European Media

Global Media and Communication

Arab Media, Noha Mellor, Khalil Rinnawi, Nabil Dajani and Muhammad I. Ayish

European Media, Stylianos Papathanassopoulos and Ralph Negrine

European Media

Structures, Policies and Identity



Copyright © Stylianos Papathanassopoulos and Ralph M. Negrine 2011

The right of Stylianos Papathanassopoulos and Ralph M. Negrine to be identified as Authors of this Work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

First published in 2011 by Polity Press

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Detailed Contents


List of Illustrations


List of Abbreviations




Introduction: The Media in the European Context


Part I  The Political Economy of Media in Europe


The Structure of (Old) Media in Europe


The New Media in Europe


Part II  The Europeanization of the European Media


Europeanizing the Media of Europe


The Question of Content: Quality, Availability and Production


Audiences and Consumption


Part III  Europe as a Cultural and Political Project


Public Communication in Europe: Constructing Europe and the European Public Sphere


Media and European Identity








References and Bibliography



Detailed Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations



Introduction: The Media in the European Context


Dimensions of Europeanization


The organization of the book

Part I

The Political Economy of Media in Europe


The Structure of (Old) Media in Europe


Media models


The challenges to public broadcasting systems


The consolidation of the media industry


The foundation of new regulatory bodies


The newspaper sector




The New Media in Europe


The new media and European industrial policy


The penetration of the internet in Europe


The development of digital television


Internet protocol television (IPTV)


Mobile TV


High definition TV (HDTV)


From VCR to DVD


Radio: the analogue medium?


Newspapers: between the internet and the freesheets



Part II

The Europeanization of the European Media


Europeanizing the Media of Europe


Audiovisual policy: from ‘Television without Frontiers’ to ‘Audiovisual Media Services’


Country of origin


Linear and non-linear audiovisual services




Product placement


Support schemes


EU policy on media ownership


Public broadcasting and the EU




The Question of Content: Quality, Availability and Production


New media, new content


The EU and the new media ‘content’


Television content


The increase in the volume of programming


A new ‘défiaméricain’


The increase in the volume of European productions


The MEDIA programme


The importance of programme rights






Audiences and Consumption


A media-rich society


Changing media, changing patterns of consumption


The impact of the internet


TV versus internet


Cable and satellite TV


Different patterns of media consumption


Preferences in TV programmes


Media consumption at home


Summary: the multimedia environment and multitasking

Part III

Europe as a Cultural and Political Project


Public Communication in Europe: Constructing Europe and the European Public Sphere


EU media studies


The European public sphere – what is it, is there one and do we need it?


The European public sphere


EU journalism and the European public sphere


What drives EU news coverage? What are the news values adopted? How do journalists work?


Too much or too little coverage of the EU?


The EU communicating the EU: Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate


Media and politics in a European context


Change at the level of media and media practice


Changes at the level of the political party


Media and politics in the era of the internet




Media and European Identity


Europe and Europeanness: Where is Europe? What is the European Union?


Becoming European


European identity


Being part of Europe


How Europe sees itself and others: the coverage of Turkey’s accession bid in 2004


Turkey, the EU and accession talks in 2004: newspaper coverage in some member states


The place of history, culture and memory in the French and British press coverage







References and Bibliography


List of Illustrations



Typology of national broadcasting systems in Western Europe


Broadcasting regulatory authorities in selected European countries


Digital TV in Europe (and timetable for DTT)


Paid-for and free dailies in the USA and Europe


Share of newspapers of total advertising spend, selected European countries


Uptake of digital distribution/exploitation of content in Europe – key figures


EU programming in European television, 2007–8


Hallin and Mancini’s classification of media and political systems


Interest in what is going on in the European Parliament


Turnout in European parliamentary elections, selected countries


Different types of advocacy


Conceptual definition and operationalization of European identity variables


Reasons mentioned why talks should not proceed



Stages in the European television industry


Digital TV households in Europe, by platform


Broadcast mobile TV subscriber uptake


HDTV channels in Europe, 2009


HDTV channels in Europe, by means of delivery, 2009


Nationwide TV channels available in the EU-27, plus Croatia and Turkey, by genre


US programming in European television, 2007–8


uropean works on European channels


hanges of internet use in Europe


Media use in the EU-15, 2010


Average time spent viewing TV in Europe, 1995–2009


Paid-for dailies: average number of copies per thousand of population


Numbers and types of specialist channels viewed in the EU


Technology at home


Lack of trust in political parties in the European Union



MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training – key figures



Association of Commercial Television in Europe


asymmetrical digital subscriber line


Association Européene des Radios


Audiovisual Media Services


Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Öffentlichrechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland


British Broadcasting Corporation


British Sky Broadcasting


Court of First Instance


Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion


digital audio broadcasting


digital multimedia broadcasting


digital media player


digital rights management system


digital subscriber line




digital terrestrial television


digital video broadcasting


digital video broadcasting - handheld


digital video disk


European Broadcasting Union


European Commission


European Court of Justice


European Information and Communications Technology Industry Association


European Publishers Council


European Union


General Agreement on Trade in Services


gross domestic product


global positioning system


high definition TV


Institut de l’Audiovisuel et des Télécommunications en Europe


internet protocol


internet protocol television


integrated services digital network


internet service provider


local area network


Nederlandse Omroep Stichting


Office of Communications


personal digital assistant


public service broadcasting


Radio Televisione Italiana


Radio Telefís Éireann


Radio Télévision Luxembourgeoise


Radio Televisión Española


single-pair high-speed digital subscriber line


set top box


Television without Frontiers


video cassette recorder


very-high-bitrate digital subscriber line


video home system




Vlaamse Radio en Televisie


World International Property Organization


World Television News

To Katia, Thanassis and Aphrodite for their continuous support, good humour and patience

To Angie


Many people helped in the making of this book. In particular, we would like to thank the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens for its financial assistance at various stages of the research in the last three years. Our thanks go also to the many journalists who helped us with our research and patiently answered our questions, as well as the two anonymous readers at Polity for their valuable comments and thoughts on our typescript.

Our special thanks go to John Thompson and Andrea Drugan at Polity Press who have enthusiastically supported the whole project. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Caroline Richmond, who has shown professionalism and patience throughout the process of putting this book together. Needless to say, all responsibility for shortcomings and inaccuracies are ours.

Stelios Papathanassopoulos, Ralph Negrine


Introduction: The Media in the European Context

The media in European states have experienced a period of continuous change from the 1980s onwards. This period has been associated with changes in media policy as well as a series of technological developments which have, either directly or indirectly, had an influence on policy choices towards the media sector, and especially television. Emerging channels, including the internet, mobile and other interactive media, are outperforming their traditional counterparts and seizing market share from them. In the past, European media systems were characterized by simplicity – there were usually only a small handful of public-owned TV and radio stations, newspapers were available at specific times of the day and distributed in specific places. Today’s media systems, however, are characterized by complexity: processes of technological convergence and digitalization have dramatically changed the media landscape. Cable and satellite services deliver hundreds of channels; broadband links and websites allow anyone to distribute video to millions of people; and mobile phones connect subscribers to each other but also to television and to web services. The simplicity of yesteryear has given rise to a multiplicity of services that connect to one another but also compete with one another for shares of subscribers. To give one obvious example, internet service providers supply services to customers but also supply news – thus competing with traditional news outlets – and business information.

Although much has changed, there is also a sense that everything has remained more or less the same. We still (mostly) watch TV at home, listen to radio in many cases in our cars and read newspapers, especially on Sundays. But at the same time, the younger generations watch TV on their PC monitors, barely turn on a traditional TV set, and very often exchange messages and videos via their mobile devices and the internet, on social networking sites. They don’t read newspapers but they frequently visit web versions and are also informed by blogs. In reality, there is no simple explanation for these complex processes of change. Neither can we say that there is a common universal trend, even a common model, across Europe. In fact, each country has dealt with the developments of the new media and the surrounding issues and the pressures for change in different ways. What has united them is the sense, as in the 1980s, that these issues are common to all and that the European Union has an increasing role in media affairs. Among the common issues are uncertainty over the course of future technological innovation with respect to ‘new media’; the decline of the traditional media, especially newspapers; renewed pressure on public broadcasters’ finances, either the licence fees and/or advertising revenues; the new and more active role of the European Commission; and a concern over the effect of inward and outward investment on broadcasting and communications systems, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Despite these common issues of concern, it is important to observe also that radical changes in the media system in post-communist Eastern European countries have brought about transformations in the ways in which they are organized and run. The old communist-style of control has given way to competitive media systems, though there is evidence to suggest that these transformations have not necessarily given rise to pluralist media. In fact, linkages between businesses formed out of the collapse of the communist era and media power appear to constitute obstacles to reform and freedom (see Vidal-Hall, 2009).

Some of the changes which have taken place came about as a result of many interconnecting factors and can be understood as part of larger processes that have rendered the media global. They are global in the sense of being better understood when contextualized within larger transnational processes. These include international, national and domestic politics, technology and business but they have also been affected by ‘diplomacy’ and ‘industrial policy’, since negotiations among states and between states and regional organizations (such as the negotiations around GATS, the WTO and the EU) have become, at least since the mid-1980s, part of the modern media (see also Puppis, 2008). Moreover, the current financial crisis may foster protectionist behaviour and bring back industrial policy as the main initiator of communications policy in Europe, especially as regards the new media and audiovisual programme production.

In this respect one has to consider the role of the European Union and the processes of European integration leading towards the Europeanization, or EU-ization, of the whole communications sector on the continent. In effect, there is common agreement that the process of European integration has called into question many features associated with more traditional models that explored the state of individual national politics and policies (Cole and Drake, 2000; Ladrech, 1994). In the 1950s and 1960s, a common approach was to consider the impact of spillovers from economic integration into the political realm, but it is now accepted that it is necessary to examine (and understand) the ‘transformative power of Europe’ (Risse, 2003). The EU, through its very existence and its actions, may thus be seen as helping to reshape the nature of Europe itself. Although it is often difficult to disentangle the impact of European integration from other causes of policy change, such as economic globalization, changing policy fashions and endogenous political reforms, Europe is, for many, more than just an ill-defined and ill-conceived idea. Ulrich Beck, for example, sees it as a bulwark against globalization and the power of the USA – ‘without Europe there is no answer to globalization’ (Beck, 1999) – and Zigmunt Bauman believes that ‘Europe still has much to offer in dealing with the great challenges that face us in the twenty-first century’ (Bauman, 2004). In their eyes, and in the eyes of many, Europe stands for something – and something that is quite different from other states and state systems.

Within European and international relations studies, there is a fast-growing and vast academic literature on the development and transformation of the EU polity and policies and on the impact of European integration and international regimes and organizations on the domestic structures of member states and non-members alike. In particular, processes labelled as ‘Europeanization’ have come under scrutiny from different theoretical perspectives (Goetz and Hix, 2000; Kohler-Koch, 1999; Ward, 2004; Humphreys, 2007), though the discussions have not yet given rise to ‘a single and precise definition’ (Lenschow, 2006: 57; Olsen, 2002: 923; Graziano and Vink, 2007).

In essence, the idea of ‘Europeanization’ touches on the ways in which national ‘domestic policies, politics and polities’ (Börzel and Risse, 2000: 1), as well as institution-building or institutional change, policy-making procedures and styles at the member state level, are, or have been, affected by policies created at EU level. It can thus be understood as a complex process of political change – i.e. of ‘transfer’ of policies across member states (Featherstone and Radaelli, 2003). A suitable working definition of Europeanization remains that offered by Ladrech, namely: ‘Europeanization is an incremental process reorienting the direction and shape of politics to the degree that EC political and economic dynamics become part of the organizational logic of national politics and policymaking’ (1994: 70). An example of such a reorientation would be the ‘large-scale policy transfer . . . involved in . . . the body of European legislation that candidate countries must accept before joining the Union’ (Radaelli, 2000: 26–7; see also Bauer et al., 2007). But, beyond such obvious examples of transfers of policies, it has been argued by Green Cowles, Caporaso and Risse that ‘there has been very little systematic study of why, how and under what conditions Europeanization shapes a variety of domestic structures in a number of countries’ (2001: 3). There remains, in other words, much more detailed research to be done so as to be able to identify specific processes and flows, particularly as these take different shape in different member states.

Some commentators have therefore argued that public policies within the EU can be understood as a two-way process in which member states ‘upload’ their preferences to Brussels via negotiations and ‘download’ them from various EU policy menus (Bugdahn, 2005: 178). In this way, the EU is recognized as a ‘complex organization where the national and European levels are increasingly intermeshed in a pattern of multi-level governance. No longer is the EU necessarily destined to develop teleologically towards a unified political community: its outcomes and impact at the national level are much more contingent and uncertain’ (Buller, 2003: 528). Within these processes of change, it becomes possible to recognize that it is not only the European Commission but also its individual member states and commissioners who can serve as ‘agents for change’ working towards the creation of a single market in political and strategic ways (Jabko, 2006).

These wide-ranging discussions about the meaning of Europeanization suggest that the complexity of the process and its outcomes are by no means predetermined. Europeanization has numerous dimensions, and it is worth considering these and how they have impacted on the creation and transfer of audiovisual media policy.

Dimensions of Europeanization

It should be obvious that there is much more to Europeanization than the idea that it concerns the process of ‘domestic adaptation to the pressures emanating directly or indirectly from EU membership’ (Featherstone, 2003, quoted in Smaele, 2007: 129). On the one hand, there is a matter of structural and institutional alignment with the EU governance structure; on the other, there is a broader question of the implementation of policies deriving from the EU. There needs to be recognition of the duality of the process in question.

In his work on Europeanization, Johan Olsen (2002: 923–4) distinguishes five possible uses of the term in respect of structural considerations:

changes in external boundaries: This involves the territorial reach of a system of governance and the degree to which Europe as a continent becomes a single political space. For example, Europeanization is taking place as the EU expands through enlargement.

the development of institutions at the European level: This relates to the creation and operation of bodies to coordinate and enforce policies that draw on the EU’s principles.

the central penetration of national systems of governance: Europeanization here involves the division of responsibilities and powers between different levels of governance. All multilevel systems of governance need to work out a balance between unity and diversity, central coordination and local autonomy. Europeanization, then, implies adapting national and sub-national systems of governance to a European political centre and European-wide norms.

exporting forms of political organization: Europeanization as exporting forms of political organization and governance beyond European territory. It signifies a more positive export–import balance as non-European countries import more from Europe than vice versa and European solutions exert more influence in international forums.

a political unification project: The degree to which Europe is becoming a more unified and stronger political entity is related to territorial space, centre-building, domestic adaptation, and how European developments impact and are impacted by systems of governance and events outside the continent.

While these dimensions of Europeanization point to the creation of a more integrated governance structure, in practice there are possible disjunctures between them: a politically stronger Europe does not, for example, lead to a closer cultural Europe. More pertinently, as the EU has expanded outwards it has created a larger infrastructure at the same time as having allowed for greater differences. As Smaele has observed in this regard: ‘More Europe, therefore, basically adds more of the same: more diversity but also unity in diversity’ (2007: 131).

But the concern wiTheuropeanization as an issue about structures – i.e. What new structures or forms of governance does it bring about? – has to be complemented by a concern wiTheuropeanization as an issue about policies. Namely, how are policies created and how do they then become (or not) part of the policy regime of member states? In this respect, one has to take into consideration a narrower dimension of Europeanization, so-called EU-ization (Flockhart, 2010). EU-ization differs from Europeanization on account of its

focus on the EU and because it is predominantly concerned with ‘political encounters’, where specific political entities such as the EU and Member State representatives engage in the transfer of institutional and organizational practices and policies. EU-ization is a small, but important part of the much broader and longer term process of Europeanization, which is predominantly concerned with ‘cultural encounters’. (Ibid.: 790–1)

Changes in EU laws and treaties have undoubtedly modified national traditions of policy-making and the freedom of manoeuvre of national decision-makers. This can be seen in many areas of economic and social life, although national traditions do often reassert themselves strongly in the form of strategies for resisting change and in the details of implementation. Th at tension is well described by Peter Humphreys:

collectively . . . member states have sought to retain primary responsibility for media policy, with the EU relegated to a supportive role. The Commission, on the other hand, acting as a ‘purposeful opportunist’ . . . and as a ‘policy entrepreneur’ . . . has sought both to expand its competences and to coordinate a European response to the new international market and technological challenges. (Humphreys, 2007: 185)

The outcomes of these interplays have obviously varied from one sector to another. While the processes of Europeanization have modified the public policies, political agendas and governing styles of national political actors, they have also had to meet the challenges to those changes from within member states (see Ward, 2004: 121). As Bugdahn (2005: 178–9) notes, one should thus be able to assess whether and to what extent EU policies have been implemented; implementation could be considered as a first stage of Europeanization, since the member states ‘have the option of adopting new or preserving existing domestic legislation that influences also the operational context of the transposing legislation’. Bugdahn therefore defines the ‘Europeanization of a policy area as a situation in which actors at the EU level have taken a policy decision with the intention . . . to prescribe or influence the choice of a member state’s policy/administrative option in a policy area’ (ibid.: 180).

This can be likened to what Cole and Drake (2000: 27) refer to as independent variable, whereby it can be demonstrated that the EU has produced change in specific policy sectors and that national institutions and actors participate more intensively in the EU decision-making process. Another form of Europeanization mentioned by Cole and Drake is one of emulative policy transfer – i.e. as a process by which policies and practices are copied by one member state from another (see Humphreys, 2002). Europeanization is perhaps a misnomer here, since it could be seen as a process whereby member states are influenced by strong national models rather than a European one, though it is possible that such a model may provide a framework for EU policies. Policy transfer, however, is constrained when there are no national cases to be imitated, as in the case of media ownership. For example, EU member states such as the UK, Italy, the Netherlands and, to a certain extent, France and Germany, one after the other, have started forming regulatory authorities which have been strongly influenced by the example of the US Federal Communications Commission.

As Cole and Drake (2000: 27) also point out, Europeanization has been used as a smokescreen for domestic political strategies and as a powerful domestic political resource for driving through change. A controversial example here would be the way in which a particular construction of Europe can be used as a means of blocking or encouraging change in candidate member states. For instance, the EU, through the Commission, asks, if not demands, that candidate countries align their media systems in general and broadcasting in particular with the EU directives (Rosenbaum, 2003). Eastern European countries were also given prerequisites for EU membership, including, for example, adjusting their broadcasting systems to the ‘Television without Frontiers’ (TWF) Directive and transforming their state television companies to Western-style public service broadcasters.

If the broad outlines of Europeanization have been explored at some length – here and elsewhere – are the outcomes of Europeanization straightforward and unproblematic? The immediate response is to accept that, despite the tangible outcomes (Radaelli, 2000) or impacts (Lodge, 2002), neither its pace nor its direction is entirely predictable. Sometimes the EU can influence domestic administrative arrangements (Lippert et al., 2001: 981–2) and may trigger domestic change by prescribing concrete institutional requirements with which the member states must comply. This can be seen as a form of positive integration. At times, by changing the distribution of power and resources between domestic actors, it may have less of a direct and positive influence. This can be termed a form of negative integration. A third possibility is that the EU influences national arrangements even more indirectly, by altering the beliefs and expectations of domestic actors. For example, as Humphreys notes:

the Europeanization of telecommunications policy and regulation has occurred less because of the Europeanizing policies of national policy makers or the European Commission, but rather as a result of the strategies of key private economic interests reacting to the challenges presented by . . . globalisation, technological change and the ‘crisis of Fordism’. (2002: 65)

Interestingly, Humphreys adds another layer of analysis of EU policy-making that needs to be considered, and this touches on the content of policies per se. As he points out (Humphreys, 2007: 199), EU policy can lower barriers as well as raise them, can bring things down to a lower common denominator as well as seek to ‘improve’ matters. For this reason, he terms the former negative integration and the latter positive integration. The inability of the European Union to deal with the plethora of issues surrounding the maintenance of pluralism in media he sees as ‘highly illustrative of the EU’s liberal bias towards negative integration. It exemplifies the difficulty that the Commission encounters in pursuing more interventionist cultural and social policies (positive integration) that confront powerful vested economic interests and challenge member states’ claims of primary competence for media policy’ (ibid.).

In making such judgements about the aims, objectives and content of EU policies themselves, Humphreys opens up a debate about the ways in which they are open to interpretation. For example, his conclusions about the ‘liberal bias’ of the EU are not shared by David Ward, who suggests that, though its policies are painted as being ‘overly economically liberal’, in fact they have ‘a dualism between the economic benefits of developing a common market for television and certain fundamental human rights’ (2004: 122). One of his examples is that of the support for media pluralism at a pan-European rather than a national level, where liberal strategies often dominate. The same sorts of differences of views can be found in respect of the EU’s position regarding public service broadcasting, where some see the unwillingness to confront ‘state aid’ as a sign of support while others, such as Harrison and Wood (2007), are less sanguine.

However one sees these kinds of discussions, it should be clear by now that we are looking at an extremely complex set of considerations. There is, first, the matter of the direction of influence: it could be ‘bottom-up (that is, from member state→EU), top-down (EU→member state), horizontal (state→state) and round about (member state→EU→member state)’ (Lenschow, 2006: 57). One can also envisage Europeanization as a two-stage process: one from above, orchestrated from Brussels, and confined to formal members (in this case it could be said that it could be narrowed to either EU Europeanization or EU-ization); and one from below, covering the whole European continent, where an equally large number of countries are still non-members (which does not make them any less ‘European’).

The second matter to consider is how influence is reconstituted into some form of impact, be it a new structure of governance or rules, a new way of implementing directives or perhaps even stalling on these. The third matter to consider is whether the influence and transference into some measurable impact is positive or negative in the sense that Peter Humphreys has set out. Do these lead to a ‘better’ and ‘higher’ and more ‘laudable’ policy regime or do they simply lower the barriers?

The real problem in trying to deal with these complexities is that the EU, though unified, has to balance competing interests. There is a rich diversity in language, culture, economic preferences, administrative methods, and political and social priorities across the twenty-seven member states. These have tended to be magnified by the intense and often conflictual bargaining process in Brussels. The latter creates what is a dominant feature of the EU’s policy-making procedure – i.e. its emphasis on finding a balance between the opinions of interested parties in order to arrive at a consensus and then a common approach towards the international environment (Th atcher, 2004; Michalis, 2007). This is almost certainly what has happened in the communications field: larger European countries created pressure for change and therefore for new policies; the negotiation process that followed brought forth a compromise which, in turn, led to a directive that was intended to be applied in all the member states. We can trace this process in respect of the EU’s involvement in the communications field, initially in the television system, then in telecommunications and finally in information and communications technology and digitalization. While the question of its competence in these matters has continued to fascinate many commentators, there is now no doubt that the EU has fully embraced the entire communication sector – from old ‘audiovisual’ media right through to the ‘global information society’ (see also Humphreys, 2007; Harrison and Woods, 2007; Richardson, 2006).

The media seem to provide a good example of the process of EU-ization and of policy transfer, since they reflect and reveal a ‘permanent state of reconstruction and reconstitution’ (Flockhart, 2010: 805). The EU, through the European Commission, has both initiated a number of initiatives in the media field and assumed that, since the new convergent communication landscape raises a number of questions with a pan-European dimension, it is the appropriate body to deal with these (see chapter 4).

On the other hand, the European media are part and parcel of the global media. In effect, as Jeremy Tunstall notes (2008: 8–10), the world’s media can be seen as operating at the following five levels:


the world or global level;


the world region (or group of nation-states) level, such as South Asia, East Asia, the Arab world and Euro-America (including the entire European and American continents);


the national level;


the national region level, such as the cases of Germany, Spain, Pakistan and recently China and India;


the very local level.

For Tunstall there are many media connections, big and small, between Europe and the Americas, and this is especially noticeable in international news, entertainment formats, news channels, advertising agencies, magazines, music, radio and TV station ownership, book publishing, and satellite and cable TV, as well as internet platforms (ibid.: 8–9, 282–4, 410–11).

The case of European media belongs to what Tunstall calls a world region, yet the media systems can also be considered at the national level, since there are many nationally bounded systems as well as smaller states within the European continent which communicate wiTheach other despite their differences. In effect, there is a dialectic relationship between the national and the international, the global and the local, the European and the regional, and the old media and new media. These are not simply a consequence of processes of globalization but also outcomes of technological change, policy-making and economics which help give shape to the new world and to the media order. Nevertheless, as Humphreys and Padget (2006: 384) have noted:

Globalizing technology intensifies international competition and renders territorially defined markets indefensible. The more intense these pressures, the more likely it is that political and economic actors will accept the rationale for regulatory reform on the basis of the need to remain economically competitive. Market dynamism leads actors to accept liberalization more readily. In growth markets, competition is a ‘positive sum game,’ and attention is focused on the opportunities of liberalization rather than the threats.

The case of the European media is unique for one other reason. Although the aim of policy-makers is to increase European interactions and trans-border communication, what one sees is an increase of communication at the local/national rather than the European level. This is even the case with the internet, since there is much more internet traffic within national borders than across member states, and in some cases the traffic is higher with the USA.

We wish to argue, therefore, that the process of Europeanization and of European integration can be seen as an extension of the globalization debate, since the EU offers a set of unique mechanisms for enabling its member states to manage their relations within the Union and the global order. In the case of the media, Europe in general and the EU in particular has provided institutional and financial support for promoting research and development, innovation, education, and other skills that could insulate the media industry from the dislocations of globalization. In effect, the EU operates as a regional international organization that manages the processes of globalization for its member states and works tirelessly to prevent the processes and impacts of globalization being defined either by the United States or by other regional powers. For its newer members, in particular the post-communist Eastern European countries, the European Union is not so much a defensive mechanism as a means of becoming more global and participating in processes of globalization. The EU thus not only opens up new markets to these member states but provides structural funds that enable them to emerge from their relative isolation.

By and large, the EU has managed to affect the pathways of globalization in ways that are not against the interests of member states. It can make a difference in respect of global issues (Laïdi, 2008). As Castells (2000: 339) has noted, Europe is ‘the network state’, with competing visions mediating between global and local spaces, while

European integration is, at the same time, a reaction to the process of globalization and its most advanced expression. It is proof that the global economy is not an undifferentiated system made up of firms and capital flows, but a regionalized structure in which old national institutions and new supranational entities still play a major role in organizing economic competition, and in reaping, or spoiling, the benefits of it. . . . while most economic activity and most jobs in the world are national, regional, or even local, the core, strategic economic activities are globally integrated in the Information Age through electronically enacted networks of exchange of capital, commodities, and information. It is this global integration that induces and shapes the current process of European unification, on the basis of European institutions h istorically constituted around predominantly political goals. (Ibid.: 348)

Within this framework, the media in Europe are being increasingly forged by forces that are outside national geographic or political borders, yet there are important questions about the extent to which they can be seen as European media. In what ways do they represent the commonness of the European ‘project’? Do they begin to reflect something unique and European or are they no more than separate media systems within a geographic and political entity that is defined as European? These sorts of questions are becoming increasingly important, as the framework of the EU has now expanded to include a range of countries that have often been considered to be at the fringes (or outside) of commonly understood notions of what Europe means or is.

The media in Europe still function as national media, despite attempts to bring them closer in terms of either regulatory systems or content. Th is is understandable. What is more of a puzzle is why the media in Europe – and often the public in Europe – lack a European orientation. In the 2009 European Parliament election, for example, the Euro-sceptic and Euro-phobic tendencies made some important gains in numerous countries – for example, Austria, the UK and the Czech Republic – without encountering any proactive or positive countering moves from European policy-makers. Even the negative public responses towards the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty have been met by somewhat feeble and unconvincing actions. Europe thus continues to offer the best place for examining processes of technological and cultural change within a regional and global context.

But this is not quite the end of the story. There is also the question of the underlying infrastructure over which all media content must travel (Noam, 2008). Europe in general and the EU countries in particular have entered a new era of challenges which have to be faced. They have to compete once again for both hardware (networks and infrastructure) and content. As in the past, consumer demand has been taken for granted, with the ‘consumer choice’ argument once again playing a dominant role in all new media developments. In the 1980s, cable TV was considered the ideal technology to end centralized television systems as well as a technology that would encourage interpersonal communication and democracy. In the last decade, the same arguments have returned but are now applied to different technologies or conceptualizations of communication, such as the ‘wired society’ or the ‘information society’. But this rhetoric has paid little attention to the citizen-viewer, even though policies are meant to take him/her into consideration. Yet, as the trends in European media consumption show, Europeans appear to pursue a different path from the one the media industry would wish for. The rapid decline of the press and the increased use of blogs and videos on websites is an indication of this, wiTheuropean households spending as much as 20 per cent of their budgets on media and entertainment for internet access and mobile media.

The organization of the book

This book seeks to present an account of the contemporary media field, focusing on the trends as well as on the problems faced by the media in Europe. It covers a broad spread of media markets, highlighting the new sectors that are emerging and outlining the factors driving the media business into the twenty-first century. It examines the current structure of the various sectors that make up the European media market (broadcasting, the press, the internet), identifies and assesses the major players and issues, and provides an overview of each sector of the industry.

The argument here is that Europe continues to offer the best place for examining global media processes. In doing so, it aims:


to describe the issues, the dynamics and the realities of the European media sector by synthesizing the most up-to-date information on developments. Although much of the focus will be on the Western European media, attention will also be paid to the media of the newer member states;


to critically assess whether we are seeing the emergence of European media or simply the continuation of separate national media in a European context;


to explore debates about the role of the media in the formation of a European public sphere and a European identity.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the structure of the European media. Chapter 2 aims to describe some of the basic structural dimensions of the media in Europe. It provides an overview of the common characteristics as well as those that distinguish systems one from the other, and from the rest of the world. It examines how the media in Europe operate alongside one another and explores developments in the face of global competition and global deregulation.

Chapter 3 discusses developments in the new media in Europe, and in particular in the areas of digital television, internet penetration, internet protocol television (IPTV) development and mobile television. It argues that, as with the case of analogue cable and satellite television in the 1980s, the development of digital media is associated with industrial policy considerations rather than with realistic estimates, and, most importantly, it does not often take into account the reactions of viewers – although all interested parties argue that this time they have taken consumer demand seriously into consideration.

The second part of the book focuses on the Europeanization of the media. Chapter 4 argues that, in the last thirty years, the EU has sought to initiate policies to ‘Europeanize’ the whole communication sector of its member states, if not the European continent. These policies, also discussed at length in this chapter, with their strong industrial policy elements and considerations, have sought to harmonize as well as to protect the media sector and to make it competitive both in the internal European market and in the global market. Additionally, they have tried to protect European cultural identity from the ‘American challenge’. Chapter 4 argues, therefore, that, as with other sectors of European economy and society, the EU, through an incremental policy process and ongoing modernization of its regulatory framework, has expanded its acquis communautaire to most aspects of the communication landscape, from TV advertising and programme quotas to production, distribution and training, from the definition of European works to cultural and linguistic diversity, from copyright protection to the protection of minors, from telecommunications to the convergence of the media and digital television.

Chapter 5 argues that the proliferation of media outlets in relation to the convergence and digitalization of the media communications sector has already transformed the European sector. One witnesses not only changes in the number of media experiences, with more choices and more content for consumers, but also many new patterns of content production and consumption. Nevertheless, the traditional media, principally television, continue to work in traditional ways, and the concerns within Europe, especially within the EU, are related to imports of content from foreign countries, especially the USA. The first part of the chapter discusses new developments in industries producing content and taking advantage from convergence and digitalization, while the second focuses on aspects of television programming.

The last two chapters of the book form its third section, which deals with the political and cultural dimension of Europe and the EU. Chapter 7 examines the arguments as to whether there is a European public sphere. It sets out the key debates surrounding this question and the evidence that seeks either to support or to deny its existence. In seeking to do this, the chapter deals with broader questions relating to what is common – or different – across Europe. Chapter 8 explores the concept of ‘Europe’ and ‘Europeanness’ and asks how the media cover subjects that raise issues about the boundaries – physical, cultural, political – of Europe. The sorts of questions that are raised include not only what, or where, the ‘West’ and/or ‘Europe’ is, but also how the ‘West’ or ‘Europe’ crystallized as an idea, as an identity. It draws on contemporary research on a range of topics that highlight the ways and means the media use – or do not use – to enable the construction of a European identity. Topics treated are accession talks (of Turkey, for example), the coverage of the EU in the media, the organization of journalists in European political centres, and so on. By focusing on these issues, the chapter draws attention to key concerns about the nature of the European media and the extent to which they play a part in defining the meaning of Europe.

The final chapter, Chapter 9, summarizes the arguments developed in the book and provides a way of answering the key question that underpins this analysis: Are there different and separate media sectors in Europe or can one say that there is an emerging European media sector?

Part I

The Political Economy of Media in Europe


The Structure of (Old) Media in Europe

The media in Europe have changed dramatically over the past two decades. The principal media have experienced different fortunes: while the number of television channels has undoubtedly multiplied within an increasingly commercial environment, the newspaper industry is showing signs of serious decline. The media in Europe are being reshaped, as elsewhere, by technological change, increased competition and consolidation and, though perhaps to a lesser extent, a process of ‘Europeanization’. These developments are essentially altering the dynamics of the long-established and existing media systems and helping to give a new shape to the emerging ones.

This chapter will provide an overview of media systems in Europe.

Media models