The European Commission is engaged in reviewing various regulations to support a digital single market across Europe. Following the referendum to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom government will now have less influence on any revisions to regulations relating to the distribution of television and other audiovisual services and the development of copyright law in Europe.
Although some of the current principles will be maintained under existing legislation and international conventions, this will not necessarily apply to proposed regulations and extensions, including those affecting the availability and portability of on-demand services across Europe.
The United Kingdom has been a major player in European media, partly because of its strong production base and partly because many international companies have based their European distribution in London.
There are many reasons for this, including a degree of shared language and culture with major media companies in North America. However, the country of origin principal coupled with clarity of regulation has made it attractive as a media hub.
Of over 9,000 television channels available in the European Union, over 1,600 of them are established in the United Kingdom.
Much will depend on what is negotiated in the two-year notice period during which any alternative terms of trade are agreed to provide access to the European market. That may determine how attractive it is for international media companies to base their European distribution in London.
Any potential differences in regulation between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe may make it harder for media companies to address the region as a whole.
The resulting uncertainty will hamper media companies that are already dealing with the disruptive effects of new forms of distribution and consumption.
The prospects of strong European media players emerging to compete with other global corporations appears even more remote with the United Kingdom operating outside the rest of Europe.