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US media groups playing bigger role in European broadcasting

US media groups are playing an increasingly prominent role in a fragmented and increasingly internationalised European TV landscape, according to a report by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

According to the report, The Internationalisation of TV Audience Markets in Europe, based on data fromn 2017 US groups had a particularly strong market presence in the European audiovisual sector compared to other pan-European groups in non-domestic markets, particularly in smaller countries but also in the UK, where US groups held a 23.1% market share.

US groups were more likely than European companies to be present in multiple markets. In 2017 Discovery had a broadcasting presence in 26 different European territories, followed by Viacom with 25, The Walt Disney Company with 23 including those in which 21stCentury Fox was active, AT&T with 22 markets including those in which WarnerMedia was active, and Comcast, with 19, including those in which Sky was active.

The most internationally active European companies in the European market were Bertelsmann, which was active in 14 different markets, Kinnevik, which was active in 10 and the BBC, which was active in eight.

Japan’s Sony Corp was active in the broadcast market in 13 countries.

Overall, non-domestic players accounted for over 20% of market share in 26 European markets and for over 50% in 10 markets.

The report found that the overall European broadcasting landscape remains fragmented, but that industry consolidation had enabled the leading groups to slow down the cumulative decline in their audience share relative to the decline in audience numbers for the leading channels.

According to the report, the average audience market shares of the four leading TV channels in Europe’s national markets declined by 8.2% between 2012-17. However, the average audience market shares of the four leading TV groups in Europe’s national markets fell by 5.1% over the same period, and by 4% within the EU countries.