Media use in the EU countries

| 3 december 2015

In a European comparison, the people of the Nordic countries are fairly avid radio listeners and readers of written press, but watch traditional TV at an EU average level or slightly less. As for Internet-related activities such as watching TV via the Internet, using online social networks or the Internet on the whole, the Nordics are at the top, according to the Eurobarometer surveys.

International comparisons of media use are difficult, as ratings systems differ. However, the Eurobarometer points at some patterns in Europeans’ media use. As data refer to EU members only, Nordic data are available for Denmark, Finland and Sweden (data on media trust include Iceland as well).

Data on daily TV viewing do not indicate any great differences between countries. In most countries, eight or nine of ten watch TV on a daily/almost daily basis. A rough interpretation is that countries in southern Europe watch TV above the EU average and in northern Europe below – with exceptions in both categories. Internet-added TV viewing is 1 to 7 per cent, with the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, at the higher end of the scale.

Daily radio listening shows greater differences between countries, ranging from three of ten to eight of ten daily listeners. The pattern is opposite to that of television: countries in northern Europe listen more, southern countries less. The category of written press shows as great differences as radio and approximately the same pattern for northern and southern Europe.

Internet use is highest in the Nordic countries and other northern Europe, with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden being the most avid users (86-88 per cent, daily/almost daily use), followed by Finland in fourth place (74 per cent). The Danish and Swedish populations are the most avid social network users of the EU countries, with over half of their populations using a social network on a daily/almost daily basis.

Read more: Standard Eurobarometer 82, November 2014, Annex (PDF)

Tables in Nordicom’s table database, based on the Standard Eurobarometer 82 (Excel files):
Media use - press, radio, TV, Internet, social media – in the EU 2014
Television viewing via TV set and/or the Internet in the EU 2014
Trust in written press, radio, TV, Internet and social media in the EU 2014

About the Eurobarometer: Surveys by the Public Opinion Analysis sector of the European Commission, which address topics concerning European citizenship: enlargement, social situation, culture, information technology, environment, etc. Data on media use and trust are normally included in the Standard Eurobarometer’s autumn surveys; see Annex. Special Eurobarometers can also be media-related, e.g. Special Eurobarometer 414 “E-Communications and Telecom Single Market Household Survey”.