Media Innovation in Europe and Reinvention of Audiences: Between Citizens and Consumers


  • Iva Nenadić University of Zagreb, Faculty of Political Science, Zagreb / Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, European University Institute, Florence
  • Alina Ostling GLOBALCIT Programme, European University Institute, Florence


Media Business Innovation, Crowdfunding, Paywalls, Participation, Citizens, Consumers


Technological transformation has provided conditions for people to engage in different stages of news production, as never before. With this in mind, this paper explores whether the media and journalists across Europe in their attempt to innovate the news business model reconsider their relations to users. More specifically, we question whether this innovation seeks to address users primarily as citizens or as consumers. The analysis is based on the data collected by national research teams through the project Media Pluralism Monitor 2016, implemented in EU:28, Montenegro and Turkey. The results show that the most visible attempts of innovation are crowdfunding/crowdsourcing and paywalls, which can be seen as a turn to audiences to compensate for a loss in advertising revenues. At the same time, only a few initiatives re-invent their relationship with audiences by giving them more decision-making powers (be it related to content or to their business strategy). Audiences are to a great extent still treated simply as paying consumers, and the level of participation remains limited.