In July 2023, we analysed digital projects from over 25 European countries entered into the 12th Annual Lovie Awards to understand where the best work on the Internet is being made and which creative teams are behind it. The result is The Lovie Awards 2023 Industry Heat Index, an annual project showcasing which regions and companies produced the highest-awarded projects in our award programme with insights about the work. Each country and organisation is listed in numerical order, based on the number of points their work received. Gold and People’s Lovie Awards are weighed more heavily in calculations.
Winners in the Lovie Awards are determined by a point system established by our Judges in the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Academy members independently inspect each entry and rate them based on their respective judging criteria, and eventually cast ballots to determine Shortlisted, Bronze, Silver, and Gold winners. Categories may include multiple Gold, Silver, or Bronze winners depending on relative scoring. Other entries that are worthy of recognition are eligible to receive special commendation from The Academy as Shortlisted work.
Europe’s Top Countries 2023
INSIGHT: THE UK LEADS IN PODCASTING AND VIDEO
For the second year, teams based in the UK created the highest-awarded projects at the 12th Annual Lovie Awards—42% of work entered from the UK earned a Gold, Silver and Bronze recognition. Social video, including branded entertainment and podcasts represented more than half of this work.
It is clear that podcasting continues to be a core part of the UK’s digital industry, following an investment in building audio teams by established publishers like Lovie winner Financial Times and Tortoise, a Lovie Awards partner. Despite brands and media companies also entering the space, podcast companies have held their positions with incredible storytelling—projects like Fresh Air Productions’ The Robot Podcast.
INSIGHT: NETHERLANDS AND GERMANY DOUBLE DOWN ON E-COMMERCE
The Netherlands and Germany are also paving a new era for innovation in Europe—at the 12th Annual Lovie Awards, 38.5% of work from the Netherlands and 31.6% of work from Germany earned Gold, Silver or Bronze. Agencies are mostly responsible for this wave, with an overwhelming majority of their work tackling consumer products and e-commerce. From Build in Amsterdam’s Vitra Office Chairs to Blok Watches by Antinomy Studio, read more insights on how Dutch agencies are transforming e-commerce experiences, with new user experiences and centring brand ethos.
Europe’s Emerging Markets 2023
INSIGHT: SMALLER NATIONS ARE EMERGING AS GLOBAL PLAYERS
Countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden have historically been at the forefront of Europe’s digital ecosystem. Smaller Portugal, Poland, Ireland, Lithuania and Switzerland have sprouted up as emerging markets at the 12th Annual Lovie Awards.
Portugal, for example, has been on radars as a destination for digital nomads, and is also boasting a rising startup scene—from inclusive dating apps to creative shops like Bürocratik, a Coimbra-based digital branding agency. Their website for Speedy, a digital banking solution, earned two Gold and one Silver Lovie Award.
Europe’s Top Agencies 2023
INSIGHT: DEPT® LEADS THE CHARGE
Taking the spot as the leading digital agency in Europe is the Amsterdam-based DEPT®, after receiving 33 honours across the competition. Their recognition shows their best-in-class approach to building digital commerce experiences, as well as immersive experiences. Personalization for brand experiences still tried and true, while using web applications and immersive technologies for more curated experiences. Through FREITAG F-Cut, DEPT® built a sustainable e-commerce experience for the one-off bag company.
INSIGHT: PURPOSE IS ON THE MIND
In line with the “Great Reckoning” of 2022, agencies and client partners in Europe have further embraced social responsibility in their work. While climate change was most represented in purpose-driven advertising, it was followed by other human-centred issues including food insecurity, diversity and equity, responsible tech and human rights and responsible tech. One standout was Media.Monks’ AR-powered app Ann Frank House: The Bookcase for Tolerance, made for the International Day for Tolerance. With a virtual library detailing Ann Frank’s story with modern personal stories, the experience spoke truth to power giving viewers tools to counter prejudice.
INSIGHT: CREATIVES EXPERIMENT AND PLAY MORE
Best-in-class work by agencies continues to embrace experimentation, and a sense of play to bring brand stories to life. Ranked in the index for the second consecutive year, Demodern Gmbh leveraged gamified learning for two of its 3D Detective Adventure App for leading Swiss supermarket Migros, leveraging a 3D world to help young consumers learn about flora and fauna.
Europe’s Top Media & Publishing Companies 2023
INSIGHT: CHANNEL 4 SETS THE STAGE FOR NARRATIVE STORYTELLING
Today, the digital media and publishing scene have never been more innovative than it is today. Channel 4 entered the highest-awarded projects in the 12th Annual Lovie Awards, after earning 16 recognitions across the competition. Their honours show a deep knowledge of telling human-centred stories for social channels, as well marketing, as seen through 4Creative, its in-house creative studio. Super. Human, its standout longform ad for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games connects audiences with genuine interactions and uplifting content.
INSIGHT: REGIONAL AND LOCAL NARRATIVES REIGN SUPREME
As pop culture continues to splinter into more local and niche interests, Europe’s best media makers have leaned into quality, niche narratives to draw in audiences. Global media network Al Jazeera Media Network is a great example of this with its Lovie Award-winning podcast The Men Who Sell Football on the corruption behind football. Publishers like Woo have prioritised narrative storytelling for social, from Life in Love, its documentary exploring the early stages of love in the LGBTQ+ community to The Bigger Trip, an experimental documentary series on psychedelics.
Europe’s Top Production Companies 2023
INSIGHT: SEE STORYTELLING AS PLATFORM AGNOSTIC
In today’s media landscape, a platform agnostic and multimedia approach to content creation is key. STORYHUNTER Limited has mastered this with Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley, their collaboration with BBC. Production companies are also continuing multimedia stories to tell beautiful stories, like Coming Home, Paper Panther’s paint-on-glass film exploring time and transformation.
INSIGHT: INDEPENDENT COMPANIES ARE BREAKING THROUGH
In an oversaturated market, it’s even more important for smaller production companies and independent creators to stand out. Peninsula Films Ltd/Pulped earned a Gold and People’s Lovie Award for its comedy video series, including My Parents Are Idiots to Rock Up Too The Club. Factory42, an immersive entertainment and storytelling studio, has broken ground with its immersive experience The Green Planet AR Experience.
Europe’s Top Podcast Companies 2023
INSIGHT: BRANDED PODCASTS ARE ON THE RISE
After earning multiple Gold, Bronze and People’s Lovie Awards across the competition, Fresh Air Productions entered the highest-awarded podcasts at the 12th Annual Lovie Awards. As brands look to reach and market to consumers, they and the women-founded Purposeful Podcasts, show that branded audio storytelling is worthwhile. Fresh Air Productions’ The Robot Podcast, produced in partnership with Swedish-Swiss digital technologies provider ABB, is a shining example, as it helps listeners break down what the “robot revolution” means for the future.
INSIGHT: WOMEN-LED STORIES ARE AT THE FOREFRONT
Women-founded organisations and women-centred narratives are becoming more prominent in podcasting. Chayn, a gender-based violence survivor network, earned five recognitions for its podcast Less Than 2 Percent which examines the UK’s broken system for survivors.
INSIGHT: SWEDEN AND THE NETHERLANDS SEE GROWTH IN AUDIO
While the UK over-indexed for recognised podcasts at the 12th Annual Lovie Awards, Sweden and the Netherlands are emerging as growing markets. The Amsterdam-based Podimo earned a Gold and People’s Lovie Award for its Alle Geschiedenis Ooit (All History Ever) programme, while Stockholm’s Story Studio One AB won a Silver and People’s Lovie Award for its scripted series SAKNAD: Följarna.
As best-in-class examples of digital work, each company featured in The 2023 Lovie Industry Head Index are setting the pace for innovation. From embracing immersive media and tools, to building diverse e-commerce experiences, their efforts are a testament to how digital creators should bring value to their audiences. To join these forward-thinking companies in the next era of the European Internet, we encourage you to enter the 13th Annual Lovie Awards.