Friday 25 January 2019 10:30 am

BBC weighs new European headquarters in Brussels


Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

Reporter covering media, telecoms and marketing. Get in touch at james.warrington@cityam.com

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The BBC is considering opening a new office in Brussels ahead of the UK leaving the EU, according to Belgium prime minister Charles Michel.

Michel, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, said he has held meetings with BBC director general Tony Hall to discuss the possible move.

Read more: Brussels launches campaign to entice UK creative industries ahead of Brexit

“Belgium is often on the shortlist of companies eager to anchor in the European Union after Brexit,” he said.

A Belgian government source confirmed the reports, telling AFP: “The BBC is planning, given Brexit, to open a major base on the continent.”

The source said Belgium was on the broadcaster’s shortlist with two other locations, including Amsterdam.

The revelations came as Brussels launched a campaign to attract UK creative businesses to the Belgian capital.

The campaign has promoted “attractive” tax conditions for productions based in the city, and said the city has a newly-regenerated development for media firms.

Media giants Sony and Discovery have already announced plans to move their European bases to the Netherlands, as businesses prepare for Brexit.

UK-based broadcasters that currently air in Europe will need a presence on the continent to continue broadcasting under an EU licence once the UK has completed its withdrawal from the EU.


The BBC currently operates several commercial channels broadcast in Europe, including BBC Entertainment, which airs reruns of shows such as Doctor Who and Antiques Roadshow.

It is understood a new BBC office would only require staff representing these commercial channels, and would not be new international headquarters.

Read more: MPs slam BBC for not acknowledging pay discrimination problem

A BBC Studios spokesperson said: “BBC Studios, a commercial arm of the BBC, operates a number of bespoke TV channels outside of the UK, including some that are broadcast in the European Union.

“We will be keeping the situation under close review to ensure that we can continue to best serve our audiences in any changed regulatory environment.”

 

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