New figures reveal Europe now watches more TV than America

'The Queen’s Gambit' played a key part in the rise in consumption in Europe

New figures have revealed that Europe now watches more television than America.

According to a Glance (Global Audience & Content Evolution) presentation at MipTV, both Europe and South America have now overtaken North America as the largest regions globally for daily TV consumption.

“Globally you see that TV consumption remains very stable since 1982. The difference comes from the different regions,” said Glance VP Frédéric Vaulpré. “What is striking is to see that now, the number one region in terms of TV consumption is Europe, followed by South America.”


Average global daily TV consumption last year sat at the two hours and 54 minutes mark, as per Glance’s research, which sees a six-minute increase on the 2019 average.

Europe was the region with the largest increase, with an average of 15 minutes per day, while North America saw a decline of eight minutes in daily TV consumption last year. The US did, however, register a 10 per cent viewing bump in April 2020, coinciding with the earliest enforcement of social distancing measures across the country.

The Queen’s Gambit played a key part in the rise in TV consumption in Europe. The Anya-Taylor Joy-starring chess drama was the most-viewed Netflix series in Q4 in four of the continent’s largest markets (the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy).

Other top shows that were among the most-viewed included The Crown, How To Get Away With Murder and Emily In Paris.

In the second half of the Glance presentation, it looked at the strongest series launches of 2020 and any trends that appeared.


According to Avril Blondelot, Glance’s insight director, acquired series fared better than local originals in a lot of markets. While top local launches across 32 of the largest global territories were down by around 18 per cent in average rating, the launch ratings for top acquired series in virtually the same territories were up 97 per cent compared to the previous year.

Pointing out that political dramas, cop series, and escapist dramas were three TV genres that travelled the best in 2020, Blondelot said that The Masked Singer was a huge draw on the unscripted front.

The Masked Singer continues to roll out across countries with very strong success,” she said. “It’s appearing as the top launch in three countries, and in 12 countries it was one of the best five format launches of the year.”

Looking ahead, Blondelot said that 40 per cent of the top launches in 2020 premiered in Q1, meaning that a good deal of the biggest hits for this year might have already hit screens.

If true, darkly complex cop stories and cold case dramas could prove a huge success in 2021, given the large audiences delivered by The Pembrokeshire Murders in the UK, and The Promise in France.

Meanwhile, LGBTQ representation on TV has fallen for the first time in five years, according to an annual report by LGBTQ advocacy organisation GLAAD.