Broadcasters including A+E Networks, DiscoveryDisneyFox and Turner have slammed the UK government’s plans for how Brexit will impact the television business – claiming its white paper offers “little clarity” for the sector.

The Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA), the trade body that includes these networks and is chaired by Animal Planet Global President Susanna Dinnage, said that the government’s white paper, which was published today offers “little detail” for the broadcasting sector. It warned that international broadcasters will have to start restructuring ahead of the UK’s potential exit from the European Union.

International broadcasters invest more than £1B (US$1.3B) a year in the UK in the form of content, jobs, overheads and infrastructure and the UK is Europe’s leading international broadcasting centre, home to 650 international channels.

TV channels broadcast to the EU from London requires a licence in an EU country to continue after Brexit but the government has not laid out how this would work in future.

Broadcasting accounted for 285 words in the 104-page document and the language was vague, with the government claiming that it would be “seeking the best possible arrangements for this sector”.

“The audiovisual sector is both economically and culturally important to the UK and the EU. The UK’s creative hub contributes significantly to the development of products that are much in demand by European consumers,” it noted.

“The UK is leaving the Single Market. As a result, the “country of origin” principle, in which a company based in one Member State can be licenced by a national regulator and broadcast into any other Member State, will no longer apply. The UK is seeking the best possible arrangements for this sector.”

Adam Minns, COBA’s Executive Director, said, “This is a £1 billion, high growth sector that should be central to the future of the UK’s audio-visual sector. We remain deeply concerned that broadcasters will have to reluctantly start restructuring within the next few months, and possibly within weeks for some companies.”