Saturday 18 November 2017

TV stations inquire about post-Brexit move to Dublin

'The European directive on broadcasting is being reviewed and Ireland is pushing for this levy. The EU has already backed a levy on online services.'
'The European directive on broadcasting is being reviewed and Ireland is pushing for this levy. The EU has already backed a levy on online services.'
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

A number of television stations have approached the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) about the possibility of relocating to Dublin from London over concerns about the impact Brexit will have on licences to broadcast across the EU.

London has a vibrant television sector but industry experts believe that many will consider relocating to Dublin after Brexit - particularly subsidiaries of American broadcast organisations.

"The licensing regime here is somewhat similar to the UK," O'Keeffe told the Sunday Independent.

"There is an attraction to here because we are close by, we are English language," said O'Keeffe. "We have had preliminary inquiries."

Other EU locations, such as Luxembourg, would be competing for such operations.

O'Keeffe said that the BAI would do some work on how such entities would be regulated should they seek licences to broadcast from Ireland.

"On the TV side we would look at the possibilities and the potential for something like that to occur, and what kind of regime that would be," he said. He added that the current regime is aimed at Irish stations based here.

Less onerous licences, such as those given to UTV Ireland and Eirsport, are available and do not have the extensive requirements of free-to-air channels such as TV3 and RTE.

There would be a potential benefit to the BAI as any station licensed here would have to pay a fee.

Meanwhile, O'Keeffe confirmed that the Government is proposing a levy on opt-out channels broadcasting in Ireland.

These channels broadcast from Britain and insert ads for Irish audiences on the stream broadcast into Ireland.

It is estimated that opt-out channels soak up close to €50m in Irish advertising every year, with Sky being the main beneficiary of this revenue.

The European directive on broadcasting is being reviewed and Ireland is pushing for this levy. The EU has already backed a levy on online services.

"Ireland is looking for a revision of the directive to allow levies to be placed on services which are targeting this jurisdiction," said O'Keeffe. "Ireland has legitimately asked the question that if you can do it for online services, why can't you do it for services that are targeting Ireland."

However, O'Keeffe cautioned against the industry's expectation that the levy could bring in significant funds and said that opt-outs would remain an issue in the market.

Sunday Indo Business

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