BBC in Irish licence talks
The BBC is in talks with Irish and Dutch authorities to obtain licences allowing it to continue broadcasting across the European Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The UK licences that the taxpayer-funded BBC uses to operate its channels in other EU countries will no longer be valid if the UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement.
UK prime minister Theresa May is struggling to get the UK parliament to support her deal with the EU that would prolong current broadcast licensing arrangements for two years while the UK negotiates a new relationship with its biggest trading partner.
International media companies that have regional hubs in Britain, such as Discovery and Comcast’s NBC Universal, have also applied for broadcast licences elsewhere in the EU to safeguard the transmission of their channels on the continent.
“The BBC have a big problem,” said David Justin, president of One Six International, a media advisory firm based in Amsterdam. “If it’s a hard Brexit, they would face a blackout in some countries.”
As many as 500 channels based in London use a licence from UK regulator Ofcom as a “passport” to broadcast services aimed at audiences in other EU markets.
Only one licence from an EU regulator is required for each service, meaning there is an opportunity for the State to entice some of the London-based broadcasters to set up hubs in the Republic.– Bloomberg/additional reporting: The Irish Times