As a Result of the UK Referendum on EU Membership, on the 29thof March 2019 the UK will leave the EU – British Exit = ‘Brexit’. This will have a direct and immediate effect on Broadcast Licensing for UK Channels broadcasting into EU Member States. The UK will become a third party to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), and this status is unlikely to change despite UK Government negotiating efforts set out within the contents of the ‘Chequers White Paper’. Therefore, services governed by the AVMSD are unlikely to be included in any future trade agreements between the UK and EU, with any further regard than the text of the AVMSD, and where applicable the Convention on Transfrontier Television.

UK Government White Paper

“The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union”

The EU’s position on Brexit and Audiovisual Services is laid out in  the text of:

The EU notice to Stakeholders; the text of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD); the text of the Convention on Transfrontier Television (CTT); and the text of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; with full texts as follows:

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)

Key takeaways:

  • The UK will cease to be an EU Member and become a Third Party;
  • A Third Party has different and limited rights, to a full member;
  • Third Party rights are subject to the terms of the TFEU, AVMSD and TCC.;
  • The current rights of UK Broadcasters, will no longer apply after the UK leaves the EU;
  • UK Broadcasters will lose the freedom of Transmission and Retransmission currently enjoyed;
  • Post Brexit agreements are subject to on-going negotiations, which may or may not result in an agreement;
  • Jurisdiction is subject to location of Head Office, place of satellite uplink; control of editorial decision making, location of personnel;
  • The Convention on Transfrontier Television has limited application, because not all EU member-states are signatories; Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands are not TCC signatories;
  • EU-27 Member States will be free to take whatever measures they will deem appropriate with regard to audiovisual media services coming from the United Kingdom as a third country and not satisfying the conditions laid down in Article 2.
  • The AVMSD adopts the TCC, subject to its limitations. A plain text reading of the TCC limits its application and interpretation to: “cable, terrestrial transmitter or satellite.”
  • It is questionable as to whether or not the EU will recognise other delivery systems such as IPTV, OTT, VOD/SVOD under the scope of the TCC in relation to the AVMSD and a third party.
  • EU-27 Member States will be entitled, based on their own national law and, where applicable, within the limits of the TCC, to restrict reception and retransmissionof audiovisual media services originating from the United Kingdom.
  • Brexit will mean that UK license holders broadcasting into the EU will require an EU-27 licence; to be established within the remaining EU-27; for Editorial control and significant personnel to be established within the EU-27.
  • Conversely EU licence holders broadcasting into the UK will require an Ofcom licence, and to satisfy Ofcom requirements. There are a number of issues in this area for some service providers.
  • Numerous issues exist for licence holders operating on a pan-European basis, and which are not currently fully subsidiarised in the nature of their operations.

The Referendum and Brexit occurred within the timeframe of the of the AVTN | NewsNet247 News Network and Channel Project, and so I am extremely familiar with the issues of planning solutions for this unique set of socio-political and commercial circumstances. I have attended a great many summits and seminars on the subject of Brexit, and joined the panel of experts  for the FOCUS2017 discussion “Show me the Money… After Brexit.”

Contact me to find out how I and my partners and colleagues can resolve your Broadcast, Film and Media issues relating to Brexit for you!