British satellite broadcasters are looking for new licenses to keep transmitting to the EU after Brexit. Pictured: Denmark, Norway and Sweden are seen in a photo taken from the International Space Station, 3 April 2015. Photo credit: Nasa
Luxembourg’s government has said it is “open” to UK-based broadcasters looking for a post-Brexit EU home.
Seven out of ten cable and satellite TV channels licensed by the UK’s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, serve non-UK countries, according to IHS Markit, a business data firm. This includes 136 channels serving both the UK and Ireland, 260 that are specifically aimed at another EU country and 46 that serve several EU territories.
Broadcasters operating in the UK and serving the EU would have until 31 December 2020 to secure new licenses under the agreement rejected by the British parliament earlier this year, IHS Markit said on 31 January. “If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, which is still a possibility, any channels established in the UK but transmitting to an EU member state will need new licenses from one of those EU states,” the research firm stated.
The BBC is considering Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands for its new EU base, the Guardian reported on 24 January. The BBC needs to secure new licenses from an EU member state to continue broadcasting its international channels, such as BBC World and BBC Earth, to the bloc.
“Contacts have been made by broadcasting companies with the same ambition as the BBC. Negotiations are under way and these companies have asked for a great deal of discretion. We cannot say who they are.”
The Guardian reported that British sports channel DAZN would open a centre in Amsterdam and that American media groups Turner Broadcasting System (which owns Cartoon Network and CNN) and NBC Universal (which owns CNBC and Syfy) “have also taken steps to secure EU licences.”
The Luxembourg government representative said the country is “competitive” when it comes to attracting audiovisual firms and “the door is, at any rate, open to all interested companies.” However, broadcasters will need to establish “substance” in the grand duchy to receive approval. “There must be teams present in Luxembourg, an editorial decision centre,” Paperjam quoted the SMC official as stating.
The grand duchy is already home to a few international TV outfits. Broadcasting group RTL in Kirchberg employed 660 staff and satellite operator SES in Betzdorf had 530 employees, according to Statec figures released in July 2018.