Brexit: Seven Likely Consequences for the British Film and TV Industry

Brexit: Seven Likely Consequences for the

Palme d’Or winner 'I, Daniel Blake' benefited from E.U. funding

The British voters’ decision to leave the European Union is likely to have multiple consequences for the British entertainment biz, with leading U.K. industry figures approached by Variety highlighting several areas of concern.

First is the likely end of financial backing from the Media Program, the E.U.’s funding body for the film, TV and digital media sectors. This will hit funding for film in particular, including training, project development, co-production, festivals and the theatrical distribution of E.U. films in Britain and the theatrical distribution of British films in Europe.

One example of Media Program support is the €40 million ($44.3 million) given to the theatrical distribution of 84 British films in other European countries in 2014 and 2015. Another example is the funding of the development of this year’s Palme d’Or winner “I, Daniel Blake,” directed by British filmmaker Ken Loach, through the Media Program’s Slate Development initiative. Loach’s Sixteen Films received €172,828 ($191,000) for four projects, including “I, Daniel Blake.”

Second is the question of the various quotas for European content on TV channels across Europe. British shows, including those made for U.S. networks such as the BBC-AMC spy thriller “The Night Manager,” have until now qualified as E.U. shows. In future they may not. This could lead to fewer being picked up by European TV networks, which could drive down the price paid for them.

Third is the issue of visas and work permits for European executives, cast and crew coming to work in the U.K. and, conversely, British staff going to work in E.U. countries, which may now become more difficult. Linked to that is the movement of “goods” between countries, such as movie cameras, costumes, vehicles and so on, which may in the future require “carnets,” or special customs permits.

Fourth is that the U.K. will no longer have a seat at the table when the E.U. is deciding on issues like the Digital Single Market strategy, which seeks to end geo-blocking across Europe and stop companies enforcing territorial copyright rules.

But not all the consequences of Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U. will necessarily be negative. There could be positive effects as well.

So, a fifth effect could be that the falling value of the pound against the dollar and the euro in the long-term makes it cheaper for Hollywood and European productions to shoot in the U.K. But, on the flip side, this is bad news for U.K. distributors: A weak pound makes acquiring foreign films more costly, as most of these deals are done in dollars or euros. It will also hit the dollar and euro value of U.K. theatrical and home-entertainment revenue for Hollywood and other non-U.K.-owned distributors.

Sixth, the British film and TV industry would no longer be bound by E.U. “State Aid” rules that govern how government subsidies and other incentives are applied to the film and TV industry. The British government could set up more attractive incentives than the rest of Europe.

But this is all in the realm of speculation right now; no one knows anything for sure. As a result of Thursday’s referendum, Britain is facing at least two years of messy divorce negotiations from the E.U.

And so to the seventh and final consequence, which again is negative: a protracted period of uncertainty. This by itself will be damaging to the U.K. film and TV industry, which, by its nature, has to plan years in advance.

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  1. Kate H says:

    A cursory glance at Alexander Walker’s histories of the British film industry would be enough to kill any optimism that the British government will do anything to support it.

  2. sad says:

    It will certainly make it more difficult for me to ship things from the UK to Romania, cast included, which is where I do most of my productions. It would also remove my ability to count my UK cast and materials spend as EU spend when I do co-productions. That will suck.

  3. Rudy Mario says:

    Ha. The film and TV industry impact is inconsequential compared to what happens to UK/Brits.

    It looks like the chicken have come home to roost!

    The Brit’s like other former European powers, looted other peoples and countries, set up brother against brother to divide and conquer and got rich. Now it has come full circle. UK like other EU powers have been in decline for nearly 80 years. But they have manipulated currencies and rigged the game to keep themselves at the top for the past 40 or so years. All that is coming to an end.

    The Scots will soon breakaway and already small UK will become tiny. Most Brits prefer to be expats are live in other countries. Just check out Dubai, Qatar, Singapire, Honk Kong, South Africs, etc., not to mention good old USA where British immigrants continue to be one of top six immigrant groups even today (after nearly
    200 years later).

    Northern Ireland and even Wales could breakaway. Soon UK will be smaller than most US counties.

    Tragic indeed.

    • Ben says:

      That’s true. Scotland has no reason to stay with the UK any longer. They should be independent anyway. The English showed the world again what kind of people they are: They want to be left alone, because they think that they’re superior to the rest. They leave them alone. And, please. return Northern Ireland to the Irish: It doesn’t belong to you either. With leaving the EU, England is sealed its fate: A minor culture that will vanish slowly. But they still think that they’re EMPIRE, right ? It’s funny and sad :-)

  4. anonnnn says:

    in truth it will have no impact

    people will find diffetent ways

    it will probably help production

    • clark jones says:

      you clearly do not understand how the tax credit scheme works so you ate probably not working in the industry. i am working on a european funded cp production and this is of huge importance to professional companies. please get your info in order before one your mouth.

    • Rhys says:

      Here here Anonnnn. The corporate media are flogging this donkey to death. Point 6 is the only valid one, then this so called journalist dismissing it. Change is ahead, so are new negotiations and work to be done. The fat cat bribes are over, welcome to reality.

  5. Tom Petch says:

    There has been similar scaremongering in a Screen article today, it is complete nonsense. Funding sources from EU to UK are virtually non existent, and most benefits to production occur in the country where the bulk of your production spend occurs i.e shoot in country X, receive tax relief on production spend from country X. Coproduction deals are negotiated outside the EU framework. The main reason US productions come to UK is because of the tax incentives which have nothing to do with the EU. Finally right now we have US director stuck because they couldn’t get a UK visa, pushing back a recce for a shoot, and we need better free movement internationally to bring the best talent to the UK from outside the EU, no offence to European mainland directors. And I agree with the previous comment, weak pound means European productions coming to the UK, usually they can’t afford to.

    • iamx says:

      Who want to come and shoot in a place where there is virtually no sunlight? Good film studios are everywhere nowadays in Europe.

  6. Gary says:

    Whoever wrote this article has absolutely no knowledge of how the uk film industry, or for that matter how the world film industry works. I work in the uk film industry. It’s simple, believe me. It’s governed by nothing other that money. Ok, money. I’ve seen it boom & crash, and every time it has boomed it is because of a weak pound. Nothing else effects it. Distribution has nothing to do with it. After yesterday, there is already talk of more productions moving to the uk. So your way off. Yet another scaremonger. In future, don’t just read stuff off websites and copy it. Talk to people who have been working here for years like myself & stop being dumb. All that other stuff has no actual effect. It is a business after all. It’s about making money. If you suddenly get a quarter more money because of the exchange rate, well it doesn’t take much to work that out.

    • Kate H says:

      How did you get a job in the film industry when it looks like you can barely write in English? The sentence “All that other stuff has no actual effect” alone is a masterclass in projecting authority through meticulous attention to detail. What is it that you actually do? Are you a fluffer in the R18 market?

    • Kt. says:

      It’s more complex than simply having more productions move to England. Otherwise Canada, the states of Louisiana and North Carolina, Prague etc. would be self-sustaining, robust movie industries on their own. Why do directors from those places often want to break into the global market, using globally recognized casts and tech people? Isolationism is always an extreme overcorrection.

  7. BillUSA says:

    At some point in the future, someone will happen upon this and similar articles while rooting through the archives and realize that it was a whole lot of something about nothing. Britain will be fine. I’m not so sure about the EU.

  8. JoeMcG says:

    The British film and TV industry has thrived through the many tax incentives and government support they receive… Money that was made possible through the strength of Britain’s economy, strengthened by London’s position as the worldwide gateway to the EU market. With that gateway gone, the economy will falter and the UK will no longer be able to afford to provide these incentives. And when these incentives start to dry up, so will UK production. Witness what’s been going on in Vancouver…

  9. Britain has the best stage actors, so there’s that. That might be good for something.

    • Ben says:

      Are they really “the best” ? It’s part of Britain’s old delusional myth of cultural superiority. Truth is, the English don’t matter as a culture anymore. The US matters, the EU matters, China will matter, Russia will matter, Eastern Europe will matter more. But the English ? They can do fine Shakespeare plays ;-)

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