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Brexit White Paper “provides little clarity” for broadcast sector

COBA says it is "deeply concerned" that broadcasters will have to begin restructuring

The Commercial Broadcasters Association has said the government’s Brexit White Paper does not include enough clarity on the future of the broadcast sector.

According to COBA, international TV channels based in the UK are a £1 billion a year business and are one of the fastest growing parts of the UK’s creative industries, supporting one in five jobs in UK broadcasting.

The organisation said the White Paper “provides little detail on the type of arrangements the UK is seeking in its negotiations with the EU on broadcasting.”

Under current law, the UK grants a broadcasting licence which is recognised by other EU Member States. It is possible that once the UK leaves the EU, this recognition would no longer be granted, meaning broadcasters would be forced to restructure their European businesses in order to obtain a licence in a remaining EU Member State.

COBA warned that international broadcasters cannot wait until the March 2019 “cliff edge” to undertake any restructuring.

Adam Minns, COBA’s executive director, said: “This is a £1 billion, high growth sector that should be central to the future of the UK’s audio-visual sector. We remain deeply concerned that broadcasters will have to reluctantly start restructuring within the next few months, and possibly within weeks for some companies.”