What Does It Mean If British TV & Film Lose Their European Status in the EU?

Michael Caine

Recently, the Guardian has published an article with the title ‘EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit’, which promises to be just another piece in the Brexit jigsaw of lost privileges and opportunities for the UK.

Removing the status of British TV programs and film as ‘European Work’

According to an internal EU paper, the plan is to remove the status of British programs and film as ‘European works’. This is not decided, but it seems to be very plausible that this will come.

For those, who don’t know: There is a 30% quota for European titles in TV and VOD services in the EU. UK productions have been occupying the majority of this quota, while on the other side in UK only a small portion of EU productions have been shown (BBC4 and Channel4).  In France, the quota for European content is even 60%.

Does it make sense to push British TV & Film away from Europe?

For UK’s TV and film industry this means that license sales can be expected to drop. Even for popular shows like ‘Downtown Abbey’ and ‘The Crown’ pre-sales of European rights could reduce and therefore compromise the financing of UK productions.

From a European perspective, the question is whether it makes sense to push UK culturally away from Europe, but then again, the quota was created to promote homegrown productions and UK isn’t part of the ‘European home’ anymore.

What are the Consequences for British Film Productions?

As a consequence, UK wouldn’t have the chance of placing their productions to fill the European quota. They, as a product of Global Britain, will have to compete against the productions of the Global cinema. Series like the above mentioned were popular worldwide, but as always with those structural changes not the top performers can be expected to be hit, but programs at the ‘fringe’ – usually the less mainstream ones, which are potentially more typical British.

UK producers may find other sources of financing for their top productions, but the cake is becoming smaller for UK’s TV and film industry.

The Guardian also asked the UK government for a statement and not surprisingly their response is smoke and mirrors and actually very lazy: ‘European works status continues to apply to audiovisual works originating in the UK, as the UK is party to the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT).’ In case you don’t know, the ECTT sets out a minimum of rules for the transmission of program in Europe and it is also signed by Russia, which productions never have been included In EU’s European quotas.

What are your thoughts on that?

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What Does It Mean If British TV & Film Lose Their European Status in the EU?

Recently, the Guardian has published an article with the title ‘EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit’, which promises to be just another piece in the Brexit jigsaw of lost privileges and opportunities for the UK. Removing the status of British TV programs and film as ‘European Work’ According to

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