How Brexit Will Impact the Entertainment Industry

Brexit series for FT.

The UK has officially left the EU, well, kind of. Now we are in the next phase of negotiations, a transition period that is supposed to run until January 2021. This means, for the time being, not much will be changing for the UK’s entertainment industry. Filmmakers, musicians, game developers and other creative types will not discover the exact effects of Brexit on the sector until next year, but that doesn’t mean future challenges cannot already be seen in the distance.

Whereas some see hurdles to navigate, other professionals in the entertainment see an opportunity, especially with the development in smart 5G technologies, virtual/augmented reality, and a booming new niche of entertainment, in eGaming. So, really will be the repercussions of Brexit be on the UK’s entertainment industry?

The Big Issues: Working Immigration and Visas

Once Brexit is finalised, the UK will have erased freedom of movement and establish a points-based system, somewhat similar to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. However, unlike Australia, the points system will not pave a more natural way for UK jobseekers depending on age.

As part of this new system, any entertainment professional coming to the UK must earn a minimum salary of £25,600. For experienced workers in the industry, this will not be an issue. However, for juniors and entry-level professions in the industry, this may prove to be a stumbling block for UK studios and companies to hire from abroad.

The blanket idea from the government is that this will enable UK citizens to take those positions to close the employment gap between rich and poor youngsters, but it could also offer a skill shortage in the industry.

Another potential problem is for film crews going into the EU to film as part of shows and documentaries. As they will no longer have freedom of movement, and film equipment is seen as goods, this would be prohibited in planned rules.

This is why some industry leaders and bosses in other sectors have called on negotiators to approach discussions with common sense and allow for such working relationships on a short-term basis. If they will grant this recommendation, it remains to be seen as of yet.

Creative Funding

Right now in the transition period, any business in the entertainment industry can continue to apply for EU funding from the Creative Europe Programme. Even if the funding they are asking for will be distributed after 2021, they will still be allowed to receive the money for their projects.

However, it is not unknown if the UK will still be a part of the programme after the transition period. It is thought that as the UK will not be paying into any EU membership, it is unlikely that this funding pot will still be available to them unless the UK concedes some contribution during negotiations.

The bottom line is that we need to be patient and more information will unravel as negotiations progress.