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Brexit, stage left: UK referendum may batter film, TV industry

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Brexit vote could batter entertainment industry

The British film and TV industry may be getting nervous after the surprising vote on Brexit will unravel their financial infrastructure, which could be a disaster for the business.

Now that the U.K. has voted to yank itself out of the European Union, the upcoming process is raising questions about British companies' relationships with co-financiers and distributors. Concerns are now brewing about new taxes on shoots in Europe, and the ability for media companies to hire and work across the continent.

Additionally, there are jitters that Brexit will threaten the export of British film and TV series to Europe, which is the largest market for the U.K.'s creative industries. The divide could cut off British filmmakers from European subsidies, which poured over $180 million into U.K. productions between 2007 and 2015.

On Friday, those concerns took a toll on the stocks of some of the U.K.'s distribution companies. Sky and ITV were among the stocks plummeting in the wake of the vote—ITV tumbled a whopping 20.4 percent from its highs on Friday, while SKY dropped 6.6 percent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, U.S. companies whose revenue is derived from primarily overseas production also took a hit on Friday. Liberty Global shares plummeted over 13 percent, while Discovery shares down over 7 percent Friday. In a statement, Discovery said the following:

"Discovery Channel launched in the U.K. in 1989 and since then it has become one of our biggest markets and a critical creative and business hub. As a global company with a significant presence in 220 markets, we are accustomed to operating in an industry and a world where change is constant.

We will work closely with U.K. and E.U. leaders to successfully navigate this change and find new opportunities to shape our future. In the short-term and medium-term, our currency hedging program will significantly minimize the foreign exchange impact of the Brexit vote on our financial performance. "

Of course all the media giants have some international exposure, whether it's selling rights to TV shows or distributing films overseas. That said, where is the safe haven?

Analysts are pointing to the cable space: Wells Fargo said that Comcast has minimal international exposure, even with its ownership of NBC Universal. While on the other end of the spectrum for media companies, Twentieth Century Fox has the most international exposure.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBC Universal and CNBC.