-for. All of which makes the stuttering development of paid-for online newspaper content one to watch closely over the next few years.
Media technologies continue to converge across Europe, as streaming tv and downloadable video are ported to PCs (typically free of charge), posters send SMS messages to passing mobile owners and radio goes worldwide via the net. Digital is also having a major impact in cinema, too, with digitalisation well under way and leading to lower production costs - with implications for more and better product and lower entry costs; not to mention the revolutionary impact of 3D.
Posters (especially out-of-home, or OOH, as we seem to say nowadays) have never been the easiest medium to plan and buy across Europe. Better sales co-ordination and more and more attempts at packaging are providing reasons to be cheerful. And currently the world's largest international outdoor media owners – APG|SGA, Clear Channel Outdoor, Exterion Media and JCDecaux are working together to develop the first standardised industry approach to measuring digital out-of-home (DOOH) audiences. This unique industry collaboration has come about in response to continued global growth of digital outdoor advertising, estimated at 23% annually between 2007-2014, with further growth of 21% predicted in 2015.
But, for the moment, media planners who aren't buying into environments such as airports, where there is some consistency of poster sizes and specs., still tend to have to take countries one at a time and piece the poster jigsaw together. There are always - of course - many big brand multi-country outdoor campaigns; but like its local press, Europe's poster advertising medium is most often used to address the fine tuning of an advertiser's media strategy.
Broadbrush surveys covering the whole continent offer an excellent vade mecum for strategic planning. Companies offering national reports such as Target Group Index, Nielsen and ABC provide a service more tailored to the specifics of a country's own media profile. And many local media are wise to the attractions of hard data about audiences - and have invested accordingly.
Fox Media can ensure that your European campaign is a great success.
For more details about our international media planning and buying services call Richard Fox direct from the UK on 01354 696961 or on +44 1 354 696961 from outside the UK - or get in touch via the form on our contact page.