Brussels top location for UK broadcasters seeking EU access

31 March 2020 2 min. read
More news on

UK based broadcasters looking to ensure access to European markets post-Brexit are best off relocating the necessary parts of their business to Brussels, according to a study by Analysys Mason.

British businesses operating in the audiovisual sector need to prepare for life after Brexit’s transition phase. Currently, UK-based broadcasters, catch-up TV services and video-sharing platforms currently air channels across Europe under an Ofcom license, but beyond 31 December 2020, they will need to establish a base of operations within the European Union to continue broadcasting. 

In addition, many UK businesses in the sector rely on EU funding schemes and the wider European talent pool to staff their businesses, and a common regulatory and legal framework to offer digital services across the continent. They will need to co-locate themselves in a European Union member state if they wish to continue to access these benefits.

Overview of licensing and regulatory approach in selected cities

Competition for attracting these UK firms is fierce, with Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin and Paris the cities holding the best cards. According to the report by the global consulting and research firm, which compared the four cities on a number of criteria focused on the licensing and regulatory regime, Brussels comes out on top as the most favourable location.

“Brussels has adopted the most flexible approach to both licensing and regulations when compared to others,” states the report. The authors describe the audiovisual licensing regime in Brussels as “comparatively simple”, long-term oriented (an unlimited license duration provided that the establishment criteria are met) and more cost effective (no licensing fees). In comparison, Amsterdam, Dublin and Paris have been found to overall have a “highly complex” licensing environment.

Pascal Smet, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Brussels Capital Region, is delighted with the recognition from Analysys Mason’s research. “This research confirms once more the attractiveness of Brussels as an investment hot-spot for the audiovisual sector.”

Alongside the licensing and regulatory regime, Smet added that Belgium’s capital city enjoy a number of other perks that underpin its attractiveness. “Brussels has a highly-educated local workforce, competitive real estate prices, and very attractive conditions for foreign nationals moving to our region. Just two hours from London on the Eurostar, and well-connected to Europe and the rest of the world, Brussels is a prime location for British broadcasters.”