Time is ripe for a more sub­stan­tive Brexit de­bate

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

BREXIT means Brexit, or so we’re told. But not even UK leg­is­la­tors know what Brexit means for cer­tain sec­tors of so­ci­ety and in­dus­try. So much so that the House of Lords has to de­cide to give an ear to ad­ver­tis­ers be­fore the UK gives the fin­gers to the EU. But with Brexit set to have a huge im­pact on ad­ver­tis­ing and me­dia in this coun­try too, per­haps our politi­cians also need lis­ten to the con­cerns of Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing and me­dia sec­tor.

Last week the House of Lords Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is­sued a call for ev­i­dence ahead of an in­quiry into ad­land.

Brexit could mean bad news for ad­ver­tis­ers in the UK. The coun­try is the sec­ond big­gest ex­porter of ad­ver­tis­ing ser­vices in the world with ex­ports of £4.3bn year, and los­ing ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket could cur­tail that level of ex­ports. A tougher stance on im­mi­gra­tion could also im­pact agen­cies. Up to 20pc of those work­ing in UK ad­ver­tis­ing are from other EU coun­tries. Plus there’s con­fi­dence. In Jan­uary a sur­vey from think tank Cre­dos and the Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion — the trade as­so­ci­a­tion that rep­re­sents ad­ver­tis­ers, agen­cies, me­dia, and re­searchers in the UK — found that 22pc of agen­cies claimed to have lost busi­ness fol­low­ing the Brexit ref­er­en­dum.

In broad eco­nomic terms a post-brexit drop in GDP will cur­tail growth in the UK’S ad­ver­tis­ing sec­tor in the com­ing years, as ad­ver­tis­ing spend broadly tracks GDP.

So it’s no sur­prise that groups like the Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion has called for clar­ity on im­mi­gra­tion to help agen­cies in the UK to at­tract global tal­ent, a fo­cus on ed­u­ca­tion to ad­dress the skills short­age brought on by the shift to mo­bile, and cru­cially, equiv­a­lence in UK law with a host of EU rules that re­late to me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing to max­imise mar­ket ac­cess.

See­ing as the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try is get­ting to dis­cuss its con­cerns with leg­is­la­tors in Lon­don, shouldn’t the Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try ex­pect an au­di­ence with mem­bers of the Oireach­tas? As if Brexit wasn’t enough, chang­ing me­dia con­sump­tion habits and the grow­ing in­flu­ence of Face­book and Google are also tak­ing their toll. The ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try — not to men­tion the me­dia at large — could do with any reg­u­la­tory fil­lip go­ing.

Our TDS and se­na­tors are well used to hear­ing about Brexit. And they’ve even con­sid­ered it in re­la­tion to the me­dia — specif­i­cally in re­la­tion to RTE. Here’s what RTE’S Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Dee Forbes told the Joint Com­mit­tee on Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Cli­mate Ac­tion and En­vi­ron­ment, last Novem­ber in a hear­ing about public ser­vice broad­cast­ing: “Ad­ver­tis­ing has im­proved over the past cou­ple of

A pro­tester at a pro-eu Peo­ple’s March For Europe in Lon­don

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