Fans of shows like The Crown, Coronation Street and quizzers’ favourite, The Chase, could be left without their telly fix under new laws being progressed in the European Union.
Changes to broadcasting rights quotas
One of the unintended consequences of Brexit is that deals on funding and broadcasting rights and quotas across Europe and with near neighbours have to change.
The proposed changes would see EU-based broadcasters in Ireland, like RTE and Virgin Media, having to broadcast up to half of their programming as ‘made in the EU.’
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This could see our stations here have to cut back on the loved staples from the UK like Corrie, and it could see the streaming giants like Netflix have to adjust their programming algorithms for Irish viewers, restricting access here to shows like The Crown.
European Commission taking a ‘petty position’
Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South, Billy Kelleher wants to have this changed for the benefit of Irish viewers.
Kelleher said: “This is a short-sighted, and in a way, petty position for the Commission to be taking.”
The Cork MEP was commenting after a proposal from the European Commission was leaked to a Brussels-based media outlet.
In the proposal, the Commission stated that “the need to re-define the concept of European works has been raised in the context of Brexit.
“It is arguable that, since the UK is no longer a member of the EU, works originating in the UK should no longer be considered as European.”
“At present, the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive directs that television and streaming must include a share of ‘European works’ in their transmission schedules or on-demand catalogues.
“European works are currently defined as ‘programs originating in, and produced mainly by nationals of, EU countries or those that have ratified the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), which includes the UK, Turkey and Ukraine.”
The Commission’s new proposal would remove the UK.
Kelleher said: “From an Irish perspective this would be very damaging, and put Irish broadcasters such as RTÉ, Sky Ireland and Virgin in an incredibly difficult position.
“Additionally, streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video would be severely hampered in terms of providing English-language content for the Irish market.
“Of course, we all want to see more Irish-produced TV content.
“That’s a given but the size of the Irish market means we do rely on content produced by British companies. Ireland is not alone in this.
“The Netherlands would also rely on content produced in the UK which is then either subtitled or dubbed for the Dutch market.
“The Irish Minister for Communications (Eamon Ryan) must engage with the Commission, and put an end to this proposal.
“Within the Parliament, I will work with other Irish MEPs to remove this restriction when the proposal comes before Parliament.
“This is a short-sighted, and in a way, petty position for the Commission to be taking. No citizen should be restricted in terms of accessing his or her preferred content because of Brexit.
“It’s in no one’s interests.”
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