According to a recent Connectiv survey, the UK was by far the leading area of interest for international partnership and expansion among B2B media and information companies and now that Great Britain’s exit from the European Union is an impending reality, U.S.-based publishers are assessing what this could mean for them.
Jim Casella, director of Stagnito + Edgell Communications and chairman of Connectiv, is no stranger to the international marketplace and here offers his views on what Brexit means in general and for B2B in particular.
Jim Casella: In the near term, the real concern is the uncertainty that the "Leave majority" has brought to not only Europe & the United Kingdom, but to the rest of the world. You have the remaining 27 members of the European Community pushing for a fast start to negotiating Great Britain's exit under "Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty." David Cameron the Tory Prime Minister has called for a slower & more orderly negotiation of the terms of their exit. He has resigned, but is not planning on leaving office until October. In the United Kingdom this referendum has proven to be very divisive, with the young voters under 30 having favored by a large majority "Remain" by large margins, along with voters in London and the university communities in Cambridge & oxford. This was also true of Scotland & Northern Ireland, who voted for "Remain" by large margins. The more industrial & rural villages voted for "Leave", giving the "Leave" campaign with an overall 52% vs 48% victory.
It seems unlikely after the UK's exit, that London would remain the financial center for Europe, in quite the way it has been in the past. For those of us in the information industry that focus on this large & globally important sector, we will most likely find more of these jobs that require our data & analytics, as well as, our "SaaS workflow solutions" will relocate to Dublin & Frankfurt. In spite of the uncertainty, that has come about on many levels, I trust that our "special relationship" with Great Britain will remain & the British will remain a very important player on the world stage.
Looking beyond the financial information sector, I can imagine that there could be some impact on the large STM publishers, who have been working through the "Open Access" issues for a long time. I can envision Elsevier Science, Springer & Wiley, the three largest STM firms all having to deal with some new regulations, over time. Again, though, this will not be apparent overnight, as there are much larger issues to be negotiated as part of the "divorce."
I believe that the leaders of our member firms must stay close to the situation, as it unfolds. [Connectiv managing director] Mike Marchesano has an upcoming trip to London in September and in addition to telling the Connectiv story to potential new members, I know he will be listening to our colleagues in London and bring back to his board insights on how we can best support our colleagues in London, over the next several years, as a new relationship is established. There is some speculation that a "Norway style agreement" will emerge with a second referendum that would result in "the free movement of labor and contributions to the EU budget".
Unfortunately, I believe Prime Minister Cameron overplayed what he thought was a "winning hand", after Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom and the Conservatives won a majority on their own & he thought this referendum would satisfy those to his right in his own party. He clearly was wrong & history will judge him accordingly. On a personal level, I would have voted for "Remain" & I regret that the campaign had a very negative tone with regards to immigration. Politicians, who led the "Leave" side clearly tried to flame the xenophobic fears regarding immigrants.