Please wait...
Please wait...

EU looking to cut UK content

The UK withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020

The European Union is reportedly looking to reduce the “disproportionate” amount of UK content available on European television and streamers following Brexit.

The EU sees the prevalence of UK content in Europe as a threat to the continent’s “cultural diversity,” The Guardian reported, citing an internal EU document it has seen.

A move to take British programming and film out of European qualification would be a huge blow to the UK screen sector, for which Europe is the country’s second largest export market behind North America, bringing in £490m (US$680m) in sales in 2019/20, according to figures from UK trade body Pact.

Since the EU referendum in 2016, the UK government has been warned by many in the industry of the potential negative impact the country’s exit from the EU could have.

As reported by C21, this year’s edition of annual European coproduction event Cartoon Forum will not feature any projects led by UK companies because of the country’s decision not to participate in Creative Europe’s Media programme after Brexit.

Bodies such as Pact have been keen to avoid any negative consequences when it comes to the screen sector’s relationship with Europe. However, the Guardian report highlights the voices of discontent in the EU regarding the ongoing inclusion of UK productions in EU quotas.

These aim to ensure that at least 30% of the content offered by streamers operating in Europe originates from the region in a bid to level the playing field between multinational VoD services and local broadcasters, who are obliged to ensure at least 50% of their output is European.

The Guardian report states that according to an EU document tabled with diplomats on June 8, in the “aftermath of Brexit” it is believed the inclusion of UK content in such quotas has led to what has been described as a “disproportionate” amount of British programming on European television.

“The high availability of UK content in video on demand services, as well as the privileges granted by the qualification as European works, can result in a disproportionate presence of UK content within the European video on demand quota and hinder a larger variety of European works (including from smaller countries or less spoken languages),” a paper distributed among the member states reads.

“Therefore the disproportionality may affect the fulfilment of the objectives of promotion of European works and cultural diversity aimed by the audiovisual media services directive.”

A UK government spokesperson told The Guardian: “The UK is proud to host a world-class film and TV industry that entertains viewers globally and which the government has supported throughout the pandemic, including through the film and TV restart scheme.

“European works status continues to apply to audiovisual works originating in the UK, as the UK is a party to the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT).”

Please wait...