The number of television channels licensed in the United Kingdom but targeting other European markets has fallen as international television networks have made preparations for Brexit. Half of channels targeting other European Union territories were based in the United Kingdom in 2018. That proportion fell to just over a third by the end of 2019.
The United Kingdom saw its share of television channels across Europe drop by 5% in 2019 to 22%, but it remains the largest contributor to the overall supply of television channels in the group of 28 European Union countries, which it has committed to leave.
The loss was mainly led by the migration of television channels and localised versions addressing foreign markets, as international networks seeking to maintain distribution after Brexit applied for broadcasting licences outside the United Kingdom. They include Discovery, Viacom and Sony.
The main destination for the relocation was the Netherlands, followed by Spain.
In 2018, the United Kingdom hosted 52% of all channels targeting other European Union territories. The other main hubs were the Czech Republic with 9% and Luxembourg with 8%.
The United Kingdom hosted 37% of such channels in 2019, while The Netherlands had 22% and Spain had 11%.
The numbers come from the Mavise database maintained by the European Audiovisual Observatory. The database lists 876 television services licensed in the United Kingdom, 678 in The Netherlands, and 292 in Spain. 801 television services are licensed exclusively in the United Kingdom.
With the final procedures in place for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020, this will be followed by a transition period until the end of the year, during which there will be an opportunity to negotiate additional arrangements for the future relationship.
With much of the focus on the trade of goods, it remains unclear how far arrangements for international broadcasting are up the political agenda. Meanwhile, it seems that a number of international broadcasters have made their own arrangements and The Netherlands has emerged as one of the main beneficiaries.