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Brexit: UK media has shot at global expansion

BrexitA new report for the UK government looking at Brexit challenges and opportunities says there is a major opportunity for UK media companies to expand the business they do globally if the right policies are put into place.

JohnMcVay_NewSoon after the UK referendum vote in favour of leaving the European Union, the government and industry-backed Creative Industries Council was tasked with speaking to stakeholders and reporting to government on the likely impact on the media sector.

The working group was chaired by Pact chief John McVay and covered all sectors of UK media.

The report– Creating a New World View, priorities for the UK’s creative industries following the decision to leave the EU – has now been delivered to government.

It noted that post-Brexit, European Union member states will continue to be key trading partners for UK creative industry businesses, but there is a major opportunity to expand beyond the EU.

“In the future, the EU will continue to be a key market for the creative industries, but with some 57.5% of our service exports already going to non-EU countries,” it said. “We also see major opportunities to expand our trade across the globe.”

It added: “We have the opportunity over the next few years to consolidate and grow the UK’s position as a truly global centre for the creative industries, at the heart of the world’s digital economy. We aim to go from strength to strength, extending our reach into new markets with world-class creative content, services and talent.”

To deliver upon that promise the CIC report said the right policies need to be enacted, and failing that revenue and jobs will be lost and the UK’s global standing diminished.

Specifically, the right policies include continued access on favourable terms to EU markets. This will be key point for the UK negotiating team, and is considered a potential problem as access to the EU markets has traditionally been contingent upon free movement of goods, services and people, which many observers say UK voters rejected in part with their pro-Brexit decision.

The CIC also said a secure supply of skills needs to be ensured through domestic investment in the creative industries “and a reformed migration system that enables the UK to attract and retain key talent from around the world”.

With concerns among the TV and wider creative industries about the loss of EU pots of funding, the CIC also called on government to “ensure that the current benefits of EU funding to the creative and cultural sectors are at least maintained”.

Crucially, it also called for the creative industries to be part of the UK government’s industrial strategy. When this was last formulated, the creative sector was not one of those included in the government’s plans.

The CIC said that without the above measures, the creative sector will be challenged.

“Without concerted action, the UK’s position as an international centre for the creative industries could be seriously undermined, with businesses seeking to locate elsewhere, and key skills shortages and gaps becoming harder to fill, leading to significant losses of revenue and jobs,” it said.