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Report – Brexit Late Breakfast: the future of children’s media in light of Brexit

Posted on: Thursday 16 March 2017 11:18pm

Takeaways:

  • The need for clarification
  • The affect on people and the workforce
  • Opportunities through emerging markets

 

Chaired by: Nigel Roby, Owner and Chief Executive of The Bookseller,

Speakers:
Tim Collins MD, The Brand Director
Oli Hyatt Chair, Animation UK
Belinda Rasmussen Publisher of Macmillan Children’s Books
Rosina Robson Head of Nations and Children’s – the Producers Alliance for Cinema and TV (PACT)
Robert Taylor President, the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE)

The panel discussed the positives and negatives facing a post-Brexit UKRobert started the discussion stating that the FSE, which represents more than 20,000 European screenwriters both inside and outside the EU, has spent a lot of time lobbying for authors’ rights in Brussels; the most recent success being a new directive giving creatives fairer shares in their work. An immediate effect of Brexit is that these changes won’t be adopted by the UK government or benefit British writers. The big question is: Will we have access to the single market as creatives? As yet all remains unclear.

Tim thought that the markets will struggle. There will be a long tail of small IP holders withering on the vine whilst bigger conglomerates, like Disney, will weather the storm better.

Belinda raised the problem that Macmillan Books, like many other publishers, find it cheaper to have their books manufactured in China because of economies of scale. But as the pound goes down because of Brexit, the price of manufacturing is going up. The plus side is the weak pound is good for foreign sales.

Rosina also struck a positive note. The Creative Industries are worth £1.3 billion a year to the UK. But as a sector we need our future role defined by the government as they’re doing for other industries.

Oli added that the government wants to double creative exports by 2020. It’s already grown a lot thanks to the tax credits for animation and other genres. But a real worry is that Animation UK, and their associates, have a 35% European work force. We don’t presently have enough talent in the UK so the industry will suffer. We also need the ability for European talent to be based here to help to build UK skills.

Nigel said foreign workers were being made to feel unwelcome not by their host companies but by nations. Everyone agreed that we need clarification of what Brexit will mean – particularly for the people it potentially impacts on, as soon as possible.

In conclusion, Robert stressed we must look to emerging markets, including China and India. “The English language is our great strength. Our traditional heritage is immensely attractive to markets like China. In the end it’s down to the content we produce and it’s fantastic!”

 

Gail Renard
Chair, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain

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