Media

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CMS is renowned for its outstanding full-service media practice with an exceptional team of media lawyers advising on the full breadth of work across the sector including content production and financing, broadcast and distribution, music, publishing, theatre, sports rights and media regulation. Our deep sector knowledge ensures that we can focus on the issues that matter most to you, leveraging over four decades worth of experience advising clients across the sector. 

Our lawyers have been at the forefront of the development of the sector, advising on the opportunities and challenges that have arisen as a result of the continued development and convergence of media, technology and telecoms and the associated changes in the production and delivery of content and consumer interaction. Moreover, our expert team are perfectly placed to advise you on the latest regulatory developments and how the ever-evolving regulatory regime affects your business, allowing you to maximise your commercial opportunities and protect your position in a crowded market. Some of our recent focus areas have included the UK’s New Media Bill, the subscription economy and new consumer legislation.   

Our reputation for delivery and excellence is well deserved, as recognised by our Tier 1 ranking for Media and Entertainment in Legal 500 UK 2023. A number of our team are included in the Legal 500 hall of fame, and others as Legal 500 leading individuals. 


We offer the breadth and depth of expertise across media in the UK and across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and beyond. Recent work includes:

  • The BBC and BBC Studios on a series of major transactions and strategic partnerships over the last 25 years. These have included the establishment of UKTV and BBC Studios’ subsequent buyout of Discovery from the venture, the sale of a 49.9% interest in BBC America to AMC, various significant transactions with Discovery and the creation of the BritBox SVOD service with ITV, as well as implementing digital switchover (the UK’s most significant broadcast engineering project). 
  • BT on its agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery to form a 50:50 joint venture to create a new premium sports offering for the UK and Ireland. This complicated transaction also involved the transfer of BT Sport’s existing business as well as securing BT’s rights to continue to distribute the JV services, as well as WBD’s other services, to its retail base. A large multi-disciplinary CMS team advised across all aspects including corporate, media, technology, anti-trust and regulatory, finance and specialist IP. 
  • Comcast Corporation on its GBP 30bn bid for Sky plc – the biggest takeover ever seen in Europe’s media industry. A team across multiple CMS territories advised on the specialist media, telecoms and gambling regulatory aspects of the deal. CMS teams in Albania and Ukraine also advised on anti-trust aspects. 
  • SkyShowtime on the key building blocks for the streaming service from Sky and Paramount. These include the film and TV output deals with NBCUniversal and Paramount, as well as the media regulatory, data privacy and consumer aspects of the service across its 22 European markets. 
  • ITV on its strategic deal to exclusively license an adtech platform from Amobee for the purchase and sale of targeted premium video inventory, as well as a series of investments in and acquisitions of content production businesses and investments from its media for equity fund. 
  • Viacom / Channel 5 on the acquisition of UK broadcaster Channel 5, the outsourcing of the Channel 5 advertising sales function to Sky Media and the carriage deals for all Viacom UK pay channels. This deal was the first acquisition by a US entity of a UK public service broadcaster. The team has advised Viacom since it first launched MTV Europe in the late 1980s. 

View our UK Media Team

 

What our clients say

"The lawyers at CMS are very good at giving really clear, crisp advice, without layers of legalese"

Chambers, 2022

"They are very much about getting things done and have an extremely can-do attitude"

Chambers, 2022

"Responsive, fast and always gives commercially sensible advice."

Chambers, 2022

"They know the issues so well and they're comfortable giving a view."

Chambers, 2022

"Diverse experience and subject matter expertise across a range of areas"

Legal 500, 2021-2022

"CMS’ ability to turn work around quickly is phenomenal, with no compromise to the quality of the output. The depth and wealth of experience is impressive."

Legal 500, 2021-2022

Choose an area

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Broadcast and Streaming
CMS has a market-leading practice in broadcasting and streaming. We have advised on some of the leading deals in this area. Our team are experts in ca
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Content Production and Financing
CMS’s production finance team has considerable experience acting for a wide range of producers, financiers and distributors in this space. We un
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Media Regulation
CMS is at the forefront of developments in the media regulatory space. Our team can be seen regularly at industry events speaking on new developments
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Music
CMS provides contractual, regulatory and copyright law advice connected to both transactions and disputes to clients across the music sector. We have
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Publishing
Our Publishing team advises clients operating both in the digital market and traditional print sectors; combining areas of expertise such as corporate
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Sports Rights
We have market leading expertise in every aspect of sports rights, including distribution and broadcast rights deals which has seen us act for some of
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Theatre
Our experienced team advises a range of stakeholders in the commercial theatre industry, including on rights acquisition, venue hire, international to
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Esports & Games
Our lawyers are at the forefront of the Esports and Games revolution. Esports and Games sit at the intersection of many of our core areas of expe
06/02/2024
CMS UK Media and Sports Highlights 2023
The CMS Media and Sports team has had another busy year, supporting our diverse client base (ranging from international corporates to individual creatives and founders), on a broad range of projects including...
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07/12/2023
COP28: how the law can unite, act and deliver the UN SDGs
The law, and the work of lawyers, should enable countries, communities and companies to deliver the changes needed to achieve the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement. As COP28 urges us to unite, act and deliver, Advocates for International Development (A

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24/05/2024
Update: The Media Bill expected to become the Media Act before the general...
On Wednesday 22nd May 2024, Rishi Sunak surprised many by calling a general election, set to take place just 6 weeks after Wednesday’s announcement, on 4th July. This decision means that Parliament...
09/05/2024
Postcode Lottery Ad featuring Emma Willis Wins ASA's Approval
Introduction:On 1 October 2022, the Advertising Standards Authority (the “ASA”) introduced a new gambling advertising rule (a summary of which can be read here) which strengthened the obligations...
09/05/2024
CMS advises Matchroom Sport on global partnership with Pitch International
International law firm CMS has advised Matchroom Sport (Matchroom), the market leading sporting events promotions company, on a global partnership and minority investment from Pitch International, a renowned...
01/05/2024
CMS Media Update Morning 2024
 Our popular Media Update Morning returns and we are excited to welcome you in person to discuss a range of topical areas including:The latest changes to the Media Bill and FAST channel regulation - Victoria Gaskell, John Enser and Sam OustayiannisWhy you need to know about ECCTA now! - Kitty St AubynThe busy world of regulation (tax credit changes, online safety and more) - Rebecca PlattPrivilege quiz (how to keep it and lose it) - Tamsin BlowPlease do come early and join us for coffee and breakfast. As ever, the content will be tailored for the media industry, and we invite you to submit any specific questions in advance by emailing us at Events@cms-cmno. com. To RSVP, please click the button below.  
16/04/2024
AI-driven enforcement comes of age in UK with AI systems reshaping advertising...
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published its 2023 annual report, describing 2023 as a watershed year for its digital strategy.To­geth­er, the ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice...
05/04/2024
Gambling Commission publishes new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing...
On 9 February 2024, the Gambling Commission (the “Com­mis­sion”) published its new list of emerging money laundering and terrorist financing risks (the “Emerging Risks”). Operators are required...
28/03/2024
ASA wipes out cleaning ad showing harmful gender stereotypes
The Advertising Standards Authority (the “ASA”) upheld a complaint against John Mills Ltd t/a JML Direct for their advertising of the Hurricane Spin Scrubber, as it presented gender stereotypes likely...
11/03/2024
UK Independent Film Tax Credit
On Wednesday 6 March 2024, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the introduction of the UK Independent Film Tax Credit (“IFTC”) in the Spring Budget.The IFTC is specifically targeted at the UK’s...
06/03/2024
Gambling Commission Consultation: Financial Penalties and Financial Key...
In­tro­duc­tion The Gambling Commission (the “GC”) has opened a consultation on proposed changes relating to financial penalties and financial key event reporting. The proposed changes to financial...
04/03/2024
Media Bill: Ofcom’s roadmap to regulation – a timely reminder that there...
As the draft Media Bill continues its legislative journey, Ofcom has issued a timely reminder (in its publication of its “roadmap”) that significant work remains before we know the full extent of...
23/02/2024
Online operator Gamesys fined £6M for AML and social responsibility failures
On 10 January 2024,  the Gambling Commission (the “Com­mis­sion”) announced that Gamesys Operations Limited (“Gamesys”) had been issued a £6 million fine after a compliance assessment in May 2022...
22/02/2024
CMS advises Fremantle on the acquisition of Asacha Media Group
International law firm CMS has advised long standing media client, Fremantle, on its acquisition of Asacha Media Group, a leading European TV production group with TV production businesses: Kabo, Srab...