Nick Ferrari slams EU plot to axe UK TV: Covid and theyre worried about Downton Abbey!

Ferrari slams EU on Audiovisual Media Services Directive

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LBC host Nick Ferrari has comically taken aim at the EU’s push to purge the bloc of British TV and film productions. It comes after obtained an internal EU document setting out the need to protect the “media diversity” of the union by curbing the “disproportionally” high number of British-made programs on European TV screens after Brexit. Mr Ferrari slammed the decision remarking that Brussels seemed more concerned about “Downton Abbey” than Covid.

Ferrari said: “Now the UK is Europe’s biggest producer of Film and TV. £1.4billion worth of sales. But now it seems a threat to Europe’s cultural diversity. Isn’t that incredible?

“Only within Europe would they decide to actually restrict what you want to see on your televisions. Sure, it’s a free market.

“No of course. Free market.

“Brussels target is the continuing definition of British programming and film being seen as European works now under the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive.”

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He added: “Ok, so we have got a nation, a world I’m sorry struggling in the face of coronavirus.

“And they are worrying about Downton Abbey.”

The internal EU document pointed to concern in Brussels over the “disproportionate” amount of British content on European screens.

“The high availability of UK content in video-on-demand services, as well as the privileges granted by the qualification as European works, can result in a disproportionate presence of UK content within the European video on demand quota and hinder a larger variety of European works (including from smaller countries or less spoken languages),” read the memo.

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“Therefore the disproportionality may affect the fulfilment of the objectives of promotion of European works and cultural diversity aimed by the audiovisual media services directive.

“The concerns relate to how Brexit will impact the audiovisual production sector in the European Union as, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, the UK provides half of the European TV content presence of VOD in Europe and the UK works are the most actively promoted on VOD, while the lowest EU27 share of promotion spots is also found in the UK.

“Although the UK is now a third country for the European Union, its audiovisual content still qualifies as ‘European works’ according to the definition provided by the AVMS directive, as the definition continues to refer to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe, to which the UK remains a party.”

Adam Minns, the executive director of the Commercial Broadcasters Association warned the move is big blow for the UK TV industry.

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Mr Minns said: “Selling the international intellectual property rights to British programmes has become a crucial part of financing production in certain genres, such as drama.

“Losing access to a substantial part of EU markets would be a serious blow for the UK TV sector, right across the value chain from producers to broadcasters to creatives.”

A UK government spokesperson said: “The UK is proud to host a world-class film and TV industry that entertains viewers globally and which the government has supported throughout the pandemic, including through the film and TV restart scheme.

“European works status continues to apply to audiovisual works originating in the UK, as the UK is a party to the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT).”

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