COBA urges MPs to avoid Brexit cliff edge

Crashing out of the EU will create huge disruption for the UK’s international broadcasting sector, its workforce, and its suppliers, warned the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) today.

In the weeks prior to the UK hitting a cliff edge, the UK’s £1 billion international broadcasting sector will have no choice but to implement contingency plans in order to be able to still comply with EU law post Brexit. Hundreds of UK-based channels that are received in EU countries will be forced to find alternative arrangements, including securing broadcast licences from regulators in the remaining EU Member States before the end of March, so that they will have legally valid EU broadcast licences once the UK is no longer part of the single market.  This will entail restructuring their European operations to support those new licences and comply with EU law requirements.

Adam Minns, COBA’s Executive Director, said:

“International broadcasters have faced huge uncertainty ever since the Referendum in 2016. The UK is Europe’s leading international broadcasting hub for good reason, and no broadcaster wants to restructure their operations. Some broadcasters have been forced to so do already, but many have waited until now before taking this immensely complex and difficult decision. The costs and uncertainty of a hurried relocation will be felt by businesses, their employees and the supply chain. COBA urges MPs to consider the importance of avoiding a cliff edge, whatever ultimate scenario they favour.”


* The Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) is the industry body for multichannel broadcasters in the digital, cable and satellite television sector, and their on-demand services. COBA members operate a wide variety of channels, including news, factual, children’s, music, arts, entertainment, sports and comedy. Their content is available on free-to-air and pay-TV platforms, as well as on-demand.

*As part of this industry, the UK’s international broadcasting sector is worth £1 billion a year to the UK economy, and supports 1 in 5 jobs in the UK television industry.

*The UK is home to around 600 international channels (i.e. channels that are based here but broadcast to overseas countries). This is around half of all UK channels, and more than any other EU country.

*International broadcasting in the UK has grown by 50% since 2011, more than double the rate of growth for the UK’s wider digital sector (23%) and faster than the overall rate of growth for the creative industries (44.8%) (Source Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, DCMS)

*EU markets accounts for 45% of exports in digital services.

*For more information please contact Adam Minns, COBA’s Executive Director, at or 07557258400.