For all the interest it has generated during the past ten years, pan-European TV remains some way from fulfilling its potential as an advertising medium for reaching the affluent international business audience.
A few stations – notably CNN, NBC Super Channel, and Eurosport – are no longer in their infancy, and have developed to become consistent worldwide brands earning their inclusion on international media schedules.
Others such as Dow Jones’s European Business News and BBC Worldwide, have been running for little over a year. Bloomberg Information’s TV Europe and NBC’s CNBC are even more recent entrants.
By way of contrast, their rivals in the European business press – such established brands as the Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune and Time – have built reputations over many years and offer detailed readership information.
Research has inevitably been the achilles heel of the Pan-European TV industry, but with the publication of the first European Media and Marketing Survey (EMS), the situation is beginning to change. The value of pan-European TV as a medium for reaching the top strata of European consumers may at last be more fully assessed.
EMS measures the top 13 per cent of European adults across 17 countries, providing reach and profile measures for press and television.
Crucially, it enables media planners for the first time to compare pan-European satellite TV channels with one another.
EMS cannot, of course, provide the level of detailed research offered by international publications. However, it does represent a major advance for international advertisers who wish to build campaigns that effectively combine the power of both press and broadcasting across the region. Moreover, it is in line with the growing need of advertisers to plan and buy multi-country campaigns centrally and will undoubtedly develop to become a fundamental planning tool for international media agencies.
The EMS initiative reflects a welcome response to the changing dynamics of the European media landscape. As new channels have launched and new media opportunities have come on stream, agencies and advertisers have been preoccupied with balancing the problems of audience fragmentation against the need for accurate consumer targeting across the region. The task of reconciling these two polarities can only be addressed on a pan-European basis. In meeting this need, EMS certainly represents a major step forward.