The international factual giant is applying for broadcast licences in the Netherlands to avoid the ramifications of a no-deal Brexit in the even that the UK leaves the European Union. Discovery currently operates its European channels, including Eurosport, Animal Planet, out of London.
A Discovery spokeswoman said, “Given Brexit, Discovery is now applying for new broadcast licences in the Netherlands for its EU pay-TV channel portfolio. Discovery is retaining a large hub in the UK and has renewed on a long-term, the lease for its main London office in West London, which houses more than 1,000 people. The company is retaining its Ofcom licences for its 16 channels in the UK and holds significant investments in the market, including stakes in UKTV, All3 Media and Play Sports Group.”
TV channels broadcast to the EU from London requires a licence in an EU country to continue after Brexit but the government has not laid out how this would work in future.
Discovery has long cautioned against Brexit; the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), the trade body chaired by Animal Planet Global President Susanna Dinnage, has previously called the government’s white paper, which was last year, offers “little detail” for the broadcasting sector.
International broadcasters invest more than £1B (US$1.3B) a year in the UK in the form of content, jobs, overheads and infrastructure and the UK is Europe’s leading international broadcasting centre, home to 650 international channels.