January 28, 2016

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What Influences the Influencers? 2016 EU Media Poll findings unveiled

The Financial Times tops the list of “very influential” media among Brussels decision-makers and opinion-formers, but new title POLITICO and the BBC are the most-read sources of EU news among these groups.

These are the headline findings from the ComRes/Burson-Marsteller 2016 EU Media Poll on ‘What Influences the Influencers’, a survey into the preferred news sources and social media channels used by MEPs, EU officials and opinion-formers in Brussels.

The results of the survey were unveiled at the Brussels Press Club today by Katharine Peacock, Managing Director of ComRes, a communications research agency, and Karen Massin, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Brussels, a leading public affairs and communications agency.

The survey invited respondents to identify the EU and national media that they most often read, the social media they most frequently use and to assess the impact these sources and channels have on their decision-making.

Download the press releases: English, French.

Burson-Marsteller’s five takeaways from the survey

See the ComRes presentation

See poll tables


POLITICO and the BBC are the most-read media by policy-makers and opinion formers in Brussels.

Half of Brussels influencers say they read POLITICO (52%) or the BBC (51%) at least once a week. Two in five say the same about EurActiv (42%) and the Financial Times (39%), three in ten about The Economist (30%), and one in five about EUobserver (22%).

MEPs tend to be more likely than the other groups to read the Financial Times or the Economist, while EU officials tend to be more likely to read EUobserver, and Brussels opinion-formers are more likely to read EurActiv and the Economist.


When it comes to the influence of news channels and social media on decision making in their day-to-day professional work, half of Brussels influencers say the BBC (51%) is influential. A similar proportion say the same about Twitter (49%), the Financial Times (48%), the Economist (48%) and POLITICO (45%). The figures are rounded-up and aggregate the score of media cited as very or fairly influential.

A quarter of respondents (25%) stated the Financial Times is “very influential”. The FT is followed in this ranking by Twitter (20%), The Economist (16%), the BBC and POLITICO (both 15%), then Facebook (12%).


Facebook is the most frequently used social media channel of Brussels influencers, with half (52%) saying they use it at least daily, followed by Twitter (35%), YouTube (20%), LinkedIn (13%) and Instagram (7%).

The data highlights that MEPs in particular favour Facebook, with seven in ten (69%) saying they use the network at least daily.

Speaking at today’s launch of the survey, Karen Massin commented: “It is striking that social media is now seen as important as traditional news as a go-to source of information that influences EU decision-makers. Secondly, we see that national titles do not register among the most important media – only 5% or less respondents cited any national publication as a weekly-read or influential source of EU news.”

ComRes Managing Director Katharine Peacock added: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Burson-Marsteller Brussels to produce this very timely and comprehensive survey on the Brussels media scene. It shows that decision-makers in Brussels rely on a diverse range of news sources and social media channels, including niche titles.”



ComRes interviewed 249 ‘Brussels Influencers’ in Brussels between 27 October 2015 and 18 January 2016. The sample includes 77 Members of the European Parliament; 86 officials from the European Commission, the European Parliament Secretariat, the Council, EU agencies and the Permanent Representations of the Member States; and 86 opinion formers including journalists and representatives from think-tanks and trade associations. Data for MEPs were weighted by party group and region to be representative of the European Parliament.

Full data tables are available on the ComRes website: comres.co.uk

About ComRes

ComRes is the leading research consultancy specialising in Corporate Reputation, Public Policy and Communications. We bridge the worlds of research and communications. For more than a decade we have taken the latest developments in opinion research and tailored them to provide clients with evidence and insights, helping to inform strategies, change behaviour and define debates. ComRes won the 2014 Market Research Society (MRS) award for best Public Policy/Social Research and was a 2015 MRS awards finalist for Best Agency with a turnover of under £20m.

About Burson-Marsteller

Burson-Marsteller is a leading global public relations, communications and public affairs company, with offices worldwide. It is owned by the WPP Group, the world’s largest advertising and communications agency. Burson-Marsteller Brussels acts as the hub for Europe-wide communications campaigns. With a network of 17 offices and 24 affiliates, it provides an integrated, pan-European, full-service offering to clients. Burson-Marsteller EMEA was named EMEA Public Affairs Consultancy of the Year in 2014, and Burson-Marsteller Brussels won the SABRE EMEA Gold Award for Public Affairs Campaign of the Year 2013. We have received certificates of excellence for our editorial/communications platform Europe Decides (2015) and for events for the European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats Group (Relaunching Europe, 2014).