European media industries make an important contribution to the democratic, cultural and economic life in Europe. As provided by the Council conclusions on the strengthening of European content in the digital economy, the content-producing and content-distributing sectors are essential pillars of Europe’s social and economic development. The quality and diversity of European content are inherent to European identity and essential for democracy and social inclusion, as well as for vibrant and competitive European media, cultural and creative industries. These sectors also reinforce Europe’s soft power globally. With their crossover effects, they foster innovation, creativity and wealth in other areas. 

However, the rapid growth of online campaigning and online platforms has also opened up new vulnerabilities and made it more difficult to maintain the integrity of elections, ensuring a free and plural media, and protect the democratic process from disinformation and other manipulation. 

The importance of data and its analysis in driving successful business is apparent on multiple levels. For instance, a key differentiator for Netflix is its ability to leverage user data and sophisticated algorithms to make recommendations.  Facebook, Google and Amazon increasingly dominate not just digital, but all advertising due to their ability to use large-scale user data and behaviour to drive continuous, incremental gains for every advertising Euro invested.

A first phase of this Pilot Project (SMART 2019/0094) was launched in 2020 to provide European policy makers with the essential elements to assess the long-term sustainability of European B2B and potentially B2C content creation and distribution platform for quality media, based on high quality standards and European values. This second phase of the Pilot Project requires the production of a feasibility study on the opportunities for the creation of media data space(s). The consortium considers the media data space(s) to be the backend of the platform. In order for the second phase to complement the first phase, we will rely on the experience of Europe’s MediaLab which plays a crucial role in the feasible study together with other consortium partners, of PWC Italy, Carsa, KU Leuven (Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven (Centre for IT and IP Law) and Intellera Consulting. This study is funded by the European Commission.



The digital shift has seriously challenged the economic viability of media organisations in Europe. The European media sector struggles with its comparatively small scale and fragmented markets due to various factors, including linguistic and cultural barriers and often struggles to offer cross-border content creation and distribution solutions to EU citizens. It currently lacks the ability to compete and build strong positions in the EU markets compared to the increasingly powerful digital platforms acting as digital “gatekeepers”. These are platforms that have a significant impact on the internal market, serve as an important gateway for business users to reach their customers. This can grant them the power to act as private rule-makers and to function as bottlenecks between businesses and consumers. 

In this reality, all European media actors must adapt their business strategies, develop new skills, broaden their knowledge, rethink the structure of their organisations and evaluate their financing and production/distribution models.The presence of only a few gatekeepers, and the disappearance of many traditional and local media, may be a driver of excessive homogeneity of the sources of news and qualified opinions, which thus negatively affects the quality of information.

Especially, in the European Union context, the capacity to act together and to respond together to the economic challenges of online platforms and to the disinformation challenges becomes a necessity.