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COBA calls for ‘ambitious’ Brexit broadcasting deal

July 24, 2018

By Colin Mann

Speaking to the UK House of Commons Committee for Exiting the EU, the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) has called on the Government to commit to seeking an ambitious deal on broadcasting before companies are forced to activate contingency plans.

COBA’s Executive Director Adam Minns told MPs on the Committee that international broadcasting was a £1 billion [€1.13bn] sector that was driving growth in the British broadcasting industry. But “no deal” would put this growth at risk by forcing broadcasters to restructure their European operations in order to continue broadcasting to EU countries.

“The Government has told us what is off the table, but it has not set out the type of arrangements that it wants to secure,” advised Minns. “We know the Government cannot promise a deal, but it can promise to fight for arrangements on broadcasting that are ambitious, and it can give industry confidence by explaining what that would look like.”

“Companies cannot wait until March 2019 to make these decisions – without more clarity, they will have to activate contingency plans within months or even weeks,” he warned. “It is crucial that the Government gives industry confidence that it will fight for broadcasting.”

COBA highlighted the following key points:

  • International broadcasting has grown by 50 per cent since 2011, more than double the rate of growth for the UK’s wider digital sector (23 per cent) and faster than the overall rate of growth for the creative industries (44.8 per cent) (Source Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, DCMS)
  • This growth will be put at risk if the UK is unable to offer new entrants or incumbents a licence to broadcast to EU countries.
  • Over the medium to long term this will damage the critical mass of the UK broadcasting sector, with a knock–on impact to parts of the supply chain.
  • Companies will need to activate contingency plans well before the March 2019 cliff edge – within months and in some cases weeks.
  • EU markets accounts for 45 per cent of exports in digital services

Watch the highlights of Media Summits’ second Brexit Strategy seminar, featuring Mimms, Vince Cable and a panel of other industry experts, here.

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