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Saturday, 26 January 2019

BBC Eyes New Post-Brexit EU Base

The BBC is considering setting up a base in Brussels, which will allow it to continue broadcasting to the remaining EU nations post-Brexit.

Belgium's Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has disclosed that he held discussions on the possibility in Davos with BBC Director General, Tony Hall.

"Belgium is often on the shortlist of companies eager to anchor in the European Union after Brexit," Michel said from the Swiss town hosting the World Economic Forum.

It is understood that the BBC is also looking at the Netherlands and Ireland as potential sites for the new offshoot.

Under current arrangements the BBC can broadcast its international channels - which include BBC World, BBC First and BBC Earth - across EU nations by virtue of licences granted by UK-based regulator Ofcom.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the BBC would need to negotiate new broadcast licences with the EU authorities. It will be in a stronger position to do that if it has a foothold in a major EU city.

A BBC Studios spokesperson told The Guardian: "BBC Studios, a commercial arm of the BBC, operates a number of bespoke TV channels outside of the UK, including some that are broadcast in the European Union. We will be keeping the situation under close review to ensure that we can continue to best serve our audiences in any changed regulatory environment."

BBC sources said that there were decision-making and workforce requirements, but that they expected the number of staff employed in the new base to be limited in number.

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