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International broadcasters looking to relocate operations to Dublin

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There are 1,400 channels licensed in London alone. 750 of these channels broadcast to another EU country. Broadcasters have found themselves in a similar situation to that of the UK’s banks due to Brexit. In the same way that banks need to relocate their operations to an EU state in order to keep their ‘passporting rights,’ which allows them to continue operations throughout the EU, broadcasters intending on broadcasting across the EU will need to do the same.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK’s regulator Ofcom will not be recognised by the European Commission. As a result, broadcasters are required to secure alternative regulatory approval in order to continue broadcasting in the EU.

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International broadcasters such as Disney, Al Jazeera, CNN, Viacom, Discovery and Turner will need to decide which EU state they are going to relocate to. It has been reported that two international broadcasters are close to formally choosing Dublin as the location for their EU operations after Brexit. The identity of these international broadcasters has yet to be disclosed to the general public.

Reports suggest that one broadcaster is looking for approval from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), while another international broadcaster is expected to begin the process soon. Although this may come as a surprise to some, the IDA has been working with the BAI for some time in an effort to promote Ireland to international broadcasters looking to relocate their operation post-Brexit.

Shane Nolan, SVP Technology, Consumer & Business Services at the IDA, has said that discussions are only being held big name broadcasters. Mr Nolan also commented that while Ireland may not have a track record as location for overseas broadcasters, it does have the infrastructure, an English-speaking population and workforce, and a regulator not dissimilar to Ofcom.

Why are broadcasters interested in Ireland?

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There are a number of reasons why international broadcasters are interested in Ireland as a location. Ireland provides clear and consistent regulatory environment for broadcasters. Ireland’s regulations are similar to the UK’s, making it an attractive option for post-Brexit relocation. It also has some benefits that the UK’s system lacks. For instance, currently Ireland does not impose licence fees on the majority of broadcasters. In addition, unlike many other European countries, Ireland does not impose a minimum language requirement on content output.

The main reason broadcasters are interested in Ireland:

  • Ireland has access to the EU
  • Ireland’s corporation tax is 12.5%
  • Ireland has a highly educated workforce
  • Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU post-Brexit
  • Ireland has an attractive regulatory environment
  • Ireland is an easy place to do business (A report by the World Bank ranked fourth in the EU for "ease of doing business.”)

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