Advanced Television

Brexit: TV channels based in UK down 5%

January 23, 2020

The European Audiovisual Observatory’s MAVISE TV and VOD database has been updated with new 2019 data showing that the market share of TV channels based in the UK drop by 5 per cent year on year (down to 22 per cent in 2019). However, for now the UK still remains the biggest contributor to the overall supply of TV channels in the EU28.

The downslide was mainly led by the migration of localised versions but also of standalone TV channels addressing foreign markets, as international TV networks seeking to maintain distribution after Brexit applied for broadcasting licences outside the UK (i.e. Discovery, Viacom, Sony, SPI International portfolio brands and others). This relocation saw the share of channels based in the UK and targeting markets beyond national boarders drop to 57 per cent in 2019 (down by 5 per cent year on year).

Half of the TV channels targeting foreign EU markets were UK-based in 2018, as opposed to just over one third at the end of 2019. This decentralisation recorded at EU level was the result both of channel migration and a prominent trend towards diversification of the international TV channels in their new host territories. Last year saw the launch of additional localised versions (in terms of language and geographical scope) of international brand networks represented mainly by Discovery Inc and Viacom Inc portfolios.

The main destination for the relocation and specialisation of broadcasting licences in 2019 was the Netherlands, followed by Spain. This generated a repositioning of the main hubs for channels targeting other EU countries and a fragmentation of the supply. The top three hubs for international networks, still accounting for a cumulative 69 per cent in 2019 of all TV channels targeting other EU28 were represented by the UK (37 per cent), the Netherlands (22 per cent) and Spain (11 per cent) as opposed to 2018 ranking positions occupied by the UK (52 per cent), the Czech Republic (9 per cent) and Luxembourg (8 per cent) at the end of 2018.

The vast majority (over 95 per cent) of TV channels available in the 41 European countries covered by the Observatory are still established in Europe with only 8 per cent of them being publicly owned.

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