Discovery sets up Dutch operational HQ amid Brexit uncertainty
Discovery, the international media giant, has applied for broadcast licences in the Netherlands for its European pay-television channels, with some jobs to move from London to Amsterdam amid uncertainty over Brexit, the UK’s planned departure from the European Union.
Discovery, which owns Eurosport, the pan-European sports broadcaster, has had a presence in the Dutch capital since 1989, but is now establishing a European operational headquarters for its channels there.
The move comes ahead of the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU on 29 March, but with the country having yet to conclude a deal with the organisation on its relationship beyond that date, which could yet force a delay.
In a statement on Friday, Discovery said of the Dutch undertaking: “This decision ensures continuity of our services for the viewer across Europe. This change means a number of new roles will be created in Amsterdam and a number of roles will move from London to Amsterdam.”
However, it insisted that it remains committed to the UK, stating: “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.”
It is also retaining UK licences for its 16 channels in the country.
However, channels that broadcast in the EU require a licence in a country within the bloc.
JB Perrette (pictured), president and chief executive of Discovery International, said: “The Dutch government and regulators have been a great partner in our discussions with them regarding our EU-pay-TV portfolio. They have shown a tremendous commitment and understanding of our business needs. They have also created the right stability and conditions for us to create a dynamic content and creative hub that meets Europe’s needs and wishes. I would like to thank them for the pleasant cooperation throughout this process.”
Discovery joins other international broadcasters that have started to move European operations away from the UK in light of Brexit, including US giants Turner Broadcasting System and NBC Universal.
In addition, it has been reported that the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, has held talks with the Irish and Dutch authorities about seeking licences to allow it to continue broadcasting across the EU in the event of no deal.