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Discovery ponders post Brexit options

May 29, 2018

Discovery is the largest international broadcaster to ponder the future of its European broadcasting base in London and a possible move to the continent if UK Government fails to agree a broadcast licence passport deal with the EU.

Discovery, the biggest international broadcaster in London, broadcasts over 100 TV channels across Europe from its hub in west London.

Discovery is already planning to shut the European playout hub for broadcasting its channels, affecting up to 100 jobs, as it moves to a US-based transmission system – essentially joining the global cloud provision run form Sterling in the US. However, it will continue to employ 1,300 people in the UK, where it makes programmes and broadcasts 16 channels to British viewers.

The Guardian reports Discovery will continue to hold all of its TV licences with the UK broadcasting regulator, but – alongside the regulator – has warned the government that if it fails to strike a deal to keep EU-wide broadcast rights post-Brexit, broadcasters are bound to look to relocate significant parts of their businesses and TV licensing arrangements to the continent to continue to transmit across Europe.

Discovery has been evaluating the location for its European broadcasting hub if a Brexit TV deal is not struck. Discovery is understood to have lined up options for Amsterdam, where businesses including Netflix have their European headquarters, and Warsaw. Poland is the home base of the Discovery executive, Kasia Kieli, who was promoted to become the broadcaster’s head of Europe in November, and after Discovery’s $12bn takeover of rival Scripps has become home to one of its largest workforces and bases in Europe.

The Guardian says internally Discovery has quietly stopped calling London its international headquarters.

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