Ofcom publishes draft no-deal Brexit broadcast licences

Ofcom has published draft broadcast licence templates that could be used in the event of a no-deal Brexit as it prepares for “all eventualities” relating to the UK’s departure from the EU.

Currently the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) provides the basis for Ofcom’s broadcast licensing framework.

The AVMSD’s ‘country of origin’ principle lets TV broadcasters and video-on-demand providers to transmit services across the EU, provided they comply with the rules of the country which has jurisdiction over the service.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would no longer be party to the AVMSD and would be classed as a ‘third country’.

The UK Government has now made proposed legal changes that would apply to broadcasting in the UK from exit day in a no-deal scenario and Ofcom has prepared new licences to reflect this new legislation.

The Government’s amendments to broadcast licensing arrangements mean that any TV channel that appears on a UK Electronic Programme Guide would need to be licensed and regulated in the UK.

TV channels that are based in the UK and broadcast to another country that is covered by the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT) would be regulated under the provisions of the ECTT.

The ECTT pre-dates the AVMSD and allows freedom of reception of TV services between the countries that are party to it, offering a similar country of origin principle. However, the ECTT does not cover VOD services.

Most of Europe is party to the ECTT, though the following EU member states are not: Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Sweden.

“We are seeking comments on the new licences that would be issued to all new successful Television Licensable Content Service (TLCS), Digital Television Programme Service (DTPS) and Digital Television Additional Service (DTAS) applicants after exit day, in the event of no deal,” said Ofcom in a statement.

Ofcom has published a document titled ‘frequently asked questions on broadcasting and on demand services after the UK leaves the EU’ which can be accessed here (PDF).

Ofcom’s new draft licence templates can be found here.

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