Survey: Brexit drives out 250 broadcast licences

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The MAVISE Database shows that many of global channels that were based in the UK have now been compelled to move to the continent to maintain their in-EU origin status. In all 250 broadcast licences have, of necessity, been ‘deported’ since Brexit. Broadcasters moving international ops away from the UK include: Discovery, Disney, NENT, NBC, Viacom, Sony, SPI International, Turner as well as the internationally targeted versions of Sky and BBC networks.

The European Audiovisual Observatory’s MAVISE – Database on audiovisual services in Europe now offers information on the application of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

The inclusion of information about jurisdiction relates to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and is the result of the cooperation with the European Commission under the EU’s Creative Europe Programme. The availability of this jurisdiction information for EU Member States in a public database is a requirement of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The data available in MAVISE are based on the contributions of the audiovisual regulatory authorities of the 27 EU Member States as well as 14 other European countries and Morocco.

In addition, new 2020 data has just been uploaded into MAVISE and the following trends become apparent:

  • Between Brexit and the transposition of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), the supply of audiovisual services has been experiencing a lot of commotion. In a quest to secure continuity in their distribution outside the UK, traditionally UK-originating channels have been relocating over the past two years. Transnational networks such as Discovery, Disney, NENT, NBC, Viacom, Sony, SPI International, Turner as well as the internationally targeted versions of Sky and BBC networks represented around 250 broadcasting licences migrating during this period.
  • Most TV channels which relocated were cross-border services targeting foreign European audiences outside the country of origin. Half of the channels available in Europe outside their country of origin (as defined by the European regulations) fell under UK jurisdiction in 2018, as opposed to only 10 per cent of them at the end of 2020.
  • This shift generated a fragmentation of the supply and consequently a repositioning of the main hubs for channels addressing European markets outside their market of origin. The Netherlands (27 per cent), Luxembourg (19 per cent), Spain (15 per cent), the United Kingdom (10 per cent) and France (6 per cent) are the top five hubs of establishment for international networks in 2020. This snapshot is taken in a context in which post-Brexit consequences are still to be felt and the AVMSD transposition is yet to be completed across the board.
  • This AV market fragmentation was the result both of migrations and the continuity of a prominent trend towards diversification of the international TV channels in their new host territories. More additional localised versions (in terms of language, geographical scope and/or advertising) of international brand networks have been launched over the past year.
  • 85 per cent of TV channels addressing foreign European audiences fall within the jurisdiction of an EEA country. The Netherlands (32 per cent), Luxembourg (22 per cent) and Spain (18 per cent) cumulatively accounted for over 70 per cent of these channels at the end of 2020. While for the Netherlands and Spain – as for most Member States, the vast majority of jurisdiction claims are based on the head office establishment of the media service provider, for Luxembourg over 75 per cent of channels fell within its jurisdiction due to usage of the satellite up-link situated there or the satellite capacity which it can offer.
  • The vast majority (94 per cent) of TV channels available in the 41 European countries covered by MAVISE originate from one of these countries and among these almost two out of three are under the jurisdiction of an EEA country.

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