Brexit: Show goes on for ‘Game of Thrones’ and UK film and TV producers
Industry will continue to fight European proposals to end content geo-blocking
Outgoing UK prime minister David Cameron, accompanied by wife Samantha Cameron, pictured in happier times in April 2015 as he examines a massive crossbow during a visit to the Game of Thrones set in Belfast. Photograph: Reuters/Kirsty Wigglesworth
A limited edition ‘Game of Thrones’ stamp, part of a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and Royal Mail.
Game of Thrones might be safe post-Brexit, Northern Ireland Screen has confirmed (its production funding comes the Northern Ireland Executive through Invest NI, not the European Regional Development Fund), but UK film and television producers are still reeling from the Leave result in the referendum on EU membership.
The trade association for independent producers, Pact, put out a statement saying it was “disappointed” with the decision. In a survey carried out before the referendum, some 85 per cent of its members indicated they supported a Remain vote.
But the show must go on. “Pact prides itself on being a pragmatic and effective organisation that works in the interests of its members and we now have to focus on potentially significant changes across a whole range of issues,” the producers’ body said as it highlighted the medium-term uncertainty.
Not being a member of the EU could hurt UK producers of film, television and animation by cutting them off from European funding agencies and by adding new layers of complexity to the financing, production and distribution of international co-productions.
It could also have knock-on effects on the Irish market.
A report by media consultancy Enders Analysis ahead of the referendum bluntly warned that leaving the EU would damage the export-reliant audiovisual production sector and hurt the wider creative industries that employ 1.8 million people in the UK.
“An obvious casualty of Brexit is the UK’s brand image as a globalised, connected and creative economy, which will wreak havoc on tourism and the UK’s soft power.”
UK producers have also been lobbying against some European Commission initiatives, including Digital Single Market proposals to stop the geo-blocking of content, which would prevent rights owners from negotiating territory-by-territory deals.
In a situation that is no doubt being repeated across numerous other industries that suddenly find they are holding a weak negotiating hand, Pact is hoping to influence the Digital Single Market debate on the basis its members will be affected by any detrimental changes regardless of whether the UK is a member of the EU or not.