Separation from the EU is due to begin in March 2019 (just 260 days away), so the clock is ticking for media and entertainment companies to start making decisions about how to continue to broadcast to the EU. Unless companies do something now, we could lose a large chunk of the sector as last-minute decisions to try and meet EU regulatory requirements will make smart ‘brass plate’ moves more challenging.
EMP recommends that broadcasters give themselves at least 6 months to make licensing decisions as timings for negotiating and acquiring new licences may vary significantly dependent on country, process and individual channel requirements.
The challenge for Ofcom-licensed channels that need new licences, will be ensuring that they find a strategy that enables them to continue to thrive as part of the UK hub whilst planning the new more complex relationships that will probably be required to continue transmission across the EU. Leaving planning on this until it becomes clear how the Brexit negotiations are going, may well be too late.
The Trade Deal
EMP’s Brexit Team attended a Media Summits Brexit Strategy event on Wednesday 27 June which offered updates on the progress of Brexit with a clear focus on media and explored the likelihood of the creative industries being part of a trade deal with the EU.
Sir Vince Cable MP, the Leader of the Liberal democrats, acknowledged ‘a potentially serious Country of Origin problem’:
‘broadcasters broadcasting into multiple jurisdictions will have a serious problem of clearance unless something is done and there’s no evidence that it is being done’ – Sir Vince Cable
He also pointed out that, ‘almost the whole of the political debate at the moment around the costs of Brexit and no deal scenarios is conducted in terms of the impact on manufacturing supply chains. The creative industries, which are worth 6% of Gross Domestic Product, against 10% for manufacturing rarely get a look in in the public debate’.
Paul Hardy, Brexit Director at DLA Piper made his view very clear:
‘The EU will not cut the UK a deal on the single market - including the COO principle - it is giving us too much of the cake when we have already decided to leave the party. Businesses are quite right to be relocating’ – Paul Hardy
The Trail Blazers
It is widely reported that large broadcasters such as Discovery, Turner, 21st Century Fox and Viceland have already taken measures to protect their interests by preparing to move elements of their business from the UK.
Some larger companies have the resources to hire teams of people or advisors to assess the regulations of the EU and EEA and make a case for where is best to relocate to. Smaller operations are unlikely to have the time, money or staff to carry out the research.
Our experience of research into this area across the whole EU and EEA is that even finding the details of advertising regulations for the basis of comparison can be challenging and time-consuming, let alone comparing the licensing regime or requirements for on-air age warnings or costs of a licence.
We believe that the channel groups that have already started moving licences have been working on this research for over a year.
For the last year, the EMP Brexit Team has been working on a directory that will help broadcasters to assess the regulatory environment of each of the 30 EU and EEA countries to help make an informed decision about what to do, and we hope that early research and action will enable broadcasters to reduce the impact of Brexit on the UK broadcasting sector.
Our Brexit Broadcast Licensing Directory is the first comprehensive research available to provide much of the data broadcasters will need to help assess their next steps.
1 - Contact details for every regulator in Europe (over 130 verified names, email addresses and phone numbers)
2 - Comparative analysis of the advertising rules, including rules on alcohol and gambling in each jurisdiction
3 – Details of the licensing process and costs in all countries across the EU and EEA.
4 – Examples of the age and content restrictions and examples of the necessary on-air warnings for broadcasters in all countries
5 – A total of 325 verified links for more information on every EU and EEA jurisdiction.
The Directory is an essential research tool for broadcasters, government officials, regulators, media lawyers, academics and journalists assessing, studying or reporting on the UK television and video industry.
No similar comparative research is available on the market today.
300 fact-filled pages for £495 (incl. 0% VAT)