How EU citizens consume content in the new media landscape

How EU citizens consume content in the new media landscape

Building on the challenges that communicators must overcome to reach European citizens—fragmented media use, the rise of populist narratives, and an influx of unreliable AI-generated “news”—let’s explore how the EU can maintain consistency, visibility, and relevance in this rapidly evolving context.

First, we know that how Europeans consume content is changing, with increasing numbers of people moving away from more traditional media, including some established social media channels. However, according to Deloitte’s recent Digital Media Trends report, future digital disruption won’t come just from streaming, social, and gaming. It will also come from the ways these media and their technologies are being weaved together and enabling new combinations.

Europeans currently consume a wide range of content across various platforms, with blockchain-based platforms gaining prominence as they are harder to regulate and control. For example, social media platforms often serve as primary news sources, while Facebook functions as a community chat hub. And AI systems engage users on Discord instead of setting up their own system to connect with users.

It's true that television remains a dominant channel, yet the definition of “watching television” has also evolved. European audiences are using a broad range of devices to access premium video content, including set-top-box video-on-demand (30%), mobile (29%), CTV or Connected TV (26%), and desktop (15%). And viewers are tuning into premium video content at different moments and for different purposes: from using a laptop or tablet to catch up with their favourite series on-the-go, to watching a family movie in their living room.

What’s more, 78% of European audiences watch significantly more video-on-demand (VOD) content than live content (22%). And among the audiences that use VOD, 68% tune in to long-form video entertainment, highlighting the enduring popularity of this format. At the same time, over 30% still favour short-form content—reflecting the complexity of the situation for communicators.

What can we draw from this? Regardless of screen size, it’s clear that video or audiovisual (AV) content is being widely consumed in new and, at times, surprising ways. Communicators need to dig into these new interactions and forge new connections between formats, which have often been viewed separately in the past.

We can learn a lot from how successful AV content creators keep their viewers watching. Weekly TV episodes foster stronger and more enduring communities than binged box sets, using cliffhangers to engage viewers and create a shared moment where the public is left guessing. Both fiction and nonfiction programs use these tricks to extend their reach beyond usual AV formats. They are also using multiple channels—such as an accompanying podcast, or a fact-checking site that verifies ideas and myths raised by the series—for promotion and interaction.

In this way, a whole “solar system” of content based on video can be created. This approach harnesses the diversity of citizens’ consumption and uses it as a strength, a means of passing consistent messages and building connection—and trust—over time. This connection would be forged through offering different kinds of content: entertainment (parodies/spoofs or memes), content that answers a question or expounds on a topical issue (how-to guides or explainer videos), or that provokes reflection or introduces relevant new ideas (opinion pieces or TED-style talks). In short, content that would both appeal to citizens and meet their everyday needs and interests.

So, how do we get there? We’ll take this solar system idea and develop it further in the final article in this series.

Meet the authors
  1. Geert Stox, Head of Strategy, ICF Next

    Geert is a strategic communications and brand management expert with more than 25 years of experience in global brands, innovation, and consumer behavior. View bio

  2. Elizabeth Tapper, Senior Content Designer and Strategist

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