TVforEU, the campaign to make the government aware of Brexit’s impact on TV and film, is calling for the UK’s creative industries to be given the recognition they deserve in the next phase of Brexit.
As the UK officially leaves the EU at 11pm tonight, TVforEU founder Marc Risby tells TVBEurope the UK government needs to be more aware of the country’s creative industries as “a revenue generator, employer, and as the worldwide respected centre of excellence we are.
“We’re arguably bigger than the fishing industry for example, yet as a non-finance services-based industry, we’re not currently being given the prominence we deserve,” adds Risby. “Services are not normally part of free trade agreements so we’ll need the government to push for additional measures to make sure our interests are taken care of in any deal. Amsterdam, Dublin and other European cities will be vying for our customers and we have much to lose.”
Over the past couple of years major TV networks have begun to move operations out of the UK and into EU countries. Risby says those that have so-far remained in the UK will be watching the government’s next round of negotiations very closely. “Ultimately this is going to depend on the deal our government gets and if this looks like it’s going to be unclear, delayed or in less advantageous that we have now, further companies will have no choice but to move. Depending on the specific sector, between 20-40 per cent of our people are EU nationals and their settled status, willingness to continue to work in the UK and how working visas will operate in the future will have an impact on our workforce.”
Whether the UK can continue to be the biggest contributor to the overall supply of TV channels in the EU is dependent on the deal the government strikes and where the UK ends up with relevance to the AVMS directive says Risby. “The UK has a depth of experience and talent that is unmatched elsewhere but this will only remain if we can be competitive in the market and depends on retaining some of the skilled EU talent that currently work here,” he adds.
Another key factor of the negotiations will be around the movement of goods between the UK and Europe – not just people. “The future for shipping goods is likely to be more complicated as the current picture emerges working out how we ship between NI and the Republic of Ireland,” says Risby. “I don’t see us slipping into the hell of carnets but it’s going to require efforts not required today.”
In terms of the next steps for the media tech industry itself, Risby reiterates the need to fight to make sure the industry is a priority part of future negotiations with the EU and is calling on industry bodies and major organisations to join together and lobby to maintain access and rights moving forward.
“This is not a time to be passive,” states Risby. “We need positive action to ensure that we retain our position in the EU market and not become a bargaining chip with the loss of rights that could entail. Other EU countries will naturally want a slice of our lucrative business and it’s up to our government to negotiate the best deal. Our jobs and livelihoods depend on it.”