Brexit: Spain, Netherlands take migrating UK channels

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A new report from The European Audiovisual Observatory provides an overview of the supply of services in the European audiovisual media landscape.

Based on the analyses of 2020 figures from the Observatory’s MAVISE database, this publication offers insights from two perspectives:

The first focuses on the supply of audiovisual media (AV) services in Europe, presenting figures for television (TV), on-demand services and video-sharing platforms available in and originating from the European markets. It also includes information on AV services aimed at non-domestic markets.

The second perspective looks at which countries and which legislation cover these services, in other words the jurisdiction claims made under the revised European Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), including the criteria on which these claims are based.

Findings from the report include:

  • 13 638 audiovisual media services were available in Europe. This included 10 839 TV channels, 4 803 (44 per cent) of which were local TV services. This total figure also includes 2 799 on-demand services, 1 179 (42 per cent) of which were pay on-demand services.
  • More than half of all TV channels studied, including local TV, were freely available and one in three was accessible via terrestrial television. Two out of three pay on-demand services were subscription-based.
  • One in ten TV channels originating from Europe was publicly owned or had a mixed ownership, while 3 per cent of pay on-demand services were public.
  • The UK, with 586 TV channels, remains the most prominent television market in Europe albeit with a small margin over the Russian Federation (524 TV channels) and the Netherlands (515 TV channels). Together, these three audiovisual markets account for over a quarter (28 per cent) of the total share of TV channels (excluding local) originating from Europe.
  • The leading European supplier of pay on-demand services was Ireland, with 188 services, leaving second and third place to France (141 services) and the UK (140 services). The concentration of these three market leaders in pay on-demand (a 41 per cent share) was higher than in television (28 per cent as mentioned above).
  • A quarter (25 per cent) of all television services based in Europe were aimed at non-domestic markets. These were mostly based in the Netherlands, the UK, Spain and Luxembourg, with over 100 services in each territory. Two out of three of all TV services aimed at other markets came from one of these four countries.
  • Among the main hubs for TV channels serving other markets, the UK was the country most heavily affected by a migration of TV channels post-Brexit. Whilst the overall number of TV channels based in the UK more than halved between 2018 and 2020, the number of channels aimed at non-domestic markets dropped by a similar share (e.g. -44 per cent), suggesting that the migration of TV channels largely focused on these services.
  • The biggest winners in the migration of TV channels were the Netherlands whose numbers more than doubled and Spain, whose TV channels rose by +38 per cent from 2018 to 2020. A third of all TV channels migrating from the UK between 2018 and 2020 went to the Netherlands (18 per cent) and Spain (14 per cent).
  • Among the European Economic Member States, the highest number of jurisdiction claims were made under AVMSD Article 2 (3) lit. a) with a total of 8 755 claims. Italy was by and large the country with the highest number of jurisdiction claims (1 707) for audiovisual media services and video-sharing platforms made under AVMSD jurisdiction. Together with the Netherlands (882 claims) and Spain (816 claims), the three countries accounted for 38 per cent of all claims made under AVMSD jurisdiction.

The data available in MAVISE and used for this report are based on the contributions of the audiovisual regulatory authorities in the EU27, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, the Republic of Serbia, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Morocco.


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