BBC in Ir­ish li­cence talks

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS -

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

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