In the post-Brexit period, the EU is planning to cut down on British-made series and other television programmes shown in Europe in order to preserve and promote cultural diversity in the bloc. The EU plans to reduce the number of British-made films and productions aired on the Continent post-Brexit. A move that would deal a severe blow to UK’s booming entertainment industry.
New EU Decision Apropos the UK
Following the ban on the sale of British sausages in Northern Ireland and the London-Paris dispute over fishing rights in the waters around Jersey, the new EU decision could once again fuel tensions between London and Brussels. Despite UK leaving the EU, British-made television programmes and films are still on the European agenda.
A leaked EU document obtained by the Guardian states that easy access to British-made productions due to the fact that these programmes continue to be described as European productions may be disproportionate. The type of top-heavy content in European production quotas could prevent the promotion of works produced by other member countries. The document states that the UK could pose a threat to cultural diversity in Europe by airing successful series such as “The Crown” and “Downton Abbey”, and that preliminary research is likely to limit the distribution of British series. This could have a direct impact on investments made in British film and TV series in the future.
European Commission Guidelines for Showing Movies and Series
According to the Commission’s guidelines, 30% of the works aired on European platforms and networks should belong to EU member states; but France, which fears English dominance, has increased this figure to 60%. According to the report, 22% of programmes shown on European networks were produced by EU member states, 8% by the UK and 2% by other European countries last year.
Threatening British Broadcasting in Line with European Cultural Diversity
The European Commission has decided to restrict the screening of British films and series on television networks and internet sites in the EU on the grounds that they pose a threat to cultural diversity in Europe. The commission intends to take the first step towards restricting the distribution of British theatrical content by launching an inquiry into the dangers of British cultural domination.
The EU Seeks to Reduce British Influence
According to the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), the bulk of TV programmes in member states, and a third of internet-based videos-on-demand, such as Amazon and Netflix, must be dedicated to European content. Some countries, such as France, go even further and set higher quotas for European production.
But a document presented to EU diplomats in June warned that the dominance of British television programmes on European television would overshadow the goals of the directive. After Brexit, the European Commission is tasked with investigating the dangers of broadcasting British-made programmes for EU cultural diversity, a decision which, according to diplomatic sources, will be the first step in limiting the concessions granted to British-made content.
The British Entertainment Industry is on the Verge of Bankruptcy
According to experts in the entertainment industry, the EU‘s plan to read non-European content made in the UK will particularly hurt the country’s serials industry, because some series in the UK, such as “Downton Abbey” and “The Crown”, can only be made by pre-selling their international distribution rights.
The sale of rights for British-made programmes to European video-on-demand channels and services generated £490million for the British television industry in 2019-2020, making Europe the second largest global market for British-made content after the United States. For a long time, however, there was a fear in the UK that the EU would diminish its influence in its audio-visual markets soon after Brexit. The government in London has been repeatedly warned of the dangers of choices for the British film and television industry.
Post-Brexit: Ban on British TV Series and Programmes for the Next Months
According to informed sources, when France takes over the rotating EU presidency next January, the plan to boycott British programmes will receive a significant boost by members such as Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria and several other countries. The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive is also set to be subject to interim review with possible changes expected within the next three years.
UK Reaction to the New EU Decision
The UK, meanwhile, has reacted to the decision by threatening to block it through legal means. A British government news source has accused the European Commission of reprimanding British film and TV audiences by reprimanding the UK for leaving the EU. The source attributes this EU anger to UK’s secession from it to the extent that it has decided to bar people from watching British series, and emphasises that the reason Europeans want to watch British series is because of their entertaining and compelling content.
After nearly a year of ups and downs, the UK and the EU finally reached a historic agreement on 24 December 2020 on the rules governing their relationship after Brexit. The agreement allows the two sides to trade goods without tariffs, as well as close cooperation between the police and the judiciary.
After an 11-month transition period, the UK finally withdrew from the Customs Union and the European Single Market on 1 January 2021. With the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, much tension has been created over the relations between the two sides in the new era, with accusations of sabotage by both sides.
The EU has used a variety of methods to pressure the UK into implementing the agreement, including banning its films and series and barring them from airing in EU countries. The UK, on the other hand, is trying to prevent such a move with the tools at its disposal. The boycott of British films and series will certainly bankrupt the British entertainment industry and worsen the economic situation, which has not been in a good place since leaving the EU.