By Geoff Percival
Ireland and the Netherlands are understood to be leading the race to attract big name international broadcasters, such as CNN and National Geographic, needing to shift their EU operations from London in order to be able to continue broadcasting in Europe after Brexit.
Any Brexit deal is expected to place the UK outside of the current European audio-visual media services directive licensing regime. That would mean international broadcasters based there may need to find different regulatory approval for broadcasting in the EU if UK regulator Ofcom is no longer recognised by the European Commission.
The IDA and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) last week pitched, in London, to a number of broadcasters outlining potential licensing issues arising from Brexit; the licensing regime in Ireland as a solution to these issues; and the supports and incentives available to broadcasters and content creators here.
BAI chief Michael O’Keeffe said the Authority is now “actively engaged with a number of broadcasters” currently exploring their options.
“The IDA sees the broadcasting sector as another regulated sector, alongside financial services, technology and pharma that may require a post-Brexit solution,” said the IDA’s Shane Nolan.
Any relocation of operations would be widespread and definitely not just via a registered office capacity. Anything from content commissioning, production, EU advertising operations, data protection and compliance to online content, consumer insights, international content, infrastructure management and licensing and distribution could be moved here.
Ed Hall, managing partner of London-based media consultants Expert Media Partners, said Dublin would be a realistic headquarter city for many international broadcasters’ EU operations due to it being an English-speaking city with low corporate tax rates.
The IDA is understood to be very hopeful of attracting certain aspects of a number of companies’ functions and sees Ireland’s EU membership and understanding of the broadcasting market as key advantages.
However, it is also understood that Ireland faces stiff competition as a potential relocation base. While it and the Netherlands are believed to be leading the way, other member states such as Estonia and Belgium are also in the mix.